Despite its worldwide reputation for poolside relaxation in perfect weather with the rich and beautiful, the outdoors of Southern California is full of shocks only half an hour from downtown Los Angeles. I was reminded of this when gathering material for a book I have just written.
Our mountains have recorded some of the most heavily concentrated rainfall anywhere in the U.S. On our meanderings we can find views straight out of the Old Testament and a stream that a storm can change from a demur trickle to a raging wall of water.
We drive in an hour or so from a balmy spring day in a field thick with poppies to a dangerously disorienting forest in the grip of winter or take a few steps off a road with bumper-to-bumper commuting traffic into a silence deep enough that you can hear a bird’s wings flapping overhead.
On an uphill hike starting under a blanket of fog that covers the entire Los Angeles basin and its teeming millions you burst through the gloom into the warm sunshine of a cloudless day. All this is easy to get to by almost anyone, including ancients like me. Hence my book’s title, “90 And Not Dead Yet.”