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GREAT HIKES: New Hiking Adventures:

Getting ready for your New Year’s resolution? Here’s your chance to segue from 2005 to 2006 with a little exercise to work off those extra holiday calories while you discover some of the great trails right here in town.

All of the hikes I’m going to describe are a few minutes’ drive from Santa Monica. They’re all also timed to be about two-hours and are most suitable for moderate level hikers with a taste for a little adventure. Some are harder than others, and a few are downright easy – but all are doable with the right rough and tumble spirit.

Beginning Monday night, December 12, and every Monday and Wednesday evening thereafter, our group departs at 6:30 p.m. sharp from one of 21 different trailheads. This time of year, they are all in darkness – but don’t be alarmed, there is plenty of city light, moonlight and flashlight to assure your footing. You won’t get lost (at least not seriously lost) and we somehow make it back to the starting point around 8:30 pm.

The first hike up is Los Liones, near PCH and Sunset Boulevard. Unlike the Sierra Club’s Friday night hike, we do not car shuttle up to the upper trailhead entrance. We meet at the top of the Los Liones cul de sac and take one of several trails up to the Overlook, and then loop back.

The next group of hikes are just a little further east, in the Palisades Highlands, including the Santa Ynez Main Trail, the infamous Crack, Trailer Canyon, the Wind Canes, and the super-steep Wirebreak.

These first six hikes are some of the more different of the 21, mostly because the natural terrain is more rugged along the coastal hills. The next grouping includes the top of Bienveneda, Temescal Canyon, Chautauqua, Will Rogers Park (three different routes) and Capri. All of these are more moderate, Capri being fairly easy.

Don’t worry about not doing every hike in the cycle, it doesn’t matter; it’s not like there’s a test on what we saw from one week to the next. Come as you choose, the more you do the more you’ll learn about our amazing network of inter-connecting trails, and improve your conditioning in the process.

Please remember to wear decent boots and bring a small flashlight and a fanny pack with a bottle of water. I always recommend the fanny pack so that your hands can be free when you need them.

There are no dues, fees, club to join, lectures or escorts. You’ll officially be on your own – but someone will point you in the right group direction!Fearless readers interested in free Monday and Wednesday night hikes, should call Scott Regberg at (310) 475-5735.

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