If you happen to live anywhere near Los Angeles you are very fortunate to have the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area at your doorstep.
Its 153,000 acres offer access to some very wild mountain and canyon areas, beautiful beaches, historic film locations, extensive trail system and great wildlife viewing.
Having been raised in SoCal in the 60’s and 70’s we are very familiar with this small range of mountains. Even though the park doesn’t compare to Alaska’s wilderness areas it does give southern Californians a quick easy get away from the overwhelming noise and humanity of the valleys.
Because of its location geographically and being situated next to one of the countries largest cities this range of mountains experiences many natural and man made disasters.
When the weather is dry it catches fire and when it rains the burnt ground turns to mud and slides……. then the cycle starts over again.
When we first arrived just before Thanksgiving it was extremely dry in the park. Red flag warnings were a continuous status. Everything looked dead, the drought was in its third year. Since then the range has received several inches of rain and things are starting to lookup with more rain in the forecast.
If you compare these two photos the transformation has been amazing. Some plants and bushes are now starting to bloom and the green grass is beginning to sprout again. There is still a long way to catchup with normal precipitation levels but things have improved dramatically.
The Chumash and Tongva tribes once called the Santa Monica Mountains home and today its easy to see how great it would have been to have lived in these hills before any big cities grew around them.
It was with great foresight, generosity and cost that these mountains were saved for us all today.
Through the years these mountains have been our training/proving grounds for many of our domestic and foreign travel adventures.
We have hiked many a mile through this park training for the Pacific Crest Trail, honing our mountain bike skills in preparation for touring in New Zealand and Tasmania and learning to surf at Zuma beach.
Even today we walk its trails to stay in shape and get away from city life.
Our family has a long history of beach camping, long valley walks, bicycling along its gravel roads and visiting the old movie sets.
Currently we are spending New Years driveway camping at my folks house in Thousand Oaks. We are within walking distance of this wonderful park.
With recent rains and cool temps there is a slight reprieve in the drought status. The fire danger should be somewhat lessoned for tonights festivities.
We can’t believe we are now half way through our 6 month sojourn away from our home in Alaska, time has passed in a flash. We look forward to seeing new places, visiting old friends and the continuation of our new lifestyle in 2015.
We wish you all a very Happy New Year filled with good health and great adventures.
Long may you run.
Keep you posted………