If the first weekend of 2015 involved you making a few exchanges at the mall, and packing away tinsel, and running relatives to the airport, and getting back into the work/life groove, you are hereby given a pass on starting the whole "exercising/healthy lifestyle" resolution plan.
At least for weekend #1. But the second weekend of the new year is nigh, which means using tinsel-storage and relative-chauffeuring as excuses won't hold water. What does hold water, though, and trees, and animals, and the promise of trails, views, and breath-deepening walks is the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.
The National Park Service has a list of ten to-dos around our great, LA-abutting wilderness, and the National Park Foundation gave the list some love on its Facebook page this week. Is the timing an accident for SoCalers vowing to be outdoorsier in the months ahead? We vote not.
As for the get-out-and-do stuff on the roster? "Marvel at the Milky Way at night." (It is rather easier to admire away from city glare.) "Explore the more than 500 miles of trails available for hikers, runners, mountain bikers, and equestrians." (Is horseback riding on your 2015 resolutions? Time to add it.) " ... soak your feet in the Pacific Ocean ..." (Yep, the recreation area and the Great Water are cozy neighbors.)
Sometimes we SoCalers think of our national parks as being A Few Hours Drive Away or Something to See on Vacation. But the Santa Monica Mountains are under the National Park Service's umbrella, too, and they're so very close. ("Escape Los Angeles' urban jungle to find truly wild places" is the number one suggestion on the list.)
For more ways to lock in your resolutions to one of Southern California's most expansive and varied wild places, turn your pony this way. (Another nudge to think about horseback riding, in addition to hiking, as a new year's must-do.)