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Limping Through the Tulips:

While bicycling near the Third Street Promenade, I hit something in the street and went tumbling, and despite the elegance of the fall, tore a ligament in my knee. I haven’t done a serious hike since. But I have rediscovered some of the great walks that don’t require much uphill work.

The first test trek was an easy stroll around the Brentwood golf course on San Vicente. I like this benign little walk and recommend it to anyone not ready for prime time hills. There are a few runners blowing by and a few dog-walkers being pulled along, but folks are usually pretty friendly on the trails as well as the sidewalks.

The old knee was tweaking but begging for more. As long as I kept the contraption of a knee brace strapped on tight, it seemed okay.

The next walk was Capri – not down into Rustic, but along the paved road that follows the hillside, gradually sloping down. Capri is a beautiful canyon walk even for the fit, but the slow uphill grind on the way back had me limping after about an hour.

Over the next few weeks, I downshifted to easier challenges, took a stroll around the Will Rogers Polo Field, walked down the Promenade to the end of the pier and circled Crestwood Hills Park a few times. I was feeling stronger so I tried a real hike, albeit an easier one: the Temescal Canyon Loop.

I couldn’t do it. It started fine, a late afternoon easy pace, some seasonal flowers still hanging in there, and great canyon views. About half-way up to the waterfall, on the steeper part of the rise, I knew it wasn’t going to work. The knee was screaming and I couldn’t find a limp or stride to compensate. Downhill wasn’t much better, but once I reached flat land the pain leveled out as well.

But I’m not giving up. A few more weeks and I’ll be writing about real adventures: steep ascents, death defying peaks and more. In the interim, I’m limping through the tulips and waiting for mother nature to say it’s okay.

Fearless readers interested in free Monday night hikes may call Scott Regberg at 310-475-5735.

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