Embrace the Outdoors–It's Autumn!

It’s Cooling Down a Bit–Let’s Get Outside!

Written by Gayle 

I love to hike.  It is mind-clearing and body healing.  I feel more alive when I am outdoors, breathing wonderful air and pushing the pace.  (I also love leisurely strolling, but that’s a topic for another day!)  But don’t just take my word for it,  this website will give you the top ten health benefits of hiking.  It increases the good stuff–cardio-vascular health, muscle strength and flexibility, etc–and decreases the bad stuff–risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and diabetes, to name a few.


Recently I was lucky enough to do some hiking in this gorgeous place (Zion National Park) with my sisters.  Unfortunately for us, there was a lot of rain so we couldn’t do the slot canyon hikes that we wanted to do (and it was too slick for Angels Landing, my favorite Zion hike) but we still had a great time.  

Yes, we are wearing matching tie-dye shirts.  We made them by dipping the shirts (after we rubber-banded the design) in mud made from the Southern Utah red dirt.  
The hikes we were able to do really made me excited to get outside here in California.  We have some great hikes in Ventura and Santa Barbara County, as well as the rest of California, that are easy to access.


This is from the top of one of our favorite hikes–Mugu Peak.  We usually hike this trail in the early morning (if you do, bring some kind of bug-repellent since the mosquitoes are thick before the sun drives them away) but in August we tackled this trail right before sunset.  Gorgeous!  We ended up coming down in dusky light, but loved every step.  The climb is nearly 1,200 feet, so get your quads ready for a workout! The words, “butt-kicker” might have escaped my lips when talking about this hike!
To find this hike (this website says that it is 2.1 miles to the peak), find the trailhead (south on PCH from Ventura, north from LA) which is just north of Mugu Rock.  There is a Military Firing range on the beach side of the highway.  Look across the highway for small parking area and the trailhead.  Park (make sure to lock your car and take valuables with you) and head up the trail, which is marked well.   Part way up you’ll come to a saddle where you can either keep climbing up, or turn to the right for a flatter trail to the top.  We like to take the steep trail to the top, and then run down the easier slope to the saddle, where it gets too steep to run down.  


If you want a longer hike, there are many trails heading farther away from the ocean, and you’ll be able to see more of how the Santa Monica Mountains are recovering from the June 2013 fire.  (The fire went from the 101 in Camarillo all the way to the ocean, and over to Newbury Park.  Devastating!)  At the saddle, turn to the left and you can hike down into the canyon.
A little farther down PCH you’ll find the La Jolla Canyon hikes, and go even farther toward Los Angeles, and you’ll reach Sycamore Canyon.  Both canyons have some great hiking trails.  
Many years ago I bought a great book, The Complete Guide to California Hiking, but today you can search the web pretty easily for trails near you.  On you can type in your location and the activity, and it will give you some great options, even for after-hike activities!  Even in the most urban areas, there are lots of ways to get outside and enjoy the fall weather.  Another great website is  (Just type in your zip code and you’ll get dozens of hikes!)
Don’t forget to bring something to drink (coconut water is a great option!) and a snack.  The fall fruits are excellent right now (love those Fuji apples, and the pears and grapes are excellent!)  To see what Lassen’s has on sale for your hiking nutrition, click on the tab to the right that will take you to our monthly sales.  (Here is the September 2013 flier)
Happy hiking!

3 thoughts on “Embrace the Outdoors–It's Autumn!”

  1. Hi Gayle,
    I know you get a ton of emails, so I’ll keep this short. I’m publishing something soon about the benefits of hiking that I think you’d really be interested in. I would love to get your quick feedback on it. Do you mind if I send you the link?
    Mitch Stevens (Southwest Discoveries)

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