How do I measure my life? In stages on the trails


Most of the milestones in my life have happened on a trail. I fell in love with my husband while hiking. I got married twice on the same day: first while hiking up to Camp Hoegees in the northern Sierra Madre and a second time at a hilltop park in San Pedro. Both ceremonies were held outdoors; both took place between relatives. We invited guests (invitation above) to “two weddings and a hike”. Each person could choose the event they wanted to attend; at least 20 people attended both. I loved that day.

Wedding day.

(Marie Forgione)

Now I mark another milestone, not with a hike but with a goodbye. I loved writing and launching The Wild two years ago – and the enthusiastic responses I received from readers. Readers of Wild reinforced what I knew to be LA’s best-kept secret hidden in plain sight: the city has a community of die-hard outdoor enthusiasts who celebrate each other on trails and mountain peaks, during road races and century-old rides, in botanical and indigenous gardens. plant events.

As I leave the Los Angeles Times, I pass the baton to other outdoor writers, starting with Matt Pawlik, who you’ll see in this space next week. You can find me @maryforgionehikes on Instagram. See you soon on the trails.

Marie Forgione

3 things to do this week

Rock formations are visible amid the fog.

The trail leading to Sandstone Peak in the Santa Monica Mountains.

(Charles Fleming)

1. Meet a ranger who wants to teach you how to stay safe outdoors. Sure, you love hiking, but do you know all the potential pitfalls? Join the free “Ranger Meet Up: Safe Not Sorry Pop-Up” at a trailhead in the Santa Monica Mountains to learn about native plants (which sting or secrete?), animals (which bite?) and other trail-worthy tips. Register for Saturday from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. or noon to 2 p.m.; meet at the Sandstone Peak Trailhead parking lot, 12896 Yerba Buena Road, Malibu. More info here.

Botanical Garden

2. Take a guided tour of the UCLA Botanical Garden. UCLA considers its on-site terrace garden a “living museum” because it features species from around the world. It is named after botanist and professor Mildred E. Mathias, who photographed the garden between 1952 and 1993. Take a free guided tour (you must register in advance; COVID protocols apply) from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. a.m. on Saturday. Meet at La Kretz Garden Pavilion, 707 Tiverton Drive, Los Angeles. Here are 10 other quiet places to explore.

Closeup of a shrub with purplish flowers.

Black sage.

(Helene Purcell Montag)

3. Help nurture native SoCal plants for restoration projects. Here’s a great way to learn about milkweed, sage, and other native California plants. The Rancho Sierra Vista Nursery in Newbury Park needs volunteers to help “treat cuttings, transplant seedlings, divide local herbs, sow seeds, weed, water and fertilize our over 30,000 plants grown for restoration purposes. local,” according to a press release. Attendees must pre-register to help out from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. (you can arrive anytime during this time) on Saturday. You will receive up to three native plants for your efforts. Can’t go? The crèche also needs volunteers on the other Saturdays; More info here.

A turtle swims with its head poking out above the water.

A Pacific green sea turtle.

(Los Cerritos Wetlands Land Trust)

4. Join a hike to see SoCal’s population of Pacific green sea turtles. They came, they saw, they loved the fresh waters. That’s pretty much why Pacific green sea turtles, which typically live in tropical and subtropical waters farther south, thrive in the San Gabriel River as it exits out to sea near the Long Beach-Seal Beach border. . Join a free Turtle Trek from 8-10am Saturday that includes an introduction to the Los Cerritos Wetlands. Meet in the parking lot at the corner of 1st Street and Pacific Coast Highway at Seal Beach; More info here.

A person is hiking next to large rock formations and greenery.

Consider hosting a TrashBlitz event in Pinnacles National Park.

