A Nature Walk

What does a nature walk have to do with adventure? Perhaps nothing at the moment, but don’t overlook the possibilities and benefits down the road.

This past Saturday the Santa Monica Mountains Fund led its first ever Members’ Hike. It wasn’t a difficult outing; the hike to Inspiration Point was entirely on the grounds of the Interagency Visitor Center at King Gillette Ranch and was a little over a mile in distance with an elevation gain of about 250 feet. (See hike number 15 in Day Hiking Los Angeles by Casey Schreiner or check out this link.) Leading the hike was Ranger Anthony Bevilacqua from the National Park Service.

Now the last thing a ranger wants on a hike like this is for it to turn into an “adventure”. Neither does the Executive Director of the Santa Monica Mountains Fund, Charlotte Parry, who organized the outing and who was also there. As it turned out, there were only five of us on Saturday: me and my wife, Ranger Anthony, Charlotte, and another member of the SAMO Fund team, Sarah. They say “half the job is just showing up”. Well, we showed up and it was like we had our own private guides.

SAMO Fund members walk 04-15-2017__0004- web

Ranger Anthony is a birder and he pointed out birds I would not have otherwise seen. Red-tail hawks (and where a nest sits on the Ranch), a kestrel, the first lazuli bunting Ranger Anthony saw this year, non-native parrots, as well as several species. We talked about valley oaks and coast live oaks, and even though it was past peak wildflower season for the ranch, there were still plenty of blooms to see and identify. Looking out from Inspiration Point you can see the Simi Hills and Ranger Bevilacqua discussed how the proposed wildlife crossing at the 101 Freeway in Agoura Hills will connect the Malibu coast, through Malibu Canyon, past Simi Valley, to the Los Padres National Forest; potentially all the way up to Big Sur.  This is by no means a complete list of topics discussed.

But back to adventure. How could this outing help with future adventures? Well, when I’m out on my own adventures, the more I know about the natural environment I’m in, the deeper connection I feel with it. It enhances my appreciation and I see even more. Then there are my grand nieces and nephews. Bringing them to King Gillette Ranch for a hike and then to the visitor center will certainly be an adventure for them. (See my previous post Adventure – A different perspective)  We also met new people with similar interest who may be partners on a different trip one day.  Who knows what the future will bring.

One last take away. Adventures ofttimes require preparation and training. Don’t reject doing something just because it may not be ‘adventurous enough’ at the time. It could pay dividends down the road, and it might just be an enjoyable experience in and of itself.

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