We did it again, this time with a challenge…

By Alisha Pye, Los Angeles Outdoor Afro Leader
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So we went hiking above the Mountain Gate Country Club again, but this time we decided to mix it up a bit. So we decided to go off the fire trail and hike the hills. This was a great hike although we had fewer people we had a very diverse group, ranging from a mom wearing her 6 month baby, to a 9 year old cross country runner.20130303-194553.jpg
This hike was particularly challenging for me because I’m very afraid of heights and cliffs, both of which we encountered. I would love to post pictures of the cliff but I was nearly paralyzed with fear. So here’s to embracing fear and moving forward! Because of the challenge that I experienced, I think I enjoyed the hike more.
Overall, we hiked 11.3 miles, every time I even thought about complaining about the distance I looked up and saw this mom wearing her baby, a 9 year old and a grandmother or two chugging along. The diversity in this group was motivating to say the least. We didn’t get a chance to stop and take a group picture, but we had a great time. The sun was shining, the sky was blue, the weather amazing and the scenery was breathtaking.

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Walking in the Rhythm of Life

I only live a couple of flat miles away from my job at the local Audubon, so with the warm arrival of spring in the Bay Area, I have no good reason not to take the stroll to and from work. Besides, I can definitely use the exercise after enjoying a winter filled with delicious food!

Photo by architect.bekir-mima

Since walking, the experience has been both delightful and engaging as walking has a way of making contact with outdoor spaces both easy and intimate. I notice and interact with moments and matter I would otherwise miss if whizzing by in an automobile.
In the morning on my way in, I hear Mockingbirds rift on a nearby Sparrow’s song. I observe delivery and municipal trucks stop and start, causing traffic to sway side to side along the busy avenue. Parents tow, push, and prod kids past school yard gates. And each day along my path, I notice the fragrance of new buds blooming.
The return home tells more stories. The aroma of the local Afghan restaurant perfumes the air as its first diners arrive. Mechanics roll down metal doors on another day of repaired clutches. A popular pub kicks off happy hour, and car commuters drive by with a weary determined gaze as the sun aims down toward the horizon.

Photo by Arturo Alvarez

During these walks I think about how sometimes we make a really big fuss about the outdoors. As though time spent outdoors requires expertise, expensive equipment, or trekking to remote places. Or that the outdoors belongs to some people, but not to others. I have to agree with my friend Carolyn who once mentioned “the outdoors is everywhere,” meaning porch sitters, hikers, mountain climbers, bench warmers, birders, cyclists, neighborhood kids and pedestrians alike, can all equally lay claim to the rhythm of outdoor life. Anywhere there is fresh air.
What are some of the easy ways you interact with the outdoors?