(Christopher Reynolds/Los Angeles Times)

5. Organize a TrashBlitz cleanup in a national park. A Santa Monica-based environmental organization is looking to identify the amount and types of plastic waste that ends up littering our national parks. The 5 Gyres Institute has launched an effort to identify “key items, materials and brands of trash found in 63 national parks,” according to a press release. It’s there that you intervene. Volunteers are needed to organize cleanups and remove litter at national parks (here are the closest parks to Los Angeles), then log what they find on the TrashBlitz platform. The campaign follows Interior Secretary Deb Haaland’s recent announcement that the sale of single-use plastic products on federal lands will be phased out by 2032. 5 Gyres wants to act sooner — and documents the plastic pollution in national parks in hopes of speeding things up.

People row on paddle boards lit from below.

Go with the glow on this SUP adventure.

(Gary Coronado/Los Angeles Times)

6. Stand-up paddlers, light up. Now let’s move on to something completely different: nighttime stand-up paddleboarding in Newport Beach. How different? The bottom of the boards are fitted with waterproof LED lights that illuminate the surrounding water with a quiet glow. Mark Oehlman, owner of Pirate Coast Paddle Co., says it can be a spiritual experience. One caveat: this is not for novices; practice with day paddles. Read what it’s like to go to the dark side on a SUP.

wild things

A person wearing a hat and a backpack is seen amid the towering tree trunks.

A hiker walks through redwoods.

(Myung J. Chun/Los Angeles Times)

Sequoias are tall, some of the tallest trees on the planet. And their size — and the size of anything around them, like giant ferns in the understory — can mess with your sense of scale. “You seem to be shrinking,” writes Christopher Reynolds. “You walk through the dense greenery of Northern California, moving from a dirt road to an elevated walkway. And the trees are getting taller and taller. A new path, the Mill Creek Trail, takes visitors through the three-acre Grove of Titans in a park near the California-Oregon border Learn about the secret hike through California’s giant redwoods that takes you to another world.

The red flag

A pier with a Ferris wheel is seen from afar.  People in the foreground are walking on the beach.

The Santa Monica Pier ranks among the dirtiest beaches in California this year, after a surprising spike in pollution.

(Al Seib/Los Angeles Times)

California is known for its classic beaches, but not all of them are perfectly clean. In fact, some are downright dirty – and scored poorly on Heal the Bay’s annual beach report card. Among the dirtiest: the Santa Monica pier. “City officials are still trying to figure out what’s causing this new pollution spike,” Rosanna Xia of The Times reported. “Birds roosting and pooping under the pier are probably the culprit. (Birds are also likely to blame for the high concentrations of bacteria recorded this year at Vaughn’s Launch in Newport Bay, located in an ecological reserve.) » Check out the full list of the dirtiest beaches in the state.

Super close up of an insect.

A mosquito is examined under a biologist’s lamp in Salt Lake City.

(Rick Bowmer/Associated Press)

Ugh! It’s mosquito season in Southern California. This means you need to check your garden for standing water – in a bucket, an empty pot, etc. – because that’s where mosquitoes like to lay their eggs. When it comes to personal protection, bare skin and wearing dark clothing make you a worthy target to bite. Here are more tips on how to defend yourself against mosquitoes this season.


Close up of a cougar's face.

With so much going on in the world these days, you may have missed news on a crucial wildlife bill making its way through Congress. The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act would fund efforts – to the tune of $1.39 billion a year – to prevent the extinction of endangered and threatened species.

Three years ago, a comprehensive UN report documented an “unprecedented” decline in nature and warned that one million species were threatened with extinction. Why should we care? Margaret Renal wrote in a New York Times op-ed why what’s good for spotted owls or snail stingers is good for us too: “We are not separate from nature. We are part of it. Whatever happens to the air spotted owls breathe, the water and soil that feed the forests they live in, it also happens to the air we breathe, the trees that filter the carbon we we produce, to the water we drink, to the climate that affects it all.”

The bill recently passed the House and is now heading to the Senate.

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Click to view the web version of this newsletter and share it with others, and sign up to receive it weekly in your inbox. I am Marie Forgione. I’ve been exploring the trails and open spaces of Southern California for four decades.


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