Coming to California? Take a Hike!


Hiking — taking a long, vigorous (using a lot of energy) walk in the mountains or country (away from cities and towns) — is popular in many countries. Every year many people leave their homes for trails, or paths, which will will bring them face-to-face with the beauty of nature (experience it personally).

Some choose day-hikes, shorter hikes that can be finished in a day or less. Others prefer backpacking, multi-day (more than one day) hikes that require hikers to carry everything they need on their backs in a special bag called a backpack.

When people come to California, they often think about Hollywood, Disneyland, or beautiful sandy beaches, but not  hiking. That’s unfortunate, because California offers (provides) many good hiking opportunities. Sequoia and Yosemite National Parks are popular for their rugged (rocky, rough) mountains, thundering (very loud) water falls, and towering (very tall) trees. The sequoia are some of the largest trees in the world.

Big Basin Redwoods State Park is home to a forest of old-growth redwood trees. It’s one of California’s many state parks and one of my favorites. Old-growth forests have never been disturbed and, as a result, have many features (a part of something that you notice) that you won’t find in other forests. When you hike in an old-growth forest, you often feel like you’re walking backward in history.

arroyosecoYou can also find two other, more unusual, kinds of hiking in California. The first, urban hiking, keeps you inside, or very near, the city. Charles Fleming has described almost 40 urban hikes in his LA Walks newspaper column (articles that appear regularly). These are day hikes that you can take without leaving the city of Los Angeles. Many of these hikes have magical-sounding names, like Ballona Lagoon, Tujunga Wash, Arroyo Seco, Fern Dell, and Elysian Park. Hikers who try these trails quickly discover that they can find and enjoy nature even when surrounded (to be on every side) by the city.

Inn-to-inn (inn = small hotel), or hostel-to-hostel (a place you can stay and eat for very little money) walking vacations have been a tradition in Europe for many years, but not in the U.S. Tom Courtney, a retired university professor, wants to change that. His Walkabout California books and web site describe a series (one after another) of multi-day hikes along the Pacific Coast (the land next to the ocean) and other scenic areas in California.

You could use Courtney’s guides to explore California’s rugged coast and fascinating coastal towns all the way from San Francisco to Mexico. Or you could choose shorter hikes, usually two to four days long, and explore a smaller area. Whichever you choose, you won’t need a large backpack, because Courtney promises that almost every day will “end with a comfortable bed, a glass of wine, a good meal, and maybe even a hot tub (spa or jacuzzi).”

~Warren Ediger – ESL coach/tutor and creator of the Successful English web site, where you’ll find clear explanations and practical suggestions for better English.

iPhotos of Half Dome (Yosemite Nat’l Park) and the Arroyo Seco Trail by W. Ediger.

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12 Responses to Coming to California? Take a Hike!

  1. Dan says:

    Hello Warren and everyone,

    When it comes to hiking, that’s really easy for me.
    I just step outside the front door and I am hiking already.
    It takes me less than 5 minutes to be in the woods at the feet of the mountain.

    Reading about Fleming’s experience and why he started out walking is a confirmation of the healing powers of simply walking.
    I would like to add that it ‘s really healthy to the mind and not just the body.

    Since I am so close to the mountain and its creatures, I take day-hikes or half day-hikes.
    The closest mount to my place is called Mount Derta and its roughly 1000 meters (3000 feet) and it’s a volcanic eruption of about 250.000 million of years ago.
    The rock looks of a beautiful pink/reddish color. In the town nearby there is a company that mines the rock and export it. I believe that its mainly use is for paving the roads with square pieces.

    I live exactly where this mount ends and begins another with a completely different type of rock. It is white, probably sedimentary, it looks like chalk.

    Sometimes, even if I do not feel like going out, I have to. If I stay home too much sitting or sleeping I get back pain.
    With just a simple walk it disappears.

    Well, in the remote chance I will visit California one day, I will certainly bring my hiking shoes with me.
    I am not really interested in Hollywood and Disneyland.

    Thank you Warren, nice pictures there.

  2. Aécio Flávio Perim says:

    In the second picture I see a bridge over a dry river, like in Brazil. Brazil is experiencing a long period without water, the result of bad habits on using water carelessly. So is nature. Treat it well and you will get good things, on the contrary, treat it badly and you will get the answer. Environment education is lacking in Brazilian school. Unfortunately, that is the naked truth.

  3. Warren Ediger says:

    Hi, Aecio. What looks like a dry river is actually the trail. There is a small river, or stream, nearby but you can’t see it in this photo.

  4. Peter says:

    Hi Warren
    Man your pitch did it. U made me wanna it.
    The thing is , I m not hiker kind of guy. I m coach potato kind of guy. So , it barely happens that I get off my as. And do one those power walk. I know , I know , it is riveting and invigorating. I heard that before from my folks. They did all the could to get me go our there hiking , jugging ,cycling , climbing , even figure skating. But , it never worked. I m a tv Guy,lazy by nature.
    Well, what can I say. I m who I am 😉
    I have been down there in California two or three times. But , as u said I was there for celebrety gazing , exploring the cities and see what is all the fuss for California’s weather. Well , I must say , California lives up to the hype. Man , the weather is a killer. It is always sunny in California :))
    Unlike Toronto , u see flowers and palm-like trees round-the-year. I have a piece of advice for u if you are planing to go down there. Man everyday haul fruit asuch as u can and wolf it down specially oranges. And , pizza man I m blubbering all over
    Very delicious. California is rugged anyway no matter where u go. It is what I felt the moment I first arrived there.
    Good topic warren
    Pete a fat lad from south of Ontario, Canada

  5. Peter says:

    Man too many typos.
    My stupid iphone keyboards.;)
    California is famous for its oranges. In fact , it is one of the items imported from US over here in large amount. I m talking about tons here.

