wild l.a.

Welp, still no permit after consistent effort. This is truly insane, but I’ll just do what I can do. I appreciate everyone’s suggestions. Apparently many people are in my same sad little boat.

Oh well. In the meantime, there’s no use in sitting around. Today I hiked the Griffith Park Northside Loop, a fantastic workout just shy of challenging. The route encompasses 7 miles, 4 peaks, and one abandoned swimming pool. Parts of it were quite rugged—namely the part where I missed the use trail and scrambled down Mt. Chapel like an ignoramus. Other parts were idyllic, descending through fairy staircases, while still others (like those skirting the landfill) sported decidedly inferior scenery. Lots of up and down, nothing too brutal, but fabulous for knee strengthening, and not at all crowded on a Thursday.

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Who knew L.A. could look like this?

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On my way up Mt. Chapel

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I need to come back here on a clear day (yes, they do exist!)

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But the haze was cool in its own way. See the observatory?

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On top of Mt. Bell.

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Alien landing pad on “Taco Mountain?”

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The Boys Camp swimming pool, long defunct.

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The forgotten stair.

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Looking back at the peaks I bagged: Mt. Chapel, Mt. Bell, and Taco Mountain.

By the way, did you know Griffith park’s namesake was named Griffith J. Griffith? That’s pretty incredible.

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beyond satisfaction

On my 3.9-mile exploratory walk this morning, I forged a new loop that is destined to be a staple of my base fitness circuit. It turns out I love my new neighborhood even more than I thought. As I wound my way west I was blown away by how beautiful the residential streets were, how green with trees (even as the other side of the country suffers catastrophic snows). Then I turned to the north, where the Hollywood hills rose up like a crown in the middle distance. On my way south once more, I made my way past Melrose art galleries and the trendy juice bars of Larchmont Village. The weather could not have been more suited to walking. Suddenly it hit me that my life was better than it has ever been.

Things can turn around so fast. In November I was miserable. What’s changed? Even before I moved, the medication I’d started taking was beginning to work. Now it’s been seven weeks. But medication isn’t everything. Sticking with my recovery program and making it through the one-year mark has given me a boost too, especially since I’m making better friends on that pathway all the time. But moving into my own place—which I’ve wanted to do for years—kicked everything up a notch. Suddenly I wasn’t just content, I was ecstatic. I could scarcely keep my mouth shut today as I took in my new surroundings, wishing I suddenly had decades to absorb everything around me. To the local women out walking their dogs, I must have looked like a crazy person powering down the sidewalk, muttering, “I love my life. I’m so happy,” in genuine surprise.

I know this bright clean high won’t last forever. It’s another pink cloud, a shock of joy, a celebration of finally, finally being as independent as I’ve wanted to be since I was a small child. Things will level out and challenges are coming. But I can’t remember the last time I wanted to make each day last forever, yet felt so excited to see what happens next.