The goal for last weekend was to get outdoors. No, not to the stinky beach. No, not to The Promenade. To the mountains (Go Dogs Go! To the trees! To the trees!). All this smog and asphalt was getting me down. Looking up into the dusty sky and seeing nothing was making me feel trapped. I need my Mt. Hood.

    I decided a week ago that it was time to go on a hike. I set my sights on Sequoia National Forest and the giant redwoods which live there. Unfortunately, we discovered, that destination is about four hours away. So, I searched the L.A. Times for a hike closer to home. We settled on the Cooper Canyon Falls.

    Let me take this moments to say a word about T. and his control issues. Whenever we go on road trips or even around town he insists on being the only one who knows exactly where we're going and exactly how we're going to get there. Personally, I have a terrible sense of direction. If the correct way to go is to the right I will be sure to turn left. However, I can read a map. It's a little difficult to be driver and navigator. T. insists on being both and then gets frustrated when he needs me and I don't know where the hell we are. T. shall, for this for the remainder of this entry, be referred to as Sacajewea*.

    We took the 110 to the 30 to Mt. Baldy Road and ascended past beautiful, expensive, ranch-style homes. Somewhere along the way Sacajewea got a bad feeling and began to think maybe we were on the wrong track. We stopped at the Mt. Baldy visitor center and I went inside to look at some area maps while Sacajewea wrestled with the Thomas Guide.

    By the way, if you're ever up Mt. Baldy way you should check out the visitor's center. What they lack in real world solutions to your lost visitor needs they make up for in stuffed (as in...stuffed) animals arranged in a faux forest setting. Highlights are a barn owl and an incredibly lifelike squirrel clinging to a lovely, plastic tree which scared me to death (the squirrel not the tree).

    Turns out we were miles and miles from where we were supposed to be. The crusty guy manning the center suggested we head on up the way we were going and trek the San Antonio Falls. Anyway, I'll skip the part where Sacajewea ignored my directions and we started hiking up an ugly trail that was most definitely not the San Antonio Falls and we had to get in the car and go find the right trail. Yep, I'll just skip over that part.

    Finally, Sacajewea and I get on the right trail which turns out not to be really "natural." It rose at a nice elevation and we tripped and skipped over the shale. The sky was so blue and the air felt so clean. I love the air that you find at a higher elevation. It makes you so deliciously tired. The trail turned out not to be more than half a mile which was fine since we're not avid hikers.

    At the top of the trail there was a lovely log for sitting and pondering the small but lovely, three-tiered San Antonio Falls. Sacajewea and I decided to scramble down the boulder-strewn hill to the gurgling stream fed by the falls. We found a lovely warm rock to picnic on.

    A strong breeze blew up the canyon and the sun warmed the back of my neck. My soul is pleased just thinking about it. After a rest and sandwiches we went closer to the water and took photos which maybe I'll post here. Sacajewea and I took turns dipping our fingertips in the frigid water and enjoying the solitude.

    Let me repeat that -- The Solitude. We were very much alone. It was lovely to be away from people and traffic and smog and did I mention people? Sacajewea and I poked around for about forty minutes, looking at rocks and pointing out odd trees.

    All in all we spent about 2 hours walking around and playing. By the time we got home we were both spent and took deep, satisfying, oxygen-rich naps.

    Next weekend...Cooper Canyon! Maybe.

    See the pictures!


*Sacajewea, for those ignorant, was a brave Indian woman who led the explorers Lewis and Clark on a large part of their expedition westward.
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