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Commentary: Commentary: He finds Southern California’s outdoors ‘full of shocks’

The topmost parts of the foothills are breaking free of the gray blanket under which everyone in metropolitan Los Angeles is going to work or school on a dreary day. Here in the Angeles National Forest, just above La Cañada, the sky is blue and the early sun is already warm.
(Reg Green)

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.”


Reg Green is a La Cañada Flintridge resident. Many of the essays found in his latest book were first published in the pages of the Valley Sun. Print copies and ebooks are available from the bookstore at All royalties go to the Nicholas Green Foundation,