    I wanna back up warren here by saying the natural park he is talking about, I was there. It is mesmerizing. There is sth unique about this place ,serenity perhaps

    I met those Towering trees as well 🙂 As warren put it. I heard the term first while visiting US back in 2001 or 2 , the same goes for the term ” old growth forest.”
    These two terms warren used took me back.

    Let me tell u ,Visiting the park , u feel the vastness , wonderness of the nature. In fact , it is what nature really is all about.
    I know , you are saying ” Common Pete you are from Canada and you are talking about nature. Dude canada is the nature itself.”
    I know blu blu blu
    Canada is beautiful and all. But , the damn park is enchanting, charming. I don’t know. You need to go down there and judge it for yourself.
    There is one more thing that the national park reminded me : the classic movie ” Gone with the wind” staring ..,, Sorry I can’t remember the name of the leading actor. He was quite famous back then. He was quite a looker. He was the Gorge cloony of Hollywood in 40s ,50s or so
    Man , in California it is not just the trees that humongous but everything even road side rocks , the road themselves. Man , I don’t know how to put it. There is sth about California that enchants you. Being once there , u get this urge to go back there over and over.
    It haunts you but in a good way.
    Damn it,
    Guys , sorry I gotta go pack a suitcase. Off to California. Oh , wait a minute. I used up all my vacation allowance????
    Stupid job!!

    How on earth Am I gonna mooch some vacation off my boss. Let’s just say , we are not in good terms.
    The man is stupid!!!
    he is breathing down my neck the entire time criticizing my every move. He is a damn stickler.

    Well . He caught me slacking off ,sleeping on the job if you will. So what!! It was a 10 time thing in tow months. Not a big deal. He made a fuss out of it.

    Well, seems like I have to postpone the trip to the stretch of paradise for some other time.

    Off I go.
    Pete ,a chum from subarctic Canada

  6. Dan says:

    Hi everyone,

    I do not usually re-read what I wrote down and avoid pointing out mistakes of mine, but yesterday while on bed I was thinking at what I wrote
    and I cannot let this one pass by.

    I wrote 250.000 million. That does not make any sense of course. I meant 250 millions.

    I have also forgot to mention that I always hike in solitude which is not safe to do. I would love to have a dog with me.

    But, you know, going alone as everything else, has its pros and cons.

    Hey Pete, I have also visited Big Basin Redwood State Park, but through videos posted on You Tube.
    Nice post there you made me laugh 🙂


  7. Peter says:

    Hi Parviz ,
    On the last post , you were kind enough to mentioned me. U stated that it is unlike me not to add some biting remarks on my comments , to spice them up if u will 😉
    Well, it was my signiture move around the blog:(
    Well, I m not tactful , or of a diplomat.
    My brighter is he never speaks out of turn like I do. Well , we don’t speak the same language. He takes different interests on life.
    Well, growing up , I was the one who got a raw deal :)))
    Well, I must say , I had a change of heart. We are here to learn.let’s stick to it.

    I listened to the voice of reason 😉


  8. Peter says:

    Let me tell you sth, I have been living in Cabada since Adam. But eslpod was the one that plugged me in not my long years of staying in this vast sprawling land you kids call Canada these days. :)))

    I m damn serious eslpod in particular English cafe with all the culture , history lecture plugged me in.

    Well , what can I say I m made in Eslpod 😉

    Pete a recluse from secluded Canada

  9. emiliano says:

    I would like to say something but I have not words, it seems to me so impossible
    dream taking a hike through these lands that I think it is better not say anything.

    Being at home, indoors, in a big city like Madrid without any possibility of
    sharing my time doing that with Cuca….

    So shut up emiliano.

    Thank you Warren, it is beautiful what you show us every week, thanks friend.


  10. PeterC says:

    I visited California 3 years ago. It was an unforgatable trip. All the places were beatiful but Yosemite, Big Sur, Joshua Tree and Pacific coast with elephant saeals were the best! The cities were amazing as well and people were very friendly. I am very sorry reding and hearing about the lack of rain nd water over there. It looks like it is going to ruin this beautiful place of the Earth. Hopefully Californians will be able to solve this issue effectively. God save California and the whole USA!
    Peter from European Union

  11. Jao says:

    I’m really desperate. The reason for my desperation is because I cannot do what I really love. I have a bachelor degree in engineering but I do not like engineering and instead I am really into learning languages and I can speak English fluently and I love to be an English teacher but I know if I tell my parents about that they’ll just get really angry because being an engineer is totally different than being an English teacher. The reason that I’m sure about this passion for English is because I’ve been studying English for more than 2 and a half years now and I’m not bored with it and in fact I love the times during the day when I study English. So I want people with the same experience to suggest a solution for me.

  12. Betty says:

    Hi Jao

    I want to tell you to follow your heart, be an English teacher if that’s what really makes you happy. However, just remember, loving English yourself is different than teaching English to some children or even adult who have no interest to learn English. They will break your heart.

    Might be you should use your engineering degree to earn some good money. Simultaneously, do some part-time English teacher courses and do some English teacher training to get ready to change your profession when the right time comes.

    Good luck, whatever you choose.

    Betty 🙂

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