During out 7 months here in Southern California, we've found it difficult to actually get out and do stuff. Somehow the busyness of the weeks just gets in the way of doing anything in the evenings and on weekends other than cooking, cleaning, and a little bit of vegging. This semester it has felt like we've been doing all we can just to not get behind on house upkeep and buying groceries. And don't even mention getting to the gym or dry cleaners...
But this past weekend we decided to do it differently. Yes, we were tired from the week, and yes there were a million things we could have been doing. But if we keep letting the 'stuff' of life be our excuse, we'll leave here in 2 years (I can't believe that's all we have left!), never having experienced the joys of this season.
On Saturday we ventured out to Whittier, which is just north of us. I mean, literally, it takes about 2 minutes to get to. It's a cute little town with lots of retro diners and cute parks and old trees lining the tiny streets. We got some dinner and browsed PetSmart for a fish (do we get a goldfish or a beta?).
And then Sunday came. Normally, our tradition is to get drinks and play some cards at Starbucks before we head to church (one of the perks of living within a 1-mile radius of 4 Starbucks). But yesterday, we decided to change it up and go on a hiking adventure. We'd heard that the hiking out here is really good, just... really different.
We arrived at Hellman's Park and surveyed the area. Where are all the trees? And the rocks? And streams? This was no forest hiking.
As you can imagine, with LA being smashed right in between the beach and mountains, the landscaping is quite different than what you'd find along the Appalachian Trail. The hills are basically a big mound of sand/dust/tumbleweeds and occasionally you come across some cacti or a bonsai-like tree.
But it's beautiful. In all it's dustiness and lack of color and scorching heat because there's no shade... it is amazing.
We climbed up to the top of a hill and couldn't believe our eyes. We could see. I mean, really see.... everything. We saw LA and the Hollywood sign and Long Beach and the Sycamore Ridge and everything beyond. Whew.
Upon returning home, I made something like a homemade oreo. Except I don't think I'll call them 'homemade oreos'... because they were way better. Semi-crunchy dark chocolate cookies with to-die-for vanilla creme. Cue the hallelujah chorus.
And then later Sunday evening we trekked down to Laguna Beach. This trip brought many pleasant surprises. Laguna Beach is not like it is on the TV show. It's small and super artsy and everything is really close together. And you can walk all along the cliffs on the beach, or you can walk down a bajillion stairs and sit on the shallow shorelines.
So after watching the sun set we drove through the hilly neighborhoods and admired the beautiful houses and their amazing balcony views.
What a fun weekend it was, and now we're even more inspired to get out and see the sights. Already we're planning next weekend's adventures! :)