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GREAT HIKES: Shorter Days, New Adventures:

As the days grow shorter, our Monday and Wednesday evening hiking group will soon be departing in full darkness – two hours of true night trekking adventure. The pace will slow down slightly but we’ll still travel the same twenty-one local Santa Monica Mountains trails.

The first of these hikes is to the Paseo Overlook from Los Liones in the Palisades, near Sunset Boulevard and PCH. From there, the trailheads rotate progressively inland, always departing at 6:30 p.m. and usually returning by 8:30 p.m. By the series’ end we’ll have covered the best trails north of Sunset, including connecting passage ways in the Highlands, the Palisades, Temescal, Will Rogers, and more.

If you decide that you’d like to sample some of these great trails, be sure that you’re prepared with decent hiking boots, a mini flashlight and a fannypack with water. A few of the hikes require some climbing and carrying your water bottle can tie up a needed hand.

If you’re not quite ready for night-time explorations, there are a number of other more organized groups offering daytime adventures. I was recently sent an update by the Mountains Restoration Trust about four great hikes in the Cold Creek Preserve.

Starting Saturday, October 1, at 9:30 a.m. there is a three half-hour hike led by the Cold Creek Docents along the idyllic Valley Preserve. A week later, at 9 a.m, there us a three-hour hike led by the Trust, including a lecture about plant and animal survival during extended draught conditions. Call (818) 591-1701 x203 for reservations.

The last two hikes are both on Sunday, October 16, at 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. respectively. Both are supervised and a great way to discover one of our best natural resources.

The upside, or the downside, depending on your perspective, of our Monday and Wednesday night hikes is that there are no lectures, no reservations, and no supervision. Just a bunch of people hiking a trail. So if you are looking for more structure, I’d urge you to try one of the Cold Creek Preserve hikes described above, call the Sierra Club or any number of other more formal groups.Fearless readers interested in free Monday and Wednesday night hikes may contact Scott Regberg at (310) 475-5735.

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