Middle of Nowhere: Finding Sacred Space in the City of Angels

Courtesy of Creative Commons

Kennedy Meyers || Contributing Writer 

While attending college in Southern California, it can be difficult to find peace and quiet in a city so busy, stressed and technology dependent. The greater Los Angeles area has a population of 18.55 million, so it can be challenging to find yourself alone with your thoughts.

Leaving the city and going on a hike can relieve stress. If you are in the mood to work up a sweat for a hike to a destination, Sturtevant Falls might be the hike for you. This is a hike through a part of the San Gabriel Mountains that leads to a 50-foot waterfall. On the way to the falls, there are multiple private cabins that were built in the 1900s, as well as streams and dams that create smaller waterfalls.

If you want a hike in downtown Los Angeles, what says “L.A.” better than the Hollywood sign? Griffith Park is home to the Hollywood sign and more than 53 miles of trails. Even though this park is in the middle of busy Los Angeles, it has 6.7 miles of terrain. There are many diverse trails to choose from, starting as short as 0.3 miles. Whether you’re a beginner or someone with years of experience, everyone can find a hike that works for them.

Junior psychology major Destiny Rico, hiking enthusiast and a native of the L.A. area, recommends the Claremont Hills Wilderness Loop.  

“I love hiking The Claremont Loop because I can escape the busy everyday life and explore,” Rico said. Claremont Hills Wilderness Park offers short trails and a five-mile walking loop.

The beaches around L.A. can also be a location of solitude. During the weekend this would not be the case, as they are usually packed with people. Research by the Coastal Water Research Group shows that 48 percent of Southern California beach visits occur on the weekend. Also, 53 percent of all visits occur during the hot summer months, with July being the busiest.

However, if you can get away from work on a mild-weather weekday, the beach can be calm and relaxing. Social media has made it more difficult to find secluded beaches, because tourists now know the locals’ favorite spots. However, visiting the beach on weekdays will help you beat the crowds. The fall is also a good time to visit the beach because the weather is milder and people usually are not vacationing at this time. Thousand Steps Beach is famous for the long and steep 220 steps upon arrival, and also for the seven blocks of sandy beach to surf, play volleyball or sunbathe while reading a book. If you walk down far enough, there is a cave on the south end of the beach with tide pools and a private beach on the other side.

 

Los Angeles is the second biggest and busiest city in the U.S., according to The National League of Cities, so there is opportunity to be in the middle of a bustling city.

If you’re in the mood to listen to music, pack a picnic and go see a concert at the Hollywood Bowl with some friends. There are bleacher seats that make it perfect to eat and listen to music while admiring the views of the Hollywood Sign. The next upcoming shows include Jan & Yolanda, David Gilmour and Janet Jackson.

Another way to catch up with friends in the city is through enjoying a meal together. Why not check out West 3rd Street in L.A.? According to their website, west3rdstreet.com, there are over 100 shops, restaurants and specialty stores on this street.

Since L.A. is busy and constantly moving with new ideas, there are many opportunities to take advantage of, while still allowing time for reflection. This reflection time allows you to think, relax, and focus on yourself before the alarm goes off on Monday morning.

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