Franklin Canyon is the last hike in our most recent twenty-one hike repertoire, and I confess that getting there at 6:30 p.m. via Sunset Boulevard has become a real deterrent to enjoying this great trail.I recall that once I just scooted east on Sunset toward the Beverly Hills Hotel and getting there in the standard 20 minutes that it takes to get anywhere. Now, however, Sunset is an unpredictable dead stop, taking 20 minutes or more just to go from Bundy to the 405. Fortunately, heading west is a breeze and the new cycle of hikes begins next week with our most westerly adventure: Los Liones north of Sunset, near PCH. This hike is the longer route that the Sierra Club presents every Friday night. Its a hearty workout with just about everything you could want from two hours. Depending on which course the group decides to take, it’s either a wide and swooping fire road with spectacular views, or it’s an uphill challenge with some uniquely steep passages – leading to spectacular views. Neither way is treacherous, but the group is known to move along at an aggressive pace, and a fast ascent can be a bit much for the uninitiated. (In fact, if the notoriously fast-paced Kiwis are in the lead, it can be a bit much for a lot of us, including lazy yours truly).With daylight now gradually extending beyond the 6:30 p.m. start time, this is the ideal season to learn our local trails. Daylight to get started, dramatic sunsets and darkened skies for the return – perfect twilight hikes. A small flashlight (emphasis on small) is all you need to illuminate the ground just in front of you. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how much visibility there is at night. Between moonlight, ambient city light and your eyes’ natural adjustment to a dimmer mode, local night hiking is safe and arguably outright romantic.After Los Liones, we move progressively east, some of the most interesting trails are early in the cycle. Of special caution are the Wind Caves, the Crack and Wirebreak, which novices may perceive as the most difficult of the 21. There are also a number of easy trails mixed in, so feel free to call ahead if you’re uncertain of your conditioning or level of skill.Fearless readers interested in free Monday and Wednesday night hikes should call Scott Regberg at (310) 475-5735.
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Our guest columnist this week is Marc L. Verville. He is a native of Santa Monica, now lives in Sunset...Read more