Hiking China Flat

It was early evening on a hot day in May when I headed out with my two friends and two dogs to see the last of the wildflowers on the China Flat trail.

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The hills were still green from the winter rains. The peach and pink mountains created a lovely backdrop for the green and silver scrub.

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The hike started out with a gentile rise that gradually grew steeper. We would be going up to an elevation of 1,081 feet.

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As we rounded the bend, the mountains gave us some much-needed shade. Mornings or early evenings are good times to hike this trail because it can get very hot.

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We were starting to break a sweat from the climb; the shade felt good. My two Maltese were also very happy to cool down.

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I wasn’t long before we were greeted by an oasis of yellow wildflowers, natures rock garden!

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As we traversed higher we began to get a good workout. Hiking is a great way to keep your heart healthy. My friends and I were beginning to see some amazing views of Oak Park.

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It was about here where one of my dogs put the brakes on and stopped to rest. After a few minutes, I picked him up and continued on.

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We came across some yellow-orange Monkey flowers. I paused to admire their natural beauty.

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Hiking in nature always refreshes my mind. The panorama was stunning up this high, looking over towards Agoura Hills!

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On the way down this lollipop shaped trail, we saw more wildflowers, like this pretty Wild Lilac.

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The hike up China Flat is 4.1 miles out and back. This trail in Oak Park, California, is a good one for beginners, if you go at a leisurely pace, and it offers lots of natural beauty to entertain your eyes along the way.

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Happy trails, Linda

 

For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth the heights of the mountains are his also. – Psalm 95: 3-4

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The Power of Flowers

This has been a season of helping others carry their burdens. I have a few family members going through some very stressful and hurtful situations. Some difficulties cannot be avoided or ignored. When you love someone you feel for them and you hurt with them.

Finding Beauty in Unexpected Places

One of the ways I like to restore my spirit is by walking or hiking in nature. The hills above my home in Westlake Village are a close retreat. When I started out on my hike my heart was heavy, unaware of the beautiful treasures I would soon find hidden in the chaparral.

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Within minutes, I was dazzled by a burst of color. I had never seen this particular collection of wild flowers. They were much larger than any I had ever come across before, so vibrant and delightful!

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Yellow California Wildflowers – Sticky Monkey Flower

“Earth laughs in flowers.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wellness Through Flowers 

Nature provides us with a simple way to improve emotional health. Flowers trigger happy emotions, heighten feelings of life satisfaction and increase positive social behavior, according to a study at Rutgers University.” What’s most exciting about this study is that it challenges established scientific beliefs about how people can manage their day-to-day moods in a healthy and natural way,” said Jeannette Haviland-Jones, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology at Rutgers and lead researcher on the study.

The study also found particular benefits for seniors. There was a marked decrease in depression for older adults who received flowers. “Seniors performed higher on everyday memory tasks and experienced enriched personal memories in the presence of flowers.”¹

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Another group of wildflowers I saw that day was such a lovely orchid purple color, I could hardly believe my eyes. Southern California is in a drought and these beauties sprang up without any man-made cultivation. Incredible! They were perfection.

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Purple California Wildflowers – Chinese Houses

 

Consider How the Wild Flowers Grow

Does God speak through flowers? I think so.  As I moved in closer to more fully experience their fragrance, Jesus’ words came to my mind.

“Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.” ~­ Luke 12: 27-31

These verses spoke to my heart, refreshed my soul and renewed my mind.

A Sweet Blessing

“Flowers are the sweetest things God ever made, and forgot to put a soul into.” ~ Henry Beecher, Life Thoughts

Mothers are the sweetest beings God ever made and put a soul into.

I was blessed with a visit from my mom from Pennsylvania,. I am very grateful for those rare and precious moments shared with my mom.

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May the garden of your heart be filled with flowers.

Many Blessing, Linda

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Footnote:

  1. http://aboutflowers.com/health-benefits-a-research/flowers-a-seniors-study.html