Friday, March 22, 2013

Photo Essay: Calabasas Peak in Spring

Now that I've been bitten by the Spring bug, and days are longer and warmer and sunnier and happier, I'm trying to get back into my hiking routine. But as much as I need to hike for my health (both mental and physical), I also need to do it to see wildflowers, the suremost sign that spring has sprung.

The wildflowers aren't down here, down low. They're up high.

I have become a spring wildflower-chaser the way that New Englanders ferret out fall foliage. But for whatever reason, the Northeast likes to celebrate the color burst of trees shedding their dying leaves, and conversely, I like to celebrate the brilliant bloom of newly arrived blossoms - the beginning of a new life, not the decline of an old one.



Fortunately, it's still cool enough - and occasionally cloudy or hazy - to hike in the Valley, so I headed to Calabasas to climb an easy peak as part of my conditioning to get back to my old stamina.



At first, the woodsy trail dips up and down...



...through a lush oak grove...



...and when it reaches a little bit of height over Topanga...



...the wildflowers await.



Relatively typical perennials dot the trailside landscape...



...as the dusty dirt trail gives way to sections of exposed rock.



It's a straight shot up to the peak...



...and hard to get lost...



...though easy to get distracted by the wildflowers.





The trail presents an inviting detour...


...along a narrow, single track towards an intriguing rock formation...



...but as an old, practically unreadable sign indicates, that's not the way.



Up along a fire road, the scenery below opens up...



...and the trail takes you past more sandstone...



...and past more flowers...





...including some lone lupine (more purple than those at Tejon Ranch)...



...up up up...





...to Calabasas Peak.



Up there, I saw large blooms...



...the sort of which I had not yet seen in California...



...though reminiscent of the omnipresent gerbera at New York bodegas.



The colors were stunning.



Even the wilty one.



When I am hiking, I want to hike more. With every hike, I am encouraged to climb higher and farther, to see more and farther. But I have to keep hiking to keep hiking. Because once I stop, I forget how good it is for me, and I sabotage myself by wanting to keep stopping.

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