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“:

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!

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: Evening around our local park

Date: August 4th
Neighborhood: Lake Balboa
Difficulty: 1 out of 5
Weather: Cool
Distance: 1.3 miles (loop)


To our dear puppies, Teddy and Koda,

It’s been a while since we’ve taken you out on a walk. Last time we were outside you were on the bike stroller and I did the pedaling. I am sorry we have not gone on a lot of hikes this summer. Its been very hot and we don’t want you to burn your paws — or worse, heat stroke.

We’ve got less than one month until our friends camping trip. Maybe a good place to start is an evening walk in our local park in Lake Balboa. It’s close by where we can go after our jobs and we’ll still have the last few minutes of sunlight.

Anyways, let’s return to getting you two back to tip-top hiking condition!

Love, your humans,

J and K


Hike 24/52: To North Hollywood via the Tujunga Wash

Date: June 24th
Neighborhood: Panorama City, Van Nuys, Valley Glen,  North Hollywood
Difficulty: 2 out of 5
Weather: Sunny, breezy
Distance: 11.3 miles (I am only counting bike miles here)

Saturday morning was the day I decided to bike my morning barre class (8.2 miles). For a while, I’ve been meaning to bike for my weekend errands. Hopefully this challenge will help me build that habit and be willing to bike longer than a mile. I also need to buy a bike pannier.

I started this trip from home and biked all the way to North Hollywood. I took the Tujunga Wash path to cut out all the intersections to get to Valley Glen. It’s a nice ride,  I wish I took more pictures. I can’t believe I woke up this early to ride my bike.

I do have to say though, the experience of riding is different from walking the same paths.  For examples in this picture above,  I did not anticipate this part to be a rough ride. I didn’t see cracks or the raises on the path. Unlike walking, you really feel it when you ride over these cracks and raises I thought I was going to fall off my bike or I ruined my tires.

After barre class, I took the bus to Van Nuys. It was starting to get hot.  From there,  I biked the rest of the way home (3.1 miles)

Will this be my new Saturday morning ritual? Biking around for errands? I jokingly told my husband, I am taking some lifestyle tips from the Netherlands and a lot of it is inadvertent:

  • We have a house by a river (err…wash)
  • Eating ice cream
  • Taking public transit
  • Working to live

Hike 17/52 Mandeville Canyon Trail

Date: March 25th

Neighborhood: Brentwood

Difficulty: 2 out of 5

Weather: Cool and cloudy

Distance: 7.0 miles (out and back)

Address: 2652 Westridge Rd Los Angeles, CA 90049

When I first arrived to the trailhead, I thought this neighborhood looks familiar. When I was on the trail, it became even more familiar with the two options to either take the fire road or the road with all the hills — you’ll finish at the same place. I’ve been on this trail a couple years back with friends and we never got to the end with the nike missile towers. I remembered it was a unusually hot day in January and we gave up halfway.

This time, I am happy to say I finished this trail. I confess I chose the fire road because I still felt out of shape to climb up and down those hills. The weather was gorgeous and they allow dogs to go on the trail off-leash. Next time, I will certainly come back.
Continue reading Hike 17/52 Mandeville Canyon Trail

Hike 12/52 Runyon Canyon

Date: March 11th

Neighborhood: Hollywood

Distance: 1.94 miles

Difficulty: 1 out of 5

Weather: Sunny

Trailhead address: 2001 North Fuller Ave.; Los Angeles, CA 90046 (More details at the park website)

Continue reading Hike 12/52 Runyon Canyon

Hike 11/52 Glendale Peak Mt. Hollywood Loop

Date: March 11th

Neighborhood: Griffith Park

Distance: 4.09 mile loop

Difficulty: 4 out of 5

Weather: Sunny

Trailhead address: North Vermont Canyon Road, Griffith Park, Los Angeles, CA 90027. Hint: It’s near the Greek Theatre. More details at Hike Speak.

This hike wins as part of my favorite hikes. I love the view of the Griffith Observatory and downtown Los Angeles.
Continue reading Hike 11/52 Glendale Peak Mt. Hollywood Loop

Hike 10/52 Fryman Canyon

Date: March 5th

Neighborhood: Studio City

Distance: 3 mile loop

Difficulty: 2 out of 5

Weather: Sunny, cool

Trailhead address: 3431 Fryman Rd, Studio City, CA 91604

Fryman Canyon

View of the Valley — it must be beautfiul during dusk!

Continue reading Hike 10/52 Fryman Canyon

Hike 4/52: Woodley Park

Date: January 24th

Neighborhood: Van Nuys/Lake Balboa

Difficulty: 1

Weather: Evening, cool

Miles: 1.6 miles


You can see the 405 Freeway from here. And Encino. And Sherman Oaks.


This was the same day I went walking along the Tujunga Wash. Yes, it was a weekday and I took that day off because I work 6 days last week and that day was my make-up day. My husband came home from work and wanted to go walk around the park. This was our nowadays rare work weekday outing. Gladly we enjoy having this piece of green space nearby.

Again at the time, I thought during the course of the 52 Hike Challenge I’d be making multiple trips to Balboa Park exploring all its quadrant. In retrospect, I was wrong.

Hike 3/52 Tujunga Wash to the Great Wall of Los Angeles

Date: January 24th

Neighborhood: Van Nuys/North Hollywood/Valley Glen

Difficulty: 1

Weather: Sunny with intermittent clouds

Miles: 4.5 miles (out and back)

Trailhead: 13440 Sherman Way (approximately). You’ll see the entrance gates to the wash. For more details go to All Trails.


I love urban hikes. For me, there’s something about urban hikes that makes things magical — like an instant oasis from the busy neighborhood bringing some sort of respite to clear your mind and that disbelief asking yourself “am I in LA?” or “am I in the Valley?” Since starting 52 Hike Challenge, that has been my reaction: am I in LA? The answer is “Yes”; About all my hikes are in the Greater Los Angeles area. I’ve lived in LA all my life and through these hikes, it has brought me a different set of lenses I have not found in LA before.

For this hike, I walked along the Tujunga wash from Van Nuys and kept going until I found the Great Wall of Los Angeles. It’s one of the longest mural in the world illustrating the history of Los Angeles.

As of today, I have been on 21 hikes. A large bulk of it credits to the City Slicker Challenge which I’ll go over more in a future post. In the beginning of April, I told myself to not hike as aggressively. There has been some weeks I’ve hiked 2 or even 3 times. In March, I hiked 10 times at different places. I wanted to dedicate a majority of my April to do some housework, start some home projects, resume my creative projects, journal, reflect — but unexpectedly, April was my busiest month at work. I was on the edge of burning out. It was a reminder that I needed my time to breathe and pursue those said hobbies.