North Dakota

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The Midwest is vast, flat, and open. Not to mention, it also has water, a thing California knows nothing about. Continue reading

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Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park

forestHere’s something Southern California doesn’t have much of: forests! That’s why it was so exciting to be in San Jose and be able to visit the redwoods at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. I’ve seen them as a kid, but it’s always fun to revisit places once you’re older. One of the first things I noticed was how much cooler forests are. In SoCal, there’s barely any shade anywhere! But with the canopy of trees locking in the shade and moisture, the trail was a brisk and refreshing walk. Continue reading

Hollywood Hike

20140608_134243It’s nice to be reminded that Los Angeles isn’t just a traffic-ridden smoggy city. It’s also full of nature, hikes, and preserved parks. This hike starts at Beachwood Canyon and takes you to the base of the Hollywood sign, and it’s a great quick walk for experiencing some quiet nature in the city of LA.

The hike is equal parts residential and wilderness. Parking in the area of Beachwood Canyon, you begin the hike walking through the eclectic array of fancy Hollywood homes. I always wonder if it would be lovely to live in those unique homes – great views, quietly looking over the city—or inconvenient because of the tight roads and the distance to the nearest store. But they are fun to look at nonetheless!

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Paradise Falls

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Paradise Falls

My dad suggested we take this hike that he found in the LA Times from stair-hiker Charles Fleming. The hike begins in Wildwood Park in Thousand Oaks, and is about 3 miles roundtrip. Popular on a weekend, this hike starts at the parking lot and begins to curve down into the valley.

We were lucky it was an overcast day because a hike like this, with a lot of it being in open air, would be harsh if it were sunny. Though once we got down into the canyon, the lush overgrowth shaded our dusty walk.

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Waterfall Hike

phone picLocated right behind campus, up Potrero Road into Thousand Oaks, is Rancho Sierra Vista, a great local hiking place that served as a site for the Chumash as well as Spanish ranching. It is part of the Santa Monica Mountains and includes Boney Mountain, the highest peak there. You can bike along the paved road, hike through the brush and plains, or visit the cultural center to learn more about the history of the Native Americans at this site.

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Lake Shrine

shrine windmillLake Shrine Temple is located off of West Sunset Blvd in Pacific Palisades and it is the perfect place to get away from the traffic, noise, and chaos of LA. I’ve been to this peaceful place before and I love visiting for the day. The Self Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine Temple really is a place for self-realization.

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Murphy Ranch

The gate to the former Nazi camp

The gate to the former Nazi camp

Within Rustic Canyon in the Santa Monica mountains lies an abandoned bunker called Murphy Ranch that was built in the 1930s to serve as a Nazi camp for when Hitler planned to take over the US. This place is very well hidden and a really interesting hike to take. I went with my dad, sister, and boyfriend and we began the hike by parking in a residential area at the edge of the canyon. A couple twists and turns took us to a trail where we saw many bikers and dog walkers. This trail gave us a great view all the way to the ocean! We eventually came across a fence with barbed wire that served as the edge of the camp. Further down was the deteriorating entrance gate that can be seen in the photo below.

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