Mountain story shared at Thanksgiving

If you want to share one story at this Thanksgiving, let’s do this. A few months ago I wrote about Jack Ryan Greener, a quadriplegic stroke survivor who learned to walk on his own. In August, he hiked to the top of Mount Whitney, the highest point in the continental United States. The recently released documentary “Paralyzed to Peaks” tells his story by footsteps and stumbling blocks. (Stream here for free.)

His companion, Chase Biken’s documentary, takes you from the hospital to the top of a 14,505-foot summit west of Lone Pine, California. In the movie, Jack’s anger, frustration, tiredness, and gratitude all hit the mountain. Introducing the movie, Jack recently posted on Instagram: It shifts vocabulary from failure to opportunity and is the culmination of months of attention, meditation, and writing. It’s another life, not Jack’s choice, but rebuilt with purpose and thought. Have fun and happy Thanksgiving.

5 things to do this week

(Micah Fluellen / Los Angeles Times; Getty Images)

1. Yes, Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the holiday lights. Thanksgiving is now an informal beginning of the holiday light season and you now need to know that it is no longer just a decorated neighborhood or home. The local gardens are equipped with elaborate light shows (expensive tickets required) that allow you to walk in immersive decorations. These are good places to take visitors outside the town as well as families. Some examples: Lightscape at the LA County Arboretum and Botanical Gardens in Arcadia until January 16th. Animal-themed LA Zoo Lights at Griffith Park Zoo until January 9th. South Coast Botanic Gardens Glow (Garden Lights & Ocean Waters) in Palos Verdes Estate until January 17th. The fascinating forest of light of the Descanso Gardens in La CaƱada Flintridge until January 9th. Sherman Library & Gardens 1000 Lights Night on December 10-12 and December 16-22 in Corona del Mar. Click here for ticket prices and dates for these seasonal events.

LA County Parks Event Announcement, "Park after darkness"

Snow play begins this weekend in a park in LA County.

(LA County Parks and Recreation)

2. Start playing in the snow outside business hours in a park in LA County. LA County plans to transport 40 tonnes of snow to the city park to give the city’s children the brilliance of a winter wonderland. Parks After Dark has a sleigh hill and snow playground, a visit from Santa, a holiday stocking gift (finished as soon as it’s out of stock), and a hot cocoa station. It’s all free. Registration is not required. Snow play begins on December 3rd at Sorensen Park in Whittier and Pamela Park in Duarte and continues until December 18th on weekends. Sessions are from noon to 4 pm and from 4 pm to 8 pm. Check the schedule to see when it will snow.

Two hikers along the path labeled

#Optoutside instead of shopping on Black Friday.


3. Instead resist Black Friday buying frenzy and #optoutside. The day after Thanksgiving, it’s easy to avoid stores and online shopping. Plan hikes (choose from 50 So Cal hikes here), bike, run, ski trips, surf outings, whatever takes you and your loved ones out in nature. Maybe choose a place you’ve never been to for a discovery adventure. REI, an outdoor retailer, closed 170 stores and sites on Black Friday and launched #optoutside in 2015, encouraging everyone to enjoy the outdoors instead. The Outdoor Co-operative then launched the Co-operative Action Fund to fund community organizations that promote “justice, fairness and attribution to the outdoors to enhance the health and well-being of people and communities.” .. Nature is waiting. It’s up to you to take the time to explore and share your experience with the community.

Two people on a helmeted bicycle pass through the following cinema brands: "Happy Birthday CicLAvia, founded in October 2010."

The street without cars will return on December 5th.

(Laura Ruditch)

4. Time for another car free spin cycle with Ciclavia.. Ever wanted to get rid of traffic on the streets of LA? Of course there is. CicLAvia does it on a regular basis, so you can bike, roller skate, walk, scooter (human-powered), or drive on LA’s no-car routes (see here for allowed vehicle rules). please). A route from southern Los Angeles along Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard from Central Avenue to Clenshaw Boulevard, and north of Clenshaw to the West Exposition Boulevard. The 5.3 mile route is open from 9am to 3pm on Sundays. Click here for details.

Seashells and marine animals.

Residents of the tide pool.

(Myeong J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

5. Take a free tide pool walk on the Palos Verdes Peninsula. The tide pools along the coast of Southern California give you a glimpse into another world. At low tide, you can find sea anemones, barnacles, mussels, starfish, snails, and crabs. Take a walk along the cliffs and stop at the beach to see the tide pools hosted by the Palos Verdes Peninsula Reserve. (Boulder hopping makes this a medium to intense trek.) The freewalk will take place on December 11th at 9am. Sign up here to join.

Wild things

A small fox stands next to a rock.

Red fox puppy in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

(California Fish and Wildlife Service)

The Sierra Nevada red fox is one of the rarest animals in the high-altitude forests of Northern California. How rare is it? They are dozens of people. For real. Wildlife authorities were worried about foxes after a Dixie fire last summer burned 963,309 acres in and around Lassen National Forest. However, they were encouraged after they received a ping from a 3-year-old fox radio collar named Tule. This LA Times story explains how the fox survived. The other three collared women in Lassen Volcanic National Park also seem to have survived the flames that burned about two-thirds of the park. … less habitats have been damaged by the Dixie fire, but they continue to use burnt parts. Please read the full text here.

Must read

The man overlooks the snow-covered mountains, the blue sky and the vast landscape with clouds.

Vincent Valencia offers panoramic views of the top of the Sierra Nevada Mountains while out in search of fresh air at the top of the Mammoth Mountain.

(Brian van der Brugue / Los Angeles Times)

Wow! How about living alone on the top of the 11,053 ft Mammoth Mountain? Vincent Valencia knows. For the past 18 years, he has overseen operations in the Mammoth Mountain Ski Area gondola and has endured “whiteout conditions, 184 mph winds, temperatures down to -30 degrees Celsius.” Valencia (61 years old) can go for 5 days without meeting other people. “Social butterflies will not like this job,” he said. “But that’s not me.” Read more about Valencia’s life at the top and his decision to leave that post.


Two young men are standing under a stone arch in the forest next to a wooden sign.

Sammy Potter and Jackson Parel on the left start the Appalachian Trail.

(Jackson Parel)

Two students at Stanford University completed three of America’s most difficult trails, the Appalachian Mountains, the Pacific Crest, and the Continental Divide in record time. Sammy Potter and Jackson Parel started on New Year’s Day 2021. They have become the youngest hikers to complete a 7,940-mile journey in a year known as the Calendar Year Triple Crown. The LA Times story reports: “The first person reported to complete the calendar year triple crown, Brian Robinson, finished in 10 months in 2001. Since his first hike 20 years ago, 12 have followed his footsteps. Less than a person. “Potter and Parel used a strategy of moving from trail to trail and earning miles. Read the full text here.

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Click to view the web version of this newsletter, share it with others, sign up and send it to your inbox weekly.Me Mary Forgeone, And I write Wild. I’ve been exploring Southern California trails and open spaces for 40 years.

Mary Forgeone

Mountain story shared at Thanksgiving

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