Nature in Los Angeles?

If you’ve followed my Instagram (@jeanvasque.z), you’ve seen my blatant love for the outdoors. That love led me to meeting an awesome person through Instagram, Glenn Robinson. We met because he was hosting these Hike and Shoot events for Northern California outdoor and photography enthusiasts. To make a long story short, Glenn and I started a friendship before my move to Los Angeles due to him hosting hikes out in Northern California. Hike and Shoot has turned into a movement that is drawing great interest. Unfortunately, I was moving away from that movement.

Ignorant to the fact that Los Angeles had anything else to offer besides city life and immense traffic, I had no idea about the mountains that surrounded Los Angeles. As my move grew closer and Hike and Shoot became bigger, Glenn and I discussed possibly taking Hike and Shoot to Southern California where I could lead some excursions. This was exciting news yet I knew nothing about the wilderness in Los Angeles, still don’t. Before moving, I began to research what Los Angeles had to offer in terms of wilderness. Yelp popped up on my first Google search and showcased all of the high traffic hiking trails. This was not what I was looking for. If I wanted to host an excursion, it could not be a hike in damn Beverly Hills. So, I did what I usually do when I am looking for an area to explore, I pulled up Google Maps on my Mac and looked at the areas that seemed of interest.

Angeles National Forest and San Bernardino mountains both popped up and I did another quick Google search about hiking these areas, I was amazed. I was amazed at the fact that there is so much potential to be photographed and explore within an hour drive of my future residence.

On social media, there are always pictures of the standard places to explore. Yosemite is the first place that comes to mind and there are copious amounts of amazing pictures that have been produced from that area. I could list a few other places but the Los Angeles area had never came to mind. My point is, I just have not seen that many well-composed pictures coming out of the nature that surrounds Los Angeles. I wanted to change that. So, I took a hike on New Years Eve and boy, was I in for a treat.

The morning started at 5:15am and my girlfriend, Lex, was getting up with me. The only difference was that she was heading to Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles to work a 12-hour shift and I was heading to the mountains. Sad she was able not to go and a little nervous that I was heading to mountains all by my lonesome, I started the adventure at 5:30am as I loaded up my Prius.

The intention was to hike Mount Baden-Powell as I had received some tips from a friend on social media who is an avid hiker in SoCal. Yet, the morning came and I decided to head to Mt. Baldy, also known as Mt. San Antonio. Mt. Baldy is the highest peak of the San Gabriel Mountains and I thought I could hike to the summit (such a rookie move). I got to the starting point where there were other hikers decked out head-to-toe in some serious hiking gear and spikes on their shoes. I let my arrogance get the best of me and headed up the trail thinking I could summit the 10,000+ feet peak on my first hike. Yea.. Did not happen. My hiking boots were no match for the trails that were sleeked with ice. Having already cracked a lens on a hike due to a slip, I was not risking it this time.

I headed back down the mountain and ran into Icehouse Canyon. It was about 7:30am and 2 or 3 other hikers accompanied me as I was beginning. This trailhead offered so many different routes and I chose to get to the top of Cedar Glen. A relatively easy 4-mile hike gave me some of the best views! I could talk about the hike but I will save that for another time. I’ll let the pictures below do all of the talking for me. Enjoy!

Comments are always appreciated and if you are in the Southern California area, let’s link up!

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