Vision in White

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Musch Trail in Topanga, California

Saturday morning adventure started with a hike in Topanga. There are quite a few trail options from the state park and some of these end up at Eagle Rock. I chose Musch Trail because I have been wanting to hike on trails with narrow paths and more shade.

More information: http://alltrails.com/trail/us/california/musch-trail

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Trailhead

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Peek

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I like this trail mainly because it feels like a trail with its curvy small paths winding in and out of woods

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Panoramic capture of the beautiful view

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Horny Toad

You can make this trail a loop by starting on Musch, going up to Eagle Rock and then take the fire-road (or the other way around).

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Pretty wild flowers

Pretty wild flowers

Eagle Rock junction

I stopped here and turned back because of the heat (spring is here!). Eagle Rock is 1.5 miles further and it offers some wonderful views.  And yes, its definitely on my to-blog-about list :)

Mishe Mokwa Trail in Malibu, California

Started off my weekend with a 6 mile hike on a sunny and clear day. The hike starts on the trailhead for Backbone Trail (conspicuos board after 6 miles on Yerba Buena road from PCH). After ~0.3 miles on backbone, you will see the sign indicating the start of Mishe Mokwa Trail.

Trailhead for Mishe Mokwa

Trailhead for Mishe Mokwa

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View of the valley

View of the valley

View of the valley

The trail is not shaded for the most part and offers a good 360 view of the valley.

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Even a small shade was welcoming

Fern

Fern

Wild flowers

Glimpse of the sky

Pretty backdrop

Pretty backdrop

Boulder right on the edge

Boulder right on the edge

Saw quite a few of these lizards (I don't like them much)

Saw quite a few of these lizards (I don’t like them much)

Mishe Mokwa Trail merges on to the trail leading to Sandstone peak. Its the highest point in Santa Monica Mountains. The path to the peak is way steeper, a bit rocky and short. I was hiking with a bad back already; so I decided to play it safe and skip it.  I feel like my back got better with the hike, sooo keep hiking! :)

Still caught some pretty gorgeous views of the hills.

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I liked this trail mainly for the views it offered but would prefer to go really early to avoid the scorching sun. It’s great for a sweaty workout. But the terrain is more rugged & dry and not as green as I would like.

http://alltrails.com/trail/us/california/mishe-mokwa-trail-to-sandstone-peak-trail

Solstice Canyon Trail in Malibu, California

Hiked this trail on Saturday morning. Perfect weather for a refreshing walk – slight fog and not sunny (this trail is not shaded for the most part). Gets decently crowded so get there early for parking.

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Paved road for the first half of a mile

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I want to be here when the sun sets

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Morning fog clearing up

Tiny Waterfall

Tiny Waterfall

There is an old house now in ruins after a mile, with a (small) waterfall next to it. We turned back after exploring and resting on the rocks.

Roberts House

Roberts House

Roberts House

Roberts House

The trail is actually a loop but I have gotten lost few times trying to find the path forward after the ruins and since I was with a friend, we decided we would head back. So it turned out to be a short 2 mile hike. I am definitely going to make an attempt to find that loop.. soooon!

http://alltrails.com/trail/us/california/solstice-canyon-loop-trail

Ernie Maxwell Trail in Idyllwild, California

Do consider going to Idyllwild if all you want is to escape from the city, go to a low-key place and hike. Its almost 2 hours drive east from Los Angeles. We stayed here for the weekend and this one was our closing hike.

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It’s a 5 mile out and back or 2.5 mile one way. Both the ends are trail-heads and we ended up parking a car at either end (yes how lame!). It has a relatively higher foot traffic and is easy. Picturesque, but my pictures dont do justice. I need a better camera than my phone.

Periyar Tiger Reserve in Kerala, South India

In December 2012, during my visit to India, mom and I hiked inside the Periyar forest in Thekkady, famous for its wild-life especially tigers and elephants.

Periyar forest

Day 1 was a short 2 hour 5 mile hike with a forest-guide.

The dirt-road accessible only to ranger vehicles

The dirt-road accessible only to ranger vehicles

The guide mentioned that bears were the most dangerous since they tend to charge at you as part of their defense mechanism; whereas elephants and tigers keep distance. Well (un)fortunately we only spotted bisons, tiger scratch marks and elephant poop. And I am not kidding, that was fun too!

Tiger marks its territory boundaries by scratching against trees. I kept hearing this a lot 'They are their own enemy'.

Tiger marks its territory boundaries by scratching against trees. I kept hearing this a lot ‘They are their own worst enemy’.

Spot the worm

Spot the worm

Bison. They like to stare

Bison. They like to stare

Day 2 was a trek+bamboo-rafting group adventure deeper into the forest with some forest guides and a gunman.

I finally got to see the beautiful Periyar lake – a man-made lake with a dam, built during the British colonial rule.

Periyar Lake

The lake submerged all the trees in its path and their stems now stick out when its not too deep.

And yay! We spotted an elephant :)

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Noon pastime. Playing with water and mud.

Deer skull

Deer skull

Elephant jaw bone.

Elephant jaw bone. You can guess the age by counting the number of teeth.

Tigers are the most difficult animal to spot within the forest. There are cameras inside to track them and the estimated number as of now is around 45. Well, we did manage to see their footprints.

Tiger footprint. I was glad I could spot something of this beast.

Tiger footprint.

Finally, I found the spirit of the forest-rangers, naturalists, locals very touching and inspiring. Over the years they have overcome the problem of poaching and now they actively take part in it’s conservation.