Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Hiking the Catalina Trail

Here is a thought experiment for you, think of your favorite trail. Got it? Good. Now, can you tell me when the trail was built? Usually we just enjoy our trails and with few exceptions, we have no idea when they were built, re-routed, etc.

So I was beyond stoked to be able to get out on a brand spanking new trail (relatively speaking, it was built in 2010) in Glendale. Added to that the fact that I have yet to hike and I have been chomping at the bit to hike this puppy. So how was it?

Well the first part, the Mountain Do trail, is flat and rather bland circling the soccer fields (or football pitches, if you will). However. it quickly picks up steam as it switchbacks up to the San Rafael Hills ridgeline.

The Catalina trail is a beautiful singletrack trail

and there was a double bonus to today's hike as the desert flowers were blooming up a storm and amongst all the brown were patches of color:

You have two options on the "ol" Catalina Trail, you can take it all the way around the hillside, continuing the nice singletrack

or take the junction

up to the Ridge Trail of the San Rafael Hills. I suggest doing both (of course!) as the Catalina Trail isn't going to challenge the PCT for length any time soon.

The San Rafael Hills offer nice vistas of the northern part of LA and while planted firmly between the 2 and the 210 and housing developments, the Hills will give you at least a "sense" of the wilds. Plus the trails are under utilized so you will definitely get the place to yourself if you go.

Double plus?? Fire tower!

An inaccessible fire tower with a 10 foot high fence, razor wire and a padlock access to the top deck fire tower, but one nonetheless. There are a whole bunch of these things in the Adirondacks and I get overly excited whenever I see one in person. I was almost more excited to see this than the views.

In any event, I feel the Catalina Trail, while new, will become an old friend as I really look forward to tromping around there many times in the future. I definitely suggest checking it out!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

EWH Reviews Oakley Sunglasses

I recently got a chance to try out Oakley sunglasses on the trail. Usually, the sunglasses I use are el cheapos, under $50 and while they work, they have issues. I have issues with fogging, I have issues with clarity, my issues have issues!

So it was really interesting to try out expensivo sunglasses and see what the differences are. Suffice to say, they are startling.

The first thing I notice about these Oakley puppies is the clarity of the lenses. Anytime in Southern California can be sunny, which is both a blessing and a curse. Unlike the inexpensive sunglasses, these guys are crystal clear out on the trail, both in sunny and shady settings.

The second think I noticed was the lack of fogging. I am not a sweaty guy but you know if you are huffing and puffing up a trail, your glasses can become fogged. Some sunglasses negative this but having vents. Oakley just removes the lower part of the sunglasses so you don't "hotbox" yourself (trademark pending).

These glasses are "sporty" looking and the particular pair I had (the Half Jacket) are definitely for smaller faces so you may want to check sizings for your face. The sunglasses might not serve you well in all social situations but they sure look great on the trail!

Once they are on your face they are lightweight but very tough. I was impressed by these shades, they were a HUGE upgrade over the el cheapos.

These sunglasses came from the great folks at Blackleaf.

Blackleaf is a UK company and they cater to the action sports enthusiast in the UK and abroad. I am in the US but I was impressed by the responsiveness of Blackleaf and will definitely be checking them out for my adventure needs. You should too!

The Oakley shades were provided by Blackleaf for review purposes. I get no benefit whether you buy Oakley products or shop at Blackleaf, its life, make your own decisions. I try to review things as honestly as possible but it is the internet, take everything with a grain of salt, thanks.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

EWH Gets His Groove Back, Debs Style

Ahhh the Debs. A great hillside here in the City of Los Angeles which will get you out and about in wilderness without leaving the city. I love the Debs, especially for its pine trees

and uncrowded trails.

I especially dig that this easy trail got me back out on the trail. I have been in a Spring funk and going out on an easy-ish trail, just me, was just what I needed. Especially since the Debs are a hidden gem, one I have detailed many times but came to the fore to me while hiking.

The views that you get of the surrounding mountains are amazing

and the views of the city aren't so shabby either

While the Debs is a hidden gem, there are also hidden gems within gems, especially a sweet lake

(gem wheels within gem wheels)

The park, while small has varied terrain and trails and I always recommend it if you don't have the time to venture further afield

I like the Debs and it made me like hiking again. Consider me a fan.

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