I grew up without television. My friends say this explains a lot about my eccentric personality, but what I think this really did for me was that it fostered a love of the outdoors and the majestic use of my imagination. Growing up we had a large backyard that was packed with trees and flowers and was backed up by a creek. I would spend most of my days frolicking around pretending I was an Indian Princess, or a lost explorer.

You are probably assuming that with age these silly children’s fantasy games went away. However, they did not. I love imagination and exploration and discovery. But how was I going to take advantage of what my mind and creativity had to offer if I had no place to go? In Westwood, there is little to no foliage to get lost in.

If you’re anything like me, you may have come to Los Angeles, taken a look around, and wondered to yourself, where is the nature? This was probably the most difficult thing I had to face upon coming to UCLA. Being from the Bay Area, I always had Muir Woods, Pismo Beach, Yellowstone, and Lake Tahoe just a stones throw away. I could venture up into the mountains for long backpacking trips with my family and friends, or just explore for a casual day hike.

It has been my quest to find as many good hikes as possible in these tough surroundings. Luckily, this past weekend, I found one to get lost in. Sadly it takes a full day to do the entire trip, so if you have a jam packed schedule as I do, this can’t be an everyday frequent, but it is worth it time permitting.

My dear friend Ashley and I took to the internet to find a hike that led us to the highest peak in Santa Monica. We drove our car up and around winding roads until we finally found the gravel parking lot the yelp commenters are had mentioned.

The brush and bramble wasn’t exquisite on the way up, but the large rock formations and the way the sun hit the stone made it all worth our while. When we finally emerged victorious at the top, the view was breathtaking. In the distance, the beautiful ocean could be seen sparkling in the sun light, and the hills around us made civilization seem a thing of the past. We were along to indulge in a delicious picnic and catch up without the woes of our world below us.

As the sun began to set, we set off at a quick pace with hopes of catching the sun setting in Malibu. However, one wrong turn, a pitiful tripping on my part, and a bloody knee, resulted in a less glamorous viewing from the side of the hill. All in all, can’t complain. And, I have a nice little scar on my knee to hold the memory forever.