I have a deep appreciation for the native Southern California landscape. I was born and raised here. Even though many of the wild places are now high-end homes or shopping centers, we still have access to the foothills. I would encourage everyone to walk through the native areas that exist in your own neighborhood. In England there are people who make it their business to walk the ancient paths that exist. Their motivation in addition to enjoying the beauty of the outdoors is to preserve and keep open these byways and trails. If we expect access to be there next year, we must use our trails with care and respect. They are out there, and probably not far. I would bet local hiking groups, Sunset.com, and for those in the Inland Empire items relative to the Cleveland National Forest, are good places to start looking for more information on the subject.
Tomorrow I am going to take a short hike in the foothills behind my neighborhood. It rained a bit yesterday so the creek should be running. The wild Peonies and Ceanothus ought to be blooming.
Before the age of twelve, I’d lived in nine different places in Southern California. My siblings and I agree our favorite spot was the city of La Mesa in San Diego County. Paradise for an 8 year old. Mostly rural in 1961, we spent long lazy days wandering through a chaparral landscape with house-sized boulders that begged the Lone Ranger to come wheeling around from behind, barrels blazing. This was a time when children roamed in packs, as nature intended. Our mothers gave us our freedom along with baloney sandwiches in brown paper sacks. We climbed on Mt Helix. We waded through people’s Avocado groves, kicking knee deep through the heaps and years of fallen leaves. The fragrance of Sage mingled with Citrus blossoms in late winter. Even though Southern California may not have as many citrus groves and open spaces as it once did, the good news is; you can plant a bit of chaparral in your own backyard.