Blog by Yessica Maher, los Angeles Native.

She explores life after marriage, starting a career in her late 30's, relationships, breaking cycles of abuse, online dating, self care, fertility and depression. 

It's all over the place, but so is living. 

Hiking Runyon Canyon


One that is proudly inactive does not simply decide to hike Runyon Canyon.  Unless you're me, and committed to not over thinking anything.  Then I go for it.

I've lived in Los Angeles all of my life and I've recently decided that I can enjoy my city too.  So many people that live here came from elsewhere.  There are people that come and stay in hotels and pay an insane amount of money for the sunshine and beaches and I've spent long enough sleeping in and not going out to explore.

This morning I was up before the sun.  It was my usual morning of my body waking me up for no reason at all.  I looked at my phone, then thought, "I could catch the sunrise . . . go hiking . . . have coffee on the porch." The day was ahead of me because it was still dark outside and I was rested.  Somehow I got sucked into Facebook instead only to look up and discover the sky outside was lighter and the birds were chirping.  I could have tried sleep at that point.  I could have gotten up for housework.  Instead I threw on clothes and told my Waze app to get me to Runyon Canyon.

I parked closer to Vista and used that entrance.  I had my keys in one hand and my phone in the other and didn't bother with water, but decided stretching would be planning enough.  (I also stopped at every fountain for water and sat at every bench to appreciate the view.)  As I started walking with my music in my ears, I was singing.  On the way up, I saw this massive climb with people goat hopping and climbing up and thought maybe I could turn back at that point.  It looked intense.


I started focusing on each step I was taking or the views all around me.  I have never done the trail before, so I figured I would just follow the paved road.  Runyon Canyon Road leads to Mulholland Drive and I was about a third of the way there when I checked my map.  If you were there, I was the crazy woman laughing hysterically on my way back down and to the fork that took me to Fuller so I could complete the loop.

I'm focusing on the fact that the way you do anything is the way you do everything.

From the time I woke up, I sat with the idea for a while before I decided I would just do it.  I bought a sports bra a couple of years ago that is way too big for me now so  I wore a regular bra and found peace with the idea that I would bounce and it didn't bother me as much as I thought it would.  I didn't even think about it.  We do what we commit to do or we make excuses, but at the end of the morning, I hiked a trail I've wanted to check out for a while and didn't have anyone to get me out of bed for it but myself.

I remembered to stretch after watching someone else doing it.  I remembered my post workout stretch when I was sitting in the air conditioning in my car, and got up to stretch and it felt good.  Not gelato good, but good. Doing things properly has latent benefits.  Take the time to stretch and focus on your breathing and being present in the moment.  It feels better than you might imagine.


It was a morning of appreciating the present moment I was in.  I wasn't focused on the really steep climb I could see people struggling through.  I ended up in the opposite direction.  By the time I got there, I was coming down and not climbing up.  Instead of struggling, I was jogging and hopping and it was fun. I hit a crest and realised I was looking at the original ascent I was afraid of.  I made peace with the idea of sliding down on my butt if I had to.  I accepted that I might fall, and hoped I wouldn't end up with a face full of cacti needles because I have plans tonight and want to look cute.  By the time I got down, I didn't fall.  I was able to just enjoy the beautiful view.  I spent some time petting some stranger's dog and we both got lost in a few moments of watching dragonflies.  The dog's owner seemed a bit nervous about the dragon flies and I assured him they might land on you for a little insect porn, but they really don't harm people.

I saw lots of exhaustion and determination on faces, but my face offered a smile and a song.  By the end of the hike, I did more than I planned to. It was exciting and relying on my body felt amazing.  I was more capable than I expected I could be.  I was sweating and really appreciated the fact that I was too lazy to shower first. That post workout shower is a special gift.  I didn't plan, but the adventure made me laugh.  The steep climb looked far worse than it was because it was my descent.  I didn't bring water but I had just what I needed in water and rest stops. And it was a road travelled alone.  It's exactly how I'm living my everything.

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