C is for Corral Canyon State Park.
I was just simply looking for a place to take Minka. A dog friendly place to hike which is oddly rare most places. A quick hikespeak search brought me straight up PCH to Corral Canyon - a place nobody I know seems to have heard of. I went with Mouse on Thanksgiving morning - it was blissfully empty as we started up the 2.5 mile loop. Oh the leashless (pronounced to Minka - Ah leesh lay) joy a 6 month old puppy can exhibit when given a fine dirt path in the woods!
We walked to the top and sprinted to the bottom - her tenderly exploring hidden nooks and crannies that lined the trail and me drinking in all the wonderfully herbacious smells permeating the path: anise, fennel, mustard, sage. She races ahead, spins around, waits for me to catch up and takes off again. My special Minka whislte causes the birds nearby to whistle back - which causes Minx to cock her head and wonder why my lips aren't moving YET SHE HEARS MY WHISTLE...
I went again the next day because I was so happy to know this patch of land. It made me feel alive again. To the point of - time to go get the airstream finally and move it to the Malibu RV Park :). Hell, the Malibu RV park is right next door, there's a fish market and restaurant (Malibu Seafood) that shares the parks parking lot, and there are loads of other trails up and down PCH that we now have to explore (we will just be doing it from the airstream next week instead of boat/apartment/sublet/hotel hopping).
Oh and I just got the new Backpacker magazine in the mail this week and found a whole new hiking journey to undertake next year. A new 100 mile trail that is part of the new Wales Coast Path. OMG. I have to go do this hike - hidden towns where you can bed down for the night, local food, carrying nothing but a day pack and I'm sure a lovely weight loss to boot :).
The feeling after a super good hike/run is what exercise should feel like. I HATE THE GYM.
Oh and quick note - I am always on the hunt for perfectly cooked whole fish and after day 2 in Corral Canyon, a quick pit stop at Tavenra Tony had me wolfing down just that - a lovely whole sea bass. Ended it with a next-level cappuccino that restored my faith in humanity & puts most coffee to shame and a hulking chunk of baklava. Thing is, after a trek like that you deserve the best of and don't even think twice about a 2nd glass of pinot for lunch!
ALSO - after that fish, Mouse needed a walk and just around the corner from Tony's is the probably the best little walking park I've been to in LA. It used to be a big empty field and is now the most beautiful park ever - complete with a duck pond, herbs to die for, and loads of friendly dogs.
Next up is a hike thru Escondido Falls - about 19 miles up the coast from Marina del Rey. I'm literally giddy with the idea of hiking. As it should be :)