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

The Rock Eternal

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I blend my body with the strength of the mountains.

I blend my mind with the expanse of the open skies.

I blend my spirit with the majesty of God’s creation.

– Linda Eichberg

“Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord himself, is the rock eternal.” – Isaiah 26:4

Wonders Wait Just Around the Corner – March Miracles

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Going With the Flow

As I stepped outside my Westlake Village home, planning to rush off to the gym. The hills caught my eye. They were rich with spring color and they seemed to be inviting me to come and play.

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March is usually the greenest month in Southern California and with the abundance of local trails available to explore, it would be a shame not to sample one or two. I decided to skip the gym and headed to the Westlake Vista Trail in the hope of seeing some seasonal wild flowers.

The trail starts at Triunfo Canyon, just off Lindero Canyon Road at the Pentachaeta Trail. You will stay to the right for Westlake Vista. Just around the bend of the trail head is a grove of natural Oak trees, a meadow and then a fork in the path. Both paths lead to the reservoir but I took the left trail which quickly rises to view rocky cliffs.

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I was drawn toward the rocks to get a better look. There was a small trail off to the left but when I saw how narrow and steep it was, I quickly return to the main trail and soon arrived at the reservoir.

It’s a fairly easy hike for a healthy person but there are some loose rocks that make the steep sections of the trail very slippery. It took about 25 – 30 minutes to get up there. I probably could have made it in faster time but I was accompanied by my two Maltese.

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To the right I could see what looked like a vast open flood plain. To the left was the crystal clear reservoir framed by rolling hills and mountains.

We met a couple of other hikers up there and one of them offered to take a photo of me and my cute furry boys.

It seemed that I was already at the top of the trail. It was lovely; but exploring further, I discovered another small trail to my left. I hadn’t seen it the first time I ventured to the reservoir. The path brought me up to a view of the water that exposed a grander aspect of it’s liquid expanse.

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Higher and higher we climbed to another stunning vantage point as the captivating sounds of water birds echoed in the distance.

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It was at this point that I felt like I was in another world, instead of the city of Westlake Village. It was as if I was at a destination vacation in the mountains but I only went around the corner to experience this magnificent view.

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At the top, viewing the wide stretch of the regal hills, my ambitions were abandoned. There was only that moment, the clean air and the warm sun. The plans from this morning now belonged to the past. The present is filled with God’s love for me and the gift of His glorious creation.

“The flowers are springing up, the season of singing birds has come, and the cooing of turtledoves fills the air.” – Song of Solomon 2:12 (NLT)

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The Westlake Reservoir is an oasis hidden high in the hills. Taking it all in was like water for my soul. It remains natural and untainted.  It’s not accessible by car and can only be enjoyed after climbing the mountain. But it’s here, so close to my home, waiting for it’s majesty and beauty to be discovered and enjoyed.

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The view on the way down was also out of this world. And there they were, the wildflowers I was hoping for, my reward.

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Their colors graced the gentle slopes calling me to dance and sing before their Maker. So beautiful, but only here for such a short time.

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“Where flowers bloom so does hope!”

– Lady Bird Johnson

Our Time On Earth

My message is simple. There is always gratitude and beauty in every season of life, even in the trials and tribulations. My husband Steven and I are focused on caring for his dad and his wife, who are quickly declining from dementia. It’s difficult to experience this with them.

When we come to these hard moments in life, we find hidden strength in ourselves. We nourish our souls and receive refreshment in friends and in nature. We will all have to give an account of our lives, what we have been, and done. To give our parents companionship and joy in their advance senior years, is an enormous thing to them right now. Every lucid moment they have is a small miracle for which we are very grateful.

“The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of our God stands forever.” – Isaiah 40:8 (NLT)

Everything is a miracle. Have a blessed day! ~ Linda

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