[LA Life] Kick Start 2016 Off Right With a First Day Hike!

 

525, 600 minutes ago, yet I can still taste the moment that I was marinating in: blustery, salted ocean air coating my hair as we adventured down into Crissy Field and over the Golden Gate Bridge where I did my best to forgo my fear of heights.  Somewhere, in between two nights of Pretty Lights, my audiophilic tendencies were reinvigorated and my love for the world blossomed exponentially.  I’m a sucker for the bright lights, bold vibes and vibrant personalities of city life.  There’s an energy that resides in the city, a resilient energy that grows stronger as the night grows darker while glowing technicolor.

It’s not that I don’t find an equal but opposite view of the stars and nature, it’s just for almost 31 years that my dancing feet have led me directly into the heart of the city. Yet, after 31 years I’m finally searching for that something new, something natural, something free  – an oasis in the midst of a barren desert, a secret garden in a concrete jungle. Time and time again, I’ve found myself enthralled by the melody as the bass becomes me, but more and more I’ve simply pulled out of my city kitty tendencies and found myself into the great tonic of wilderness, clean air and a clear conscience.

The New Years offers up a wonderful, albeit temporal, period of solid resolution and personal resolve.  Whether it lasts the whole year or not sounds like more of a personal problem but those who have a will, always always tend to have a way.  But, I’ve found that writing down my personal wants, needs and goals for the year helps me not just keep track of them but I also hold myself increasingly more accountable of them.

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Last year, when I made my 31 Before 31 Resolutions –  I made it a point to visit a new local Botanical Garden or State Park every month and I’ll tell you right now that beyond going to the multitudes of festivals and events – it’s one of the most rewarding feelings I’ve ever had.  Betwixt the travel and writing, work and kitties, music festival after music festival across the West Coast – I’m so grateful that we had the opportunity to visit so many wonderful places steeped in grandiose history and utter beauty.

 

With exercise as one of the most common New Years Resolutions, it might just behoove you to get up, get out, get over that hangover and get healthy – or at least just get some fresh 2016 air.  Around the nation, thousands of people will be hitting the trails, mountains and rivers as part of the National ‘First Day Hike‘ movement – and there’s plenty of fun to go around on each and every corner of the United States.  Just in California, there’s over 50 different hikes to join in over 40 different parks across the state, not to mention paddle boat rides, geology walks, seal tours and some vehicle rides off the beaten path.

Locations include:

Where will you be spending the first day of 2016?

 

For more details on First Day Hikes around California, head over to the State’s Parks Website. For a birds eye view of all the natural, National goodness  – use the hashtag #FirstDayHikes to dive into pictures and locations on Twitter and Instagram.

 

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For a trip down memory lane, try out these adventures from the past year!

December: The Los Angeles Arboretum | Big Bear | Crissy Park

January: UC Botanical Garden

February: Glenoaks Canyon

August: Multnomah Falls, Oregon

October: Big Sur, California

November: Stanford Arboretum + Arizona Cactus Garden

December: LA Zoo Nights

Commemorate Veteran’s Day With a Free Visit to a National Park

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Hands down, our National Parks are one of the best things that America has ever done, bar none. Though only roughly a third of the countries 401 National Parks charge an entrance fee, on special days  – like Martin Luther King Jr Day, Presidents Day Weekend, Opening Weekend for National Park Week, National Park Service Birthday, National Public Lands Day Holidays From Red Rocks to Yellowstone, 133 parks from every corner of the United States waive their designated entrance fees; tomorrow being Veteran’s Day is no different.  However, it is the last time in 2014 that they’ll be absolutely free to the public – something you should be sure to take advantage of!  

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Mt. Denali, Alaska

For some, a day of honor – and others a day of remembrance, Veteran’s Day gives us time to reflect on our national identity and educate ourselves on our short, but dense history. And what better place than these both breathtaking and historic locations; a handful of which were once pivotal landscapes for battles from the French & Indian War, the American Revolution – like the Minute Man National Historic Park in Massachusetts, Gettysburg National Military Park and other locations from The Civil War  to the Mexican-American War and American Indian Wars.  Others parks and monuments give us pause for the fallen from World War II, the Korean War and the Cold War. For a state by state guide, head to the Website for the Dept of the Interior.

I’ve only had the pleasure of frolicking through a few of our fabled foliage enriched forests and wildlife infused nature preserves, but believe you me I intend on visiting them all in my lifetime (a girl can dream, right?).  When I was in 5th grade, my grandmother whistfully dragged me away to Alaska for an Elder Hostel where grandparents brought their grandchildren for the Summer Solstice.  First of all, how epic of a time of year – on the Summer Solstice it only got dim, never dark; it was surreal! We ventured into Denali National Park and Preserve, saw moose, white water rafted and hiked Mt Denali itself.  Fast forward to recently, and I’ve had the pleasure of gallivanting through the West Coast with my fiance – it’s taken us through Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, California, Oregon and Washington and tons of beautiful parks along the way.  From Bryce Canyon and Zion in Utah, the McInnis Canyon National Conservation Area in Colorado and Oregon’s Mt. Hood National Forest – we gave into our wanderlust and enjoyed extended days and nights driving through some of our countries most valued treasures.  If I wasn’t working tomorrow, believe me – I’d be visiting another park in a heartbeat, but for now I just need to live vicariously through y’all! So tell me, which park will you be visiting tomorrow?

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