Mute the noise, turn up the thoughts

I did the 52 Hike Challenge last year because wanted to move more and get more exercise. Through this journey, I found a lot more. Most of the hikes, I hiked alone. I did not mind it. I knew better to pack more than enough for my hikes like water, more water, lots of snacks, and a walking stick. I always started my hikes early in the day so I don’t have to walk around at night.

I did not mind hiking alone. It allowed me to walk at my own pace, enjoy my surroundings, clear my mind. It was the first time in a long time I felt present. The year before I started the 52 Hike Challenge, I was becoming scatter-brained. Following that, my mind became so foggy with piles of things to do “when you get the chance” — they always add that part politely before it gets progressively aggressive — “what you did not get around to it yet? I needed it yesterday!”

I wanted to get out of this fog. Through my year of hiking, most of the fog has cleared away. The fog creeps back into my head once in a while because people like to storm in with stress, stress, stress. I take action to clear it up as soon as possible. I know some people embrace the storms and try to get as close to disaster as possible. Maybe they enjoy the adrenaline, the high they get when there’s high pressure. But remember, it is not sustainable to do this each time.

Tongva Peak Beaudry LoopTongva Peak Beaudry Loop

Weekly Photo Challenge: Silence

Check out other bloggers and their interpretation of “silence”:

The 2017 52-Hike Challenge reflections

I finished the 52 Hike Challenge on December 31st. It really did take me all year to do it. I almost thought I was not going to finish this challenge because in the beginning of December, I was on #43. But another part of me thought it was still possible to power through 9 more hikes because it’s not unbearably hot and a lot of the hikes I’ve done were extremely close.

What have I learned in the 52 Hike Challenge?

I discovered the pockets of green spaces in a large, urban city like Los Angeles.


Franklin Canyon #50 – I can’t believe this is sandwiched between Beverly Hills and Studio City!

Importance of conserving and appreciating nature spaces. Having green spaces creates character in the city and homes to local wild life. To the people who brag about being energy efficient because they have an electric car and they diligently recycle — what good is it to do those things if you don’t go visit the local parks. There are greedy rich bastard (GRBs) who want to take this all away because to them profits are always before parks. To show my support to continue preserving these parks and preserves, I’ll keep on hiking.

Claremont Hills

#6 Claremont Trails

Make better use of my free time. Most of my hikes happened on the weekend so instead of staying in on a Saturday watching TV until the evening, I spend it outside. And I am proud of that. There were some conversations where people have asked “have you seen name-that-TV-show?”Nope, because I spend time outside.Hike 50 Porter Ranch

Hike #52 – Porter Ranch Trails

Taking a break from technology. The 52 Hike Challenge taught me it’s ok to stay away from technology. Jokingly, I’ve said “I think I was smarter before smartphones came out.” It could be true. Some people think their smart phone and mobile devices should be their brains where they could dump their appointments and their notes — only to never be retrieved. For me, technology has been a distraction more than anything. Throughout 2017, I stopped using my phone as my all-in-one entertainment system because it just got distracting. I only use it for making phone calls, sending messages, taking pictures, posting on Instgram, listen to audiobooks when I am doing chores. I occasionally post on Facebook to show I am still alive. I no longer use it to play videos, watch movies, organize my calendar, and even play games. Sorry Candy Crush.

Side note: I received a Kindle Fire for Christmas. I struggle what to do with it. I think I’ll just use it for Pinterest and looking up recipes when I prep meals.

Hike 38 Cave of Muntis.jpg

Hike #38 – Cave of Muntis

I learned there is no rung I can’t reach. In 2017, I also got into graduate school. I did not reach this rung because I said, “I want it”. I reached that rung because I worked for it like how I worked all year to complete 52 hikes.

Rancho Palos Verdes Hike

Hike #29 Rancho Palos Verdes

I learned the people who belittle me are real trolls. My husband kindly calls these people haters. No, I’ll stick with trolls. Trolls block people from making them cross the bridge, preventing them from succeeeding. Haters sounds too passive, but with trolls it requires a little bit of action — a fight, a push, or something to knock them off the bridge so you can get to your destination. Coming into the new year finishing 52 Hikes makes me feel like a badass. I may have not picked this feeling of newfound confidence 30 hikes ago, but now I’ve got this badge in my head and my heart. For anyone who belittles me, I should ask “well, have you gone on 52 hikes? Oh I’m sorry, no you haven’t? Well you can’t tell me what I can and can’t do!”

