Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Family Hike and Slowing Down

We set off on a 4 hour family hike behind our house, using the fire roads so we could push the girls in the jog stroller when they needed a break. It was really, really hot and sunny. Here I am with the girls about 15 minutes into it.

I kept stopping to take pictures. There were lots of beautiful and expressive oak trees which were badly burned during the fires here last year. As always, they come back amazingly fast and with such uniqueness. I had to capture this cluster below...

We have mostly cloudless days and I recently read about "Sylphs" - so now I'm constantly looking for them in the skies :)

Tony and the girls ran up one of the hills and left me huffing and puffing! It is really steep and man does that higher elevation make a difference.

OK, so I confess, I had to use my picture taking as an excuse to stop and catch my breath. To be honest, my breath was taken more by the incredible views. I hadn't been up these fire roads before and it was such a treat to see up close what is in our backyard!

I am on the look out for a local guide to the native plants, bugs and wildlife, so I apologize that I don't have details of exactly what these gorgeous native are called, but enjoy them visually!

Another stunning view from the other side...

There were lots of lizards running about. I took this shot of this little guy and when I looked at it afterwards, realized this poor baby lost his tail! It looks painful, but he moved just as well as the others. It made me think of the "The Seven-Year-Old Wonder Book" by Isabel Wyatt where the little wood-maiden helps the 7 others who have been injured, including the tiny green lizard who lost his tail. My girls are in love with that book - another blog another day :)

I thought this rock was just beautiful and so expressive...

And here's a shot of my sweetheart and the girls down a ways on the wide fire road. So many layers of colors!

Another breath-taking view...

Stopping to rest for a picture...

Looking down into one of the many canyons - nice and green after our winter rains...

Pushing the girls uphill - don't know how he does that!

A LA County fire helicopter checking the Angels National Forest...

My first born at the summit just before we ran out of gas and had to turn around and go all the way back down (no looping here)! I kept thinking of the book "Heidi" and Grandfather living in the mountains.

You can see the housing developments in the valley behind us - to give you an idea of how high up we were at this point.

A flying grasshopper - loved his eyes and the girls got a kick out of how well these guys blend into the dirt fire road and then suddenly spring into the air and take flight.

"E" coming down around the bend...

And back on lower ground, loving the yellow hues...yes, after seeing these pictures, we finally got the girls new sunglasses - they had really outgrown the ones in these pictures!
Some other beautiful natives...

And yet another native, who lives around our house and we see quite a bit scurrying around here and there. Here he is above our garage door on the stucco. So cute!

Overall, though I hemmed and hawed about hiking, with so much else needing my attention, I was really glad we went; glad to slow down and take in those moments that are so fleeting, yet create those deep memories and nourish the spirit...it was a wonderful day!

There is more to life than increasing its speed.
~Mohandas Gandhi


  1. Jennifer, these are absolutely beautiful photos,I wish I had a backyard like yours! Thanks for sharing...

  2. Wow...what a wonderful adventure for your family! It's very beautiful where you live. How fun to capture pictures of the little flowers and also the sweeping views of the hills.

  3. What amzing views. Grasshoppers, all those great plants and views and lizards...perfect!

  4. Thanks everyone. I think there are so many undiscovered mini-paradises by all of us...it's just a matter of finding them and sharing it with others. I had never been to those ridges, though we've lived here for over 5 years now. We are lucky in that we are right by a national forest and a fantastic nature center, but in the summer, things dry up so much that the high desert just doesn't look so attractive. I spotted a neat subdivision down one canyon and now want to find it off the main road - so cool! Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment :)