Winter Morning Hike at Eaton Canyon

Nature is selfish, constantly calling. You must answer.

It takes living in a city like Los Angeles to know the struggle. The impetus to shed our urban skins and dive into the green, to find a rock to sit on, a twig to hold. The city can be smothering. People can let you down. But luckily, there are places we can go. Not too far away, but far enough away. So when nature draws us in, we must let it. Our bodies tell us that there is a balance that is being ignored. Escape from the 4 walls and find a 360 degree view of rock, of inclination, and the light at the end of a hard-earned tunnel: the waterfall.

This is all what brought me to Eaton on a crisp winter morning. It isn't by any means an intense hike (you only climb 375ft of elevation gain) but it is full of visual wonder. 3.5 miles roundtrip, you first snake through a dirt path with a smattering of trees. You come across horse hooves, but not much wildlife outside of the occasional lizard. In the mouth, up high to the left of you at the entrance, you can see mansions that have a birds-eye view of beautiful nature. You climb rocks and, if possibly more so in summer, you will find yourself skipping about them to avoid what I can only guess is a moving stream. In winter, however, it is mostly dry until you get closer to the waterfall.

The waterfall, a thin rushing one above a blanket of green algae on the rocks, shines in the morning sun. It forces you to watch it, as it hurls itself over the cliff's edge into the pool below. It is quite a sight, especially when the crowds are minimal. You could spend a few hours there, leaving your worries somewhere else down the trail. A waterfall forces you to give it your full focus, the sight and sound commanding and therapeutic. But it will then be time to go, and hopefully you carry that feeling with you. Back again across the rocks, past the dry creek, down again through the dirt path. Once you are back at the parking lot, with the evidence of the real world peeking through again, you go to the nature center. There, among the taxidermied animals, you are once again overwhelmed with the idea of nature. You touch everything: the maps, the bird watching checklist, the books. The postcards and patches and pins. It's the Disney World gift center of nature, and it is welcomed with open arms. You leave with it all in your hands, so when you riffle through your bag later on in the week, you are reminded. When you sit in your chair at your cubicle, you are reminded. The good thing about nature, in contrast to people, is it can always be counted on to be there. When you close your eyes, and when you open them. 

A last suggestion: bring someone you love with you. Let them in on how nature makes your heart beat. See if you don't fall in love all over again. 

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!