For a long time I didn’t like to hike. I just didn’t understand it. I always thought you had to be a certain type of person to hike. Boy was I wrong. I was such a dope. Once I started to hike, to truly hike, I realized how amazing it is. Every time I go hiking, it regroups my soul.
Like many other people who move to Los Angeles, I quickly discovered the plethora of hiking trails spread throughout the vast city. LA is a suburban urban city, full of areas devoid of civilization. Like so many others, my first time hiking in LA was Runyon Canyon. What an incredible set of trails! I started out running that bad boy, then realized how relaxing and challenging it was to just hike it. My mind was opened to the simplicity of hiking, and all that it can offer.
After years of exploring the city’s many trails, my favorite hike in Los Angeles is Mandeville Canyon. It’s hidden in the hills of Brentwood, right down the street from where I live, but that’s only one small reason why I love it. Hiking Mandeville Canyon is a soul-searching journey. It’s an open expanse of perfect rolling hills along a twisting fire-access road. On a clear day you can see all the way to the beach, and to downtown. It’s a long hike, approximately 7.5 miles roundtrip, but you can turn around at any point. I personally love going all the way to the top. I always feel like I can take on the world!
ALSO ON BUZZCHOMP: Why I dumped my favorite Running Shoes
I know what you’re thinking, why is this hike a soul-searching journey? How is hiking that way at all? Mandeville Canyon is part of the Santa Monica Mountains, high up above the city. Once you begin, you easily lose sight of civilization, and its high enough up that the weather’s always just right. The beginning is challenging, going uphill in the sun. But finishing downhill always cools you down, and leaves you feeling magical.
There is something so wonderful and peaceful about venturing up and down these rolling hills, feeling cut off from everything. Every time I go with someone, we always have these deep, eye-opening conversations. My man and I use this hike to regroup. We’ve outline web series, short films, and our schedules. We’ve opened up to our biggest fears, what we want out of life, and just the magic of living. When we’ve had a problem, or felt down about something, we take this hike, and by the end it’s all worked out. Nature has a way of clearing it all away.
Whether you’re on Mandeville Canyon, or a different trail, hiking is beautiful, magical, and also challenging. But that’s the best part, you work your way through it. Just when you’ve climbed up a hill, you’ve got the downhill reward. Just when it’s feeling too easy, the uphill comes back around. Hike for an hour, or hike for three or four. Go out in the sun, or into the forest. No matter what, embrace the wonderful feeling of losing yourself in the hike!
The next day you’ll feel sore, but refreshed. You’ll be amazed at your accomplishment, and the clarity you’ve found. Personally, I’m reminded that I can take on the world. I can do anything! I look at life with my eyes open, ready to accomplish my goals, and yearning for another hike. You’ll be craving another hiking too, and craving that afterglow! If that’s not regrouping your soul, then I don’t know what is. See you on the trail.
Mandi Mellen is Lead Editor, Staff Writer, and Featured Vlogger at BuzzChomp. She’s an actress, writer, and producer. Get lost in her youtube comedy channel PillowTalk TV. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or Instagram
Photo Credits to: Me! I took them while hiking.