You can find some photos of my 52 Hike Challenge journey on my Instagram account.

You’ll find it here in the bottom of the canyon…

This is from Hike #50 from my 52 Hike Challenge-–  Franklin Canyon — a canyon that divides Beverly Hills and Studio City — respectively, the hip Westside and sprawling San Fernando Valley. Franklin Canyon is not as crowded as Griffith Park nor Runyon Canyon. It is funny how a few miles down Coldwater Canyon Road and suddenly you are away from the hustle and bustle of L.A.

I also find the plants interesting in the canyon. There’s a mix of grasses, black walnut trees, and palm trees — though many palm tree species are not native to California. I wonder if the plants who started out as seeds made their journey through wind, through birds, or wild cat scat that this is became the flora of the canyon.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Growth

Check out other bloggers and their interpretation of “Growth“:

Ascending to Mt. Lukens

This was from one of my hikes earlier this year. This is Mt. Lukens, the highest point in Los Angeles city limits.

Round trip, this was a 10 mile loop — if you followed the map. I did get lost and a 10 mile hike, became 14 miles.


This was the beggining stages of the hike. I can see the 210 freeway from where I was standing. This was already high for me, I could not imagine how much higher I would go.

Mt. Lukens Rim of the Valley Trail

Then…several miles later, we (me and my miniature schnauzer) reached to the top. That mountain across from me, I was there a few weeks back. Being on top of Mt. Lukens certainly dwarfs it. I hear on a clear day, you could see the west-side.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Ascend

Check out the other bloggers and their photos of “Ascend”:

Hike 35/52: Cave of Munits

Date: September 5th
Difficulty: 2 out of 5
Weather: Hot
Distance: 2.53 miles

Say what? A cave in LA? Yes there is a cave in LA and not too far from my house. It was my first time exploring the El Escorpion Park. It’s funny how you come from super suburbs to this vast park in a few steps.

Unfortunately I did not get to explore inside the cave. In this post you’ll just find the entryway. That day I was not ready to go inside because it requires a little bit of climbing. Because I went alone, I did not inside the cave. Remember, safety in a hike ALWAYS comes first.

cave of munits

First of all, I made mistake taking this path for most of the hike. I’m sure it goes further into the mountains.

cave of munits


That slot you see is the cave entrance. I was somewhat disappointed because it did not even look like a cave but I thought, I’ll still check it out anyways. I might be a tiny cave.


Here the cave entrance up close. This required a litle bit of climbing up. Because I went alone and had no spotter, I decided to end the hike and return to my car. I told myself “until next time.”

A few weeks later, I came back with my husband. Stay tuned for more pictures. It’s far more impressive.

Hike 34/52 Exploring along the river

Date: September 3rd
Difficulty: 2 out of 5
Weather: Cool, rainy
Distance: 2 miles

We spent our last day in Sequoia and Kings Canyon exploring along the river until it rained. When it rained too hard, we had to stop exploring otherwise it’d be too slippery to hike. I think it’d be impossible to climb back up!

Koda did a fantastic job crossing the river. You showed people you’re not just a pretty Pomeranian, you kind of a BAMF too.



Hike 32/52: Wandering Through a Forest of Giants


The Grant Grove is a popular spot in Sequoia/Kings Canyon because it has the General Grant Grove tree — one of the largest trees in world. Before going to Grant Grove, I thought the trees through our daily drive out of the camp site was huge. These trees in Grant Grove certainly dwarf them all! It was hard taking a photo without looking up, up, up!

Date: September 1st
Difficulty: 1 out of 5
Weather: Hot
Distance: 1 mile loop (with a little bit of wandering)

Sequoia Grant Tree

In the trail, one of the first things we saw was this tree tunnel. If you further venture off the trail teeny bit, you’ll find another less crowded tree tunnel where a little bit of climbing is required.


The second tree tunnel we found.


Inside of the second tree tunnel

And of course I am obsessed with the textures of the tree!

Sequoia Grant Tree

And the obligatory photo of me next to a Sequoia for size comparison. Note: This is not the Grant Tree. Just your average Sequoia.


