Today was an absolutely beautiful day. Clear blue skies,
mid-70's temperature, low smog, completely perfect. So, like any other
sane human being, I decided to take a walk. Specifically, I hiked up to
the Claremont Hills Wilderness Park, which is a nice little place a
few miles north of campus. On the way there, I was really struck by
life in California. Here I was, walking along on one of the most
beautiful days of the year, and I didn't see more than a half-dozen
other pedestrians on the two-and-a-half mile walk up to the park. Of
course, I saw several hundred cars, trucks, and SUVs. I saw people
driving from their homes on Mills down the street to Vons and back
again. It's so weird here -- on the one hand, a lot of people seem to be
"fitness freaks" and very concerned with "wellness", but on the other
hand there's this overbearing car culture...
Then I got to the park. At first, I was really amused, because there were a good 50-60 cars parked there, plus another hundred or so parked in a municipal lot down the street. On the one hand, those cars probably mean that there are some people enjoying the weather. On the other hand, every one of those people, in order to spend some quality time outside, piled into a car and drove to the outdoors, never noticing the irony inherent in that. Most likely, the reason that they came was because home was too smoggy, too noisy, or just plain old too car-centric to hike in. So, pile the family in the minivan and head off to the park! *sigh*.
Once I got on the trail, I saw a fair number of other hikers, joggers, and bicyclists, filling a whole spectrum of preparedness. On one end you have the avid jogger in the fancy polyster clothes with an arm-mounted iPod, large water bottle, and stopwatch. And on the other hand you have a woman who I passed early on who was wearing jeans and a heavy sweatshirt. *sigh*.
The walk itself was excellent. The main feature of the park is a 5-mile loop that takes you up a decent distance. At the top of the park, I ran into a flock of unruly elementary-school-aged children and their families, but they fell behind quickly once I rounded the peak and picked up speed going down.
Anyhow, it's an excellent place to go, and I recommend it most highly. The pictures I took live in this flickr album.