Despite having lived in Los Angeles all my life, I never developed much of an affinity for hiking. The active, outdoorsy lifestyle has never been for me, and my irrational fears of falling off cliff sides and contracting lyme disease via tick bites provided me with enough reason to stray away from the social media influencer pastime that I perceived hiking to be.
My aversion to this activity was questioned three days into the new year when a friend of mine asked me to accompany her on a trek to a waterfall in Temescal Canyon. I was hesitant about the idea (given my aforementioned anxieties), but I ultimately agreed. The waterfall, which was more of a rock-filled ditch with patches of mud and a small cave filled with 1 gallon of rainwater, was underwhelming to say the least, but I was blissfully surprised by the beauty of my surroundings. Since the start of quarantine, the most time I had spent in nature was at small local parks surrounded on all four sides by suburbia and busy boulevards. So this hike, with landscapes that would be expected by any person who spent more than four collective hours per year in nature, exposed me to a whole new beautiful world of peaceful scenery to explore in 2021.
I know, my new year’s revelation seems minor and probably laughable to the plethora of Angelenos who hike often, but it really did give me a new perspective on what I once saw as an overrated form of walking. Since my first official hike this year, my friends and I have gone on a few others and plan to embark on many more in the coming months. We have only experienced the many (often confusing) paths at Temescal Canyon, but we are looking to expand to new locations. If any hiking experts are reading this, please endow me with your wisdom and email me with trail recommendations.
Kreation salads and post-hike yoga, which have become almost satirical parts of my hiking routine, ironically add to the stereotype that I once tried so actively to avoid; however, I’ve been learning how to step outside of my judgments and attempt to try new things unabashedly. There have been many benefits to this activity that I’ve discovered, including, but not limited to being a safe, low-risk activity in the time of COVID-19, providing a healthy, cardio-filled excuse to get out of the house and meet up with friends and immersing oneself in nature away from the city (or more likely, your own home).
I still have some roadblocks or complaints come up occasionally during or post hiking, such as how my lack of consistent exercise causes steep inclines to be a bigger challenge than I’d like to admit, as well as the unfortunate number of non-maskers adorning the narrow trails without a care in the world. Not to mention the absence of directional competency among my friends and I, which once led us down the wrong path that spit us out into a residential area in the mountains more than two miles away from the trailhead. However, all things considered, I feel accomplished by my expedition into the once intimidating world of hiking, and I look forward to the many other treks I hope to experience this year.