Recently, a few friends of mine decided we would take time out on the weekends from the daily grind of work, school, carpooling, sports, Scouts, homework, kids, etc. to enjoy some local Los Angeles area hiking. The reason is two-fold – we are doing it for personal health and mental sanity! Okay, maybe those are one in the same! As mom’s, our lives can get so chaotic that we tend to focus more on everyone else than on what we need personally. We are generally up with the birds anyway, so sneaking away for an early morning hike is easy and we can generally be back before anyone notices (well…almost no one, anyway!). Hiking allows us to physically burn away stress while building friendships and personal connections. There is something about being outdoors and connecting with nature that renews the soul like nothing else can do.

As a surprise, I scoped a bookstore for some local hiking guides. I bought 4 different guides and gave one to each friend and kept one for myself. Now, armed with our guides, we will set out onto the trails! Reading through all of the hikes is kind of like planning a mini-vacation of sorts…learning about the area, anticipating the event, and getting excited about time spent away (even if it is only for a brief few hours!).

I am a Scouting mom, but by no means an experienced hiker. And, I am NOT in shape! But, again, one of the purposes of these little ventures is to get into shape while enjoying time with friends, out in nature, and without having to hit the gym.

The guides I purchased for myself are:

Trails of the Angeles, John W Robinson

Afoot and Afield: Los Angeles County, Jerry Schad

At some point, I will make an effort to rate these books. But for now, I need to use them and determine their value.

Hiking is an outlet that I enjoy. Find your outlet…find your stress-reliever. We’re moms and we need to find these small treasures in our own lives so we can be gems to our families.