Scott Regberg, Mirror contributing writer One of the more compelling reasons to write this column every week is the amazing array of reader responses. Just this past week, the calls ranged from a Girl Scout Troop Leader looking for a guided tour of Temescal Canyon, to the former resident of the well known “burnt-out metal house” in Will Rogers Rustic Canyon, to a half dozen or so would-be hikers who want to join us on Monday and Wednesday nights, but seldom seem to make it. (Someone suggested that because the hikes are free, folks don’t take it so seriously. Maybe we should follow the business model of most gyms and charge a bunch of money to join us, assuming they’ll only come once.) The guy who lived in Rustic shared some fascinating stories about life in Will Rogers before the big fire that destroyed the house. I hope he’ll not only call again, but join us as a regular. We’re always looking for more folklore and tidbits about our local trails. Most readers, it seems, just want to get connected to the area. There are a lot of transplanted folks in L.A., and a lot of callers start the conversation with something like: “I’m new in L.A. but I used to hike all the time in Nebraska.” Another good number of callers are aficionados of a certain trail. They hike to the Parker Mesa Overlook, for example, three mornings a week and they’re looking for folks to go with them on weekends and evenings, too. Don’t get me wrong, I welcome the calls and encourage everyone I can to get out there and explore whatever aspect of our great natural resources appeals to them. In fact, here’s an open invitation: our newest round of 21 different hikes just started. They are all in the local area and begin at 6:30 p.m. every Monday and Wednesday evening. Despite the temptations of capitalism, they are absolutely free – you just need to show up with a pair of boots, a small bottle of water and an even smaller flashlight. It doesn’t matter which hikes you do; continuity is only important for conditioning. However, some hikes are definitely tougher than others – another good reason to call me up to verify where we’re going and whether it’s suitable to your skills. Here’s one promise: if you’ve never hiked at night before, in two hours you’ll have a few tales of your own to tell about your great adventure exploring the Santa Monica mountains in the dark.Fearless readers interested in free Monday – Wednesday night hikes should call Scott Regberg at (310) 475-5735
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