Friday, April 5, 2013

Lost in the Los Angeles wilderness (video)

Xochitl, Ashley, Seven, Amber, CC, Maya, Pat (HIKE TEAM 1), Wisdom Quarterly
North-facing entrance gate to Hsi Lai Buddhist Temple, Los Angeles (
California's predatory new imperial flag
Los Angeles is a megalopolis, an asphalt jungle. It is treacherous, compacted, and diverse. While it is very expansive, there are more than ten million residents squeezed in with hundreds of thousands more visiting, moving through, or fleeing for their lives.

But where is there to flee? From almost anywhere in a basin of hills and valleys of Los Angeles (Spanish, "The Angels"), both a county and a city with no fewer than 50 enclaves or semi-autonomous townships, ghettoes, and police-occupied territories -- one can see chaparral covered mountains. And after a time, sometimes after many years, it occurs to one: I can go there!
The first attempt to interact with Nature (Bhumi) is often her manifestation as Griffith Park, LA's own Central Park above Hollywood. But the urban-park is generally ruined on one end by Dodger Stadium and its enormous asphalt car parks (parking lots) and crowded on the other end around the HOLLYWOOD sign and Griffith Observatory peering into space from just above Tinsel Town. This is where young people and their companions start going missing:
Young People and Companions
(HBO) "Mr. Show With Bob and David" (David Cross and Bob Odenkirk)
Brushfires get own season (
In time, looking at a map, one suddenly realizes that there is an enormous amount of blank or green space on top. Lazy mapmakers? No, the north marks the southern extent of the Sierra Madre mountain range, our own snowy Himalayan foothills. Mostly they are on fire, particularly when the Santa Ana winds fan dry brush set alight by arsonists and lightning.
The tallest peak in LA is Mt. Wilson, but it is covered with TV antennae and microwave-emitting cell and FM radio towers.
Farther east is Mt. Baldy, which becomes an imposing alabaster monument after the brief winter snows. One of the best places to appreciate this view is from the north-facing hillside steps of the largest Buddhist temple in the western hemisphere, Hsi Lai (Chinese for "Going West") Buddhist Temple in Hacienda Heights. These heights are hills and are part of the Orange Curtain separating LA from a mysterious and far more uptight area known as "The O.C." with free-roaming predatory Republicans, rates of which have fallen to below 16% in LA.

The tip of Shaman's nose knows more than those who doze in the presence of Nature.
All throughout the north there are trails, slow-melting snow patches, deadly snakes (nagas), briar beds, dilapidated gold mining tunnels, poison oak beds, bobcats, bighorn sheep, brown bears, golden California poppies (a drug used by the original residents, the Tongva), coyotes, mountain lions, and swarms of mosquitoes haunting riparian areas in an otherwise crumbling limestone desert.
O, Teepee, how easy art thou to build and save us from the elements! If only we had taken that outdoor survival class and foraging training with our pal Christopher Nyerges.
What a great place to meditate when its cold, too loud and crowded when its warm, too susceptible to flooding when its raining in the high desert east of the county.

The Problem with Hiking
Hopelessly lost since Easter Sunday, search party finds hapless hikers (
We are not grounded in LA. Other parts of the country (nudge-nudge, Mid West) may be too grounded, but we are not nearly enough. This is a city of half-baked ideas. It is a cereal city -- full of flakes, fruits, and nuts (and, admittedly, more than a few serial killers).
So when we get out and elevate along marked trails and unpaved footpaths that run all around the perimeter of our LAPD occupation, not the cool Occupy Movement, we may not know what we are doing. This year so far a few people fell to their deaths just north of the city lights. Eaton Canyon is the hiding place of one of LA's waterfalls. (Another good one is at Switzer Falls, and there are also two little-known natural hot springs). 
Recently a massive search party went out day after day in search of a Latino and Anglo youth, Nick Cendoya and Kyndall Jack, from behind the Orange Curtain who got lost a mile from their car, smartphone battery dead, dehydrated, disoriented, dwelling in dense brush, and found on the doorsteps of death. 
Search helicopters over Eaton Canyon
Last night another five went missing in the Eaton Canyon Wash. (This is where a hiker recently tripped, falling off the trail before being airlifted out with a broken nose; it is also where a week earlier another hiker fell to her death, according to The Patch's Jessica Hamlin). This group of young people and their companions, all in their twenties and prepared for an eight-hour hike, became lost in a canyon that only moves one way. Hey, hikers, follow the stream down to the Nature Center and parking lot. In the dark follow altitude to the canyon floor (its lowest point is where the stream will be found). Fortunately they were found 24 hours later: ALL FOUND SAFE (VIDEO)

(Daily Show) The Occupy Movement's aristocratic versus ghetto class division

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