Playtime in the Angeles National Forest

“Wherever you are, be all there.”- Jim Elliot

I love this quote. I try to think of this saying whenever I’m out hiking with my friends or even sitting on my couch reading a book. So much of life just whizzes by us and I have to remind myself to soak in the best moments. I’ve made some amazing friends in my running group and we’ve sort started this Sunday morning tradition of hiking or running a trail in the mountains. Last week we headed up into the Angeles National Forest in search of Strawberry Peak. It was a gorgeous windy California morning and we were winding up the Angeles Crest Highway when I came to a realization: This beautiful national forest is right in our backyard?! How have I not explored this before?

We parked at a ranger station, crossed the street and started off on the trail head. The first 2 miles were a rolling dirt trail along the side of the mountain. Then we reached a fork in the road. We could stay on the Strawberry Peak trail that continues on around he mountain orrrrr we could go straight up to the peak. Well, it was myself and 4 other adventurous boys so of course we decided to go straight to the peak. After some tough climbing and bouldering to the top, we reached this view:

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Beautiful right? It was hard work for me to get there but man, it was more than worth it.

A lot of people think Southern California is just smog, traffic and dirty beaches. That is definitely not the case. I posted this picture of the view from the peak on my various social media accounts Sunday afternoon. I cannot tell you how many people asked where this was. I told them it was in the Angeles National Forest and 90% of them had no idea where that was. The Angeles National Forest is not even a half hour away from LA. I was shocked that no one knew about this place.

Going back to the quote up above… As I was doing this hike I kept pausing to soak in the most incredible views. On one side you could see all the way to the ocean and Catalina Island and on the other was the most amazing view of the rolling mountains with Mount Baldy in the distance. This is when I thought of that quote. Taking a pause and realizing where you are and soaking in that moment. I was all there in those mountains. This earth is so beautiful in so many different ways and I am so grateful that I have the ability to go out there and hike and see it first hand.

Today’s advice: Go outside. Even if it’s just for a walk down your street. Go outside and breathe that fresh air and appreciate this world we live in. And do it for all those people who can’t.

xoxo

Stephanie

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