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MLK Weekend in LA (Rocky Peak, Veterans Park, & Claremont 5 Mile Loop)

Rocky Peak at sunrise
Dates traveled: 1/12/18-1/15/18
I found out a couple months ago that my friends Melanie and Ken, who live in Germany, were going to be in California December/January, and knew I had to fly down to LA to see them! A quick check of my Alaska miles, and saw I had enough points for a free ticket, flight instantly booked! I also reserved a car on Priceline.com for the weekend when I booked my flight. Which I like doing that on Priceline.com because you don’t have to pay ahead of time, and can pay the day you get the car; but then a few weeks prior I checked Costco Travel, and found a cheaper car rental through them! So I canceled my Priceline reservation and went with Costco, free cancellations too! ($100 for 4 day car rental, tax included. Costco Travel also offers free reservations, pay at time you get car)
The week before my trip, I messaged Mel & Ken, and asked if they would want to go on some runs with me since I am currently training for a 15K. The response I got was “hahahahaha you found the two people that might hate running the most…” LOL. Alright, message received. Which was fine, I was just then going to run around the neighborhood and get some mileage in while in town. Then that night, their friend Ryan messages me “I hear you’re looking for a running partner while you’re in town”…. I had met Ryan in Germany over the summer, and from what I knew about him, he’s summited Rainier, Shuksan, and runs marathons… Yeah, while I am over here happy as clam when I get a mile in, in under 15 minutes lol. So then of course I think Mel and Ken are trying to kill me! Ryan then asks if I trail run and if I’d be interested in doing a local trail. I also have a problem with saying no… so I tell him I don’t trail run but can attempt it. And this is how I ended up scheduling a 6 AM trail run with Ryan up Rocky Peak in Simi Valley that Saturday. I messaged Mel our plans, and got a “Hahahaha oh god, we’re going out Friday night too hahahaha”… yeah, yeah, welcome to my life everyone. I just can’t say no lol.

Sunrise over Chatsworth
Location: Rocky Peak in Chatsworth, CA
Miles: 5.8 miles R/T
Elevation Gain: 1471 ft
Date hiked: 1/13/2018
Saturday morning rolled around, and Ryan came and picked me up at 6:00AM on the dot. He asked me if I brought my headlamp, and of course I did haha. We got to trailhead around 6:15AM and were on our way! We hit the trail running! Which lasted about one minute before I was so out of breath, I couldn’t even finish a sentence without gasping for air lol. In which, we hiked the rest of Rocky Peak hahaha. I think that might be the extent of my trail running days you guys. We didn’t catch the sunrise at the summit, but caught it while hiking up, and it was gorgeous! Wish I had more than just my cell phone to take pics, but figured I couldn’t trail run with a real camera in my hand. We got to the summit around 7:30AM, the last part being a small scramble to get to the true summit. You could see Chatsworth on one side, and Simi Valley on the other, such a clear day too! The wind was ferocious this day though; Ryan estimated it at 30-40 MPH winds whipping us left and right. (Even an IG friend wrote that she got to trailhead later that morning and didn’t do the hike due to high winds) We were done by 9AM and by the time I got back to the house I was staying at, Mel & Ken were still in bed. Of course I was their alarm clock:)
 I might be crazy but so worth it waking up early!
 Rocky Peak Trail 
Thanks Ryan for showing me this awesome trail!
California trails, I miss them!
Once I woke them up, we went and grabbed burritos for breakfast at Villanueva down the street, and headed to Malibu in search of some beach time. I drove us to El Matador State Beach and even snagged a prime parking spot! We got some sun and stayed at the beach for a couple of hours, then decided we had enough sun and needed Starbucks.
 Welcome to El Matador!
 Love Mel & Ken!
 We lost Ken at this point
Reunited and it feels so good!

My Sunday plans were supposed to be to grab brunch in Orange County with one of my close friends from high school but that fell through. But my friend Sergio saw I was in The Valley, and said he’d be around if I wanted to hang out. So I made plans with him for Sunday, and that's how I ended up on a death march in Sylmar, CA.
My favorite road dawg
Location: Veterans Park in Sylmar, CA
Miles hiked: 1.8 miles
Elevation Gain: 663 ft
Date hiked: 1/14/2018
This trail was on the backside of the park. Seemed like any other park that had the playground set, picnic area, etc. But if you headed towards the back there were trails. Sergio didn’t really give me a distance we were doing, or what exactly we were doing. Just that he was taking me to Veterans Park. I didn’t have too much time, so we were here for less than an hour. But that 1.8 miles was intense. The uphill was so steep! It was great to catch up with Sergio too.
San Fernando Valley 
After Veterans Park, I headed to Orange County to see friends, then went to Claremont, where I stayed the night at my uncle’s house. Monday morning, I made plans with my cousin Andrea to hike the  Claremont 5 Mile Loop.
Location: Claremont Wilderness Trail in Claremont, CA
Miles Hiked: 5.2 miles
Elevation Gain: 900 ft
Date hiked: 1/15/2018

Somehow I got talked into another sunrise hike lol. We got to the trail parking lot around 6:30AM to an empty lot and were on our way as the sun was rising. This trail is super wide and easy terrain. There are even trail markers telling you which mile you’re on. Once you get to the middle of the loop, there’s a covering with benches you can take a break at. We finished the loop in about 2 hours. Nice easy hike less than 10 minutes away from my uncle’s house. The 2 parking lots were packed when we got back, and people were even following us in their cars to get our parking spot. (Note to self: get to trailhead early!)
Sunrise over the San Bernardino Mountains 
 Views from Claremont Loop
Mile Marker!
Claremont Wilderness

Total miles hiked & elevation gained in 3 days: 12.8 miles, 3034 ft gained

Another great weekend spent in California hanging out with friends and family. I didn’t plan to hike so much lol. I do miss the California trails though and am so glad I got to hike my old stomping grounds. 

Until next time California!
My uncle and little cousin Andrea


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