Temescal Canyon Trail in Pacific Palisades, California

This post has been a week late in coming. Hiked this ~5 mile trail on a clear sunny pleasant day with the second half of the trail giving us some gorgeous views of the ocean.

Trail

Trail

I would recommend using alltrails map to find the loop in this trail.

City & Mountains

Panorama – Mountains

Ocean views

Panorama – Ocean

If you want a killer workout, hike this trail clockwise. The elevation is very steep for the first couple of miles. We were hiking anti-clockwise and didn’t regret it. It’s something to see great views while you are going downhill with no huffing and puffing.

Ocean views

Ocean views

More information: http://alltrails.com/trail/us/california/temescal-canyon-loop-trail

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Ferndell Trail to Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, California

If you are like me, who wakes up early and is undecided about how to spend those early morning hours, I would recommend checking out that beautiful sunrise. It’s difficult to find a great spot in Los Angeles for sunrise but the view from Griffith Observatory in those golden hours isn’t all that boring either.

This was a short 2.5 mile, out-and-back hike from Ferndell avenue to the observatory. The elevation makes up for the relatively short hike making it a decent workout. This is the basic trail; there are numerous other trails that branches off of this path; one particularly takes you to the Hollywood Sign.

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The destination – Griffith Observatory

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Trail

I would not hike this trail after 9 am; it gets very crowded around here. But this was very peaceful.

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Full moon behind the dome & a random stranger

More information: http://alltrails.com/trail/us/california/ferndell-ferndell-trail. Detailed information on how to find the trailhead: http://www.simpsoncity.com/hiking/griffith/.

Eagle Rock Trail in Topanga, California

Topanga is my go-to hiking place. Plenty of trails with varied landscapes – if you want to walk inside woods with narrow curvy paths, choose Musch Trail; if you want some quick elevation then opt for Eagle Rock Trail; or if you prefer loops, you can start on one, merge on the other. There are other trails here that I want to try – Santa Ynez & Parker Mesa Overlook are on my wish-list.

Eagle Rock is a 6 mile trail on a dirt-road with moderate foot traffic.

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Trail

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Dirt road leading to the final destination – Eagle Rock

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Eagle Rock

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Spotted! I have been having lot of luck seeing deers in the evenings around here.

More information: http://alltrails.com/trail/us/california/eagle-springs-loop-trail-backbone-trail

Bolsa Chica Reserve in Huntington Beach, California

This is a wetland reserve located near Long Beach with plenty of bird sightings. Its more of a walk on a dirt road near the beach than a hike in the mountains. It’s not that beautiful and there is the noisy traffic from PCH. That said, this reserve hosts varieties of birds playing, chirping, diving, hunting; which made this hike very different from the usual fare.

It’s a popular spot for photographers shooting wild-life. My 50mm lens did not prove enough, but there are some amazing shots posted by other photographers here: http://500px.com/search?q=bolsa+chica.

Start of the trail

Start of the trail

That's the best shot I could get

That’s the best shot I could get

Wetland

I bet this place would be amazing during sunset.

Trail

Trail

More information: http://alltrails.com/trail/us/california/bolsa-chica-ecological-reserve-huntington-beach-trail.

Shelf Road in Ojai, California

Ojai is a magical small town about 90 minutes north of Los Angeles with plenty of options to hike, bike, go horseback riding. Spending few days here was the perfect escape. I started off with an easy trail (just around 2 miles point to point or 4 miles out and back) with splendid views of the hills.

View of the trail and the valley

Trail and the valley

I had my first sighting of a snake on a trail. Apparently, they don’t hurt humans.

Eastern Kingsnake

Eastern Kingsnake

Here’s a final picture of the beautiful valley seen from the trail.

Ojai Valley

Ojai Valley

More information: http://alltrails.com/trail/us/california/shelf-road (It says 3.4 miles out and back but it felt more than that)

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 :)

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 :)

Elephant

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.