As the month progresses, I’ve begun to realize that there’s a deeper motive hidden under my menagerie of miniature resolutions. I fully believe that to evolve, to become a better version of yourself, there are baby steps that need to be taken and in a way each an every one the thirty items on that list are an investment in my future and the person I want to be. Lingering somewhere between lofty goals and simple practicalities are life hacks that double as cost saving methods, building blocks for future endeavors and last, but certainly not least, there’s the mental and physical gymnastics of it all. Admittedly, I miss school – not the tests or homework mind you, but the sense of community and the push for personal growth in all endeavors. Travel, reading, hikes, meditation, crocheting; all of these endeavors are inspiring me to expand who I am at my core and what I’m capable of. By crafting unique infused olive oils, pickling vegetables and manufacturing my own basic salad dressings – I’m not only saving loads by reducing the amount of pre-processed foods I purchase, plus it’s an immensely fun, delicious alternative. The books on my nightstand have been gleefully riffled through more than once, my yoga poses are getting stronger by the week and through hiking I’ve had the chance to explore the urban jungles that my city has to offer.
With my affinity for activity, a penchant for photography and a need to be in the great outdoors, it’s absolutely no wonder that hiking has also etched its way into my heart. Back when I moved to Los Angeles, I viewed the city as concrete jungle that desperately needed repaving, but after five years of exploring the city I can attest to the contrary. Between Will Rogers Memorial Park, Runyon Canyon, the Pasadena Hills, the Old LA Zoo and Griffith Park – the city is literally teaming with all sorts of fun urban safaris that don’t shy away from importing a little bit of nature into the city. Plus, what better way to get intimate knowledge on your city than diving into it headfirst? I’ve never considered myself much of a hiker, but we all have to start somewhere I suppose. Two years ago, I didn’t consider myself a runner, either. But life tends to throw me curve balls, and I’m proud to say that I’ve adapted quite nicely.
When my GTI gave out in ’12, I “lost my ride to the gym“. For the first three days, I was frustrated but on the fourth, I had a mental breakthrough: why am I driving to the gym just to run on a treadmill? Immediately, my iPod playlist was updated and I whisked myself out the door before I had the opportunity to give it a second thought. I came back exhausted, dripping in sweat (which, by the by, is rare), out of breath, slightly dehydrated – and the happiest I’d been in months. As a former competitive athlete, my body literally craves that sweet rush of fresh air (not to mention, endorphins) that the great outdoors can provide – about ten minutes in, this grin starts creeping up through the corners of my mouth, working its way towards dropping my chin and brightening my eyes. And then I remembered what it’s all about – working out makes me a passionate creature without worries or anxieties; not only does physical activity help me be the best version of myself, but it completely plays into loving myself, too.
Part of my new years resolution was to find a new hike every month and I love that it’s pushing me to explore more of Los Angeles. The first hike of the new year was Griffith and personally, I’m sort of having a love affair with it. One of the best things about hiking at Griffith Park is the ‘choose-your-own-adventure’ aspect of the exercise. I’ve gone about four or five times over the last month an each time, I explored a new and completely different part of the park – terrain and view wise. Plus, there’s the Observatory – which means I also get to flex my nerd muscles a bit.
As you walk around the outside of the observatory, you’ll notice some curved lines: these lines represent planetary orbits and equinoxes. The park is open from sunrise through sunset, and I highly recommend making it for one, if not both of them. Though you don’t have the same view of the Pacific that you get from Runyon, if you’re there during the magic hour you’ll get to watch downtown slowly light up the city skyline; you can also clearly see the Hollywood sign, Runyon and Santa Monica.
There are multiple levels and types of terrain for hiking on, the Berlin Forrest is one of the more wooded areas where the hikes by the Observatory tend to be on gravel. This area is rich with picnic benches and perfect for some lowkey stretches, or even some lowkey laziness 😉
The view of downtown is absolutely unreal; especially when the city is shrouded in haze.