It’s Alisha, Outdoor Afro Los Angeles Leader. This Saturday June 8th we had a Temescal Canyon Hike planned in the Santa Monica Mountains to support the first African American group to hike Denali. So our hike was in support of the 10,000 steps to Denali trek. Our hike also coincided with National Outdoors Day.
We started our day at Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook where there were activities planned for the kids. They had camping gear set up to show how to set up a camp.
Along with camping gear lessons they also allowed children (and big kids like myself) to create buttons and bookmarks to show their support of 10,000 steps to Denali.
From BHSO, we met up with another group of teens from Watts and Compton inner city program who have had little exposure to the outdoors. We were paired with them through the Santa Monica Mountains Conservatory to encourage them to get outdoors more. Santa Monica Mountains Conservatory provided a bus and an amazing guide Anthony to take us on our hike and explore the canyon.
We got to Temescal and had a quick snack on the lawn, took a photo with both groups and paired off into two different groups to meet at the waterfall. There were so many of us we didn’t want to overwhelm the trail.
On our way up we saw caterpillars, lizards, a garden snake and a red-tailed hawk. In true LA fashion we also saw a film crew filming a movie, haha. When we reached the top we sat for a bit and let the kids play around the waterfall which was dry. Anthony explained we’re in a dry season. We had to watch out for poison oak. Quick tip: if its three let it be. If you see leaves in clusters of three leave them alone.
Many thanks to Kleen Kanteen and REI for keeping us hydrated. Thank you REI for keeping me warm and to Keen shoes for making my hike comfy. I also want to acknowledge Clif Bars for snack bars for the kiddos. We had an amazing time. Looking forward to many more collaborations with Santa Monica Conservatory, your rangers are amazing and knowledgeable. Thank you Anthony and Iann the volunteer.
Oh yes on our way down the canyon we came to a beautiful open field and my sister and the kids decided to jump and play.
By Outdoor Afro friend James Mills, of The Joy Trip Project, a newsgathering and reporting organization that covers outdoor recreation, environmental conservation, acts of charitable giving and practices of sustainable living. He writes about the time we spent together last weekend to kick off our team’s journey toward both Denali’s Mt. McKinley, and diverse participation in the outdoors.
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” ~ Chinese philosopher Laozi (c 604 bc – c 531 bc)
Our journey to the highest peak in North America technically began months ago. Over the past several weeks a flurry of emails and text message across the Internet pulled together a cadre of disassociated adventurers to share a common dream. And over a weekend in May we took the first actual steps toward our goal. In a remote lodge on a ridge above Lake Tahoe our team of African-American climbers met to forge the bonds of friendship in preparation for Expedition Denali.
Typically aspiring climbers who take part in one of the many wonderful courses offered by the National Outdoor Leadership School meet for the first time mere days before heading off to base camp. But a full year in advance of our summit attempt set for 2013 the members of our team gathered to build relationships and set goals for the future.
“We want to assure our best opportunity for success,” said expedition organizer Aparna Rajagopal-Durbin.