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GREAT HIKES: Rattlesnakes, Poison Oak and Land Sharks:

Long time hiking enthusiast and Sierra Club leader Ed L. recently called me with a valuable word of caution. I should, he suggested, be more stringent in alerting folks to some of the dangers of our Monday and Wednesday night hikes.

I frequently offer the open invitation for readers to join our informal group on any of our twenty-one different Westside treks. While most of the trails are relatively easy, a goodly number are more challenging and a few are downright tricky. The concern is that newbies unfamiliar with the terrain can be taken aback at a few of the passage ways and perhaps feel pressured, albeit unintentionally, to stay with the group through thick and thin.

  In addition, over the years our Monday group tends to be made up of more seasoned regulars and move along at a fairly aggressive pace. Even an easy hike can seem difficult if you do it double time. At the same time, many of the Wednesday regulars have shifted over to another night hiking group, the Tigers, leaving our Wednesday ranks a little sparse.

So, here’s the invitation again, along with an added caveat. Please join us on any Monday and Wednesday evening, at 6:30 p.m., for about two hours of adventure hiking. Unconditioned novices should definitely call ahead to make sure the trail is appropriate for their skill-levels. Reasonably experienced hikers will probably do well on any of our excursions, as long as they are receptive to  occasionally using their hands climbing and not intimidated by the rare, death defying razor ridge drop-offs that are absolutely, perfectly safe, as long as hikers don’t misstep by an inch or two, in the dark. Not to mention the poison oak. And rattlesnakes. Land sharks have been reported as well, but I’ve not seen one myself.

With an eleven-month old baby at home, my hiking regularity has become recently erratic. I miss the predictability of every Monday and Wednesday under the stars. I hope to see you out there too, enjoying our amazing network of under utilized local trails.

Fearless readers interested in free Monday and Wednesday night hikes should call Scott Regberg at (310) 475-5735.

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