Last year, the lack of road maintenance during snowfall prevented us from reaching the glorious seaside in the Pacific Northwest. (About a mile farther along, the roads became impassable.)
Granted, we weren’t like the millions of people who began traveling only to be held up in airports and bus stations and on frozen roads due to snow, sleet, and other precipitation. We were safe at our home base and just looking for something a short drive away that would yield an air temperature below 72 degrees.
My top choice of destination was struck down due to a projected high of 78 degrees. We tend to not find a walk enjoyable once it is below 75 degrees. Actually, under 70 is perfect for us. So I looked to the east where the mountains were capped with white. I searched for a place where we could possibly encounter snow on the trails, but where our trusty steed could make it to the trailhead and back without getting stuck.
The Angeles Forest is less than an hour away. Christmas morning is a fantastic time to go, as a vast number of people are at home opening gifts, having breakfast, or celebrating with family. But come 10am, those families start venturing out. So one needs to hit the trail early.
But "early" is not a time Tucker and I know. So while our arrival to the Mt. Hillyer trailhead was only an hour later than I wanted, we were the last vehicle to fit at the trailhead. (There are only 4 spots.) I almost had chosen Mt. Vetter for our holiday trek as it was 4 miles instead of 6-7 miles, but it seemed uninteresting until we reached the top. Mt. Hillyer, on the other hand, was a trail of boulders and vistas. Should we not be able to make it up the 1200+ elevation gain over 2.5 miles (a challenge I never would attempt in summer, and even in December, I was unsure we’d make it), we’d have a fun walk along a trail full of character with beautiful views. And honestly, that’s what I look for in a house of spiritual connection: character and beauty.
It wasn’t quite the “forest” I had envisioned since this is the Southland and thus more desert-y than forest-y. Shrubbery abounds, and the trail is quite sandy. I wondered how long ago all of this was under water.
Tucker and I wish you all Happy Holidays, and hope you get a chance to celebrate the Return the Light in whatever way feels right to you, wherever your heart soars.