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GREAT HIKES: Moderate Adventures for The Uninitiated:

For readers who are moderate-level hikers, there are a number of escorted treks offered on our local Santa Monica Mountain trails that are especially designed for the reasonably fit, but uniniated.

Not sure if you are a “moderate” hiker, and don’t want to risk embarrassing yourself on the trail? Here’s a quick self-administered test, plus some advice: Go hike the Temescal Waterfall Loop Trail. Complete the course in less than 90 minutes without a heart or panic attack and you are good to go with the moderate crew.

Here’s the advice: 1) Wear decent hiking boots (they don’t have to be expensive, but don’t be tempted by the fashion street boots that the first-day on the job, part time salesman says are “great for hiking, too!” 2) Bring water in a fanny pack, you may need your hands. 3) Wear long pants (unless you know that you are poison oak proof) and dress to get dirty — you will, or at least you should.

If you passed the test and took my advice, here’re several upcoming opportunities to explore our local trails and enjoy the security of being guided by experienced experts.

On Wednesday, June 22, the Franklin Canyon Ranch will host an 8 p.m. Full Moon Hike -– a two hour adventure supervised by the William O. Douglas Outdoor Classroom. Call (310) 858-7272×131 for the full story. You’ll not only acclimate yourself to twilight hiking, you’ll enjoy spectacular views from atop the canyon’s dramatic ridges. Although it’s described as “moderately strenuous,” all ages are welcome.

The next morning at 8 a.m., head over to the Cold Creek Preserve and embark on a four- hour trek through the heart of one of our more plentiful wild flower areas. This unique adventure is organized as a joint venture of the Mountain Restoration Trust and the California Native Plant Society. Bring snacks and water, along with those new hiking boots.

The hard working folks at the California State Parks are offering a Ranger-guided tour of Topanga State Park on Saturday, June 25 at 9 a.m. In just 90 minutes, you’ll explore ridges and canyons in what is, I believe, one of the most diverse parks in our local mountains. Plus, with a Ranger escort, you will invariably pick up little tidbits about our native environment. Call (818) 880-0350 for more details.

The Sierra Club is always a good resource for interesting hikes and interesting people. On Tuesday, June 28, at 8:40 a.m., (8:40, that’s such a Sierra Club time! It couldn’t be 8:30? Or 8:45?), they are offering a 4-hour, 7-mile long trek along the point Dume State Preserve. Be sure you also bring sunscreen, hat and a lunch. Call (310) 395-9425 for more info.

For those of you not concerned about an escort, official organizations or on-the-trail lectures, feel free to hook up with our Monday and Wednesday night hiking group. We leave at 6:30 p.m. from one of 21 different trailheads and usually make it back alive and uninjured in two hours.Fearless readers interested in free Monday and Wednesday night hikes should call Scott Regberg at (310) 475-5735.

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