Also note, not the largest tree in the park. The largest living tree in the park and in the world goes to General Sherman at 275 ft. Unfortunately, we did not go to that part of the park because it was crowded and we could not find any parking. Tip: Find a national park bus that can drop you off ther.e

Hike 31/52 Caballero Canyon Hike

Date: August 18th
Neighborhood: Tarzana
Difficulty: 2 out of 5
Weather: Hot
Distance: 3.54 miles (out and back)

This was my Friday off from work. It’s been a while since I’ve gone on a real hike. This hike is close to home, my go-to Whole Foods, ice cream parlor, and my new favorite brunch place!


On the top of the hill enjoying the valley views.

I can only imagine this area looked lush when it rained earlier this year. It was excruciating hot that morning, my dogs kept taking breaks. This was not a long hike by distance but because of the heat, we took our time.


We descend from the top and head towards an indulgent pile of green tea pancakes!

Sky light

Yes, there is a cave in Los Angeles. This was from one of my hikes (hike 38/52) last week and it was probably one of the coolest hikes I’ve done this year. I did a bit of rock scrambling and made my way to the top of the cave. Stay tuned for more pictures!

This is the “ceiling” of the cave.

I can’t believe this is in Los Angeles and only 10 miles from my house!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Windows

Check out other bloggers and their interpretation for “Windows”:

Hike 30/52 – Studio City River Walk

Date: August 12th
Neighborhood: Studio City
Difficulty: 1 out of 5
Weather: Hot
Distance: 1.22 miles (out and back)

I am catching up on all my hikes because currently I am at hike number 38.

This Studio City walkway is behind a large shopping center. It may not be as pretty a hiking through a canyon, but I do appreciate it when large cities create green spaces in busy neighborhoods. They’re great for your mental and physical health and they clean the water and the air. If you need an escape, but are tied up with errands, urban parks are the way to go!

These leaves have the cutest shapes!

Hike 29/52: Palos Verde Nature Preserve

Date: August 5th
Neighborhood: Rancho Palos Verdes
Difficulty: 3 out of 5
Weather: Hot and Humid
Distance: 5.2 miles (out and back)

Rancho Palos Verdes Hike

There are a lot of hiking trails around where we live — we have mountains such as the Santa Monica mountains, San Gabriel, and Verdugos. We have canyons such as Eaton, Fryman, La Tuna, Franklin, and many other nature spaces all within less than an hour drive from our house.

That day, I told my husband I wanted to venture out and I was willing to drive a little bit further from home to hike. So we drive a little more than an hour to hike in the southern end of LA county, South Bay.

Koda makes a couple of appearances.

Rancho Palos Verdes Hike

I love how the trails here lead up to the beach. We were trying to do a loop based on the AllTrails app, but we encountered a few “do not enter” signs when we 75% to closing the loop. Or chances are, we may have been lost. There were other trails branching throughout the park… And there’s nothing wrong with doing a little exploring. I like the park, but it’s far from our house so I am not sure when we will be back.

While we were in South Bay, we explored the neighborhoods. If only our jobs were in this area, we’d live here. It’s got better weather because it’s near the beach, but without the bustle, noise, and crowds like in Santa Monica or Culver City.

Rancho Palos Verdes Hike

Hike 27/52: Biking along the beach

Date: July 15th
Neighborhood: Pacific Palisades, Santa Monica, Venice Beach
Difficulty: 2 out of 5 (on a bike)
Weather: Cool, breezy
Distance: 13.5 miles (out and back)

Pacific Palisades

Saturday morning was a perfect morning to go on a bike ride along the beach. We started biking at 8 AM with friends to find the beaches were mostly empty. I barely recognized these beaches. I am use to seeing mobs of people filling up the beach when I go to Santa Monica or when I drive along the PCH. I am use to seeing the crowds gather all on the curb to the point of spilling a few people over to just cross the street. This time was different.

Pacific Palisades

Pacific Palisades

Why did I decide to bike along the beach? Maybe a change of scenery. A change of weather. The last two weekends, we’ve lived through 100+ degree Fahrenheit weather (37 degree Celsius). A 20 degree Fahrenheit difference is a short drive away from us.

Venice Beach

I know you can’t tell from this picture, but this is Venice Beach. Again almost no one there. We ended our ride at Venice Beach and had brunch. The crowds I recognized were starting to build up and we biked back to our cars and I experienced my first taste of “bike traffic”.

I’d like to come back and bike another stretch of this bike trail. Apparently it runs 40 miles long one-way. We’ve only biked about less than 7 miles of this path. Until next time.

Follow me on social media!instagram Twitter-icon a6e5ce88-feb4-442b-861d-ada88dbcaaae