I spent the entire hike surreptitiously following a group of spunky ladies who were making their way to the waterfall with a speed and agility that openly mocked the less-coordinated. Admittedly, with the exception of a few water crossings and uphill slopes, this was more what you would call a nature walk than hike..but still. These women were roughly around the age of my mother. And while she certainly has her spry moments, I cannot see my mother flitting across the logs in the streams with such apparent ease.

To someone who frequently has issues adjusting to the change in elevation caused by stepping off a curb (when I say I fall down “from walking”, it’s not an exaggeration), keeping up posed something of a challenge. The distance between us can be attributed more to the effortless grace with which the ladies seemed to navigate the terrain than any attempts on my part to maintain a respectable stalker’s gap. However miraculously, I managed to keep them in my sights for the most part and even reached the falls in a surprisingly reasonable amount of time.

My motivation to reach the falls may have started off as a desire to emulate the ladies in whom I saw a possible future version of myself (I aspire to be so fit and mobile in my later years)…but somewhere along the way, I found myself appreciating the hike for its own beauty and the rare opportunity to revel in nature. We were surrounded by trees and shrubs sprouting with tiny flowers. Even the water crossings—perilous though they were to the uncoordinated—were actually fun. The waterfall itself was a worthy reward at the end of the hike and as I looked around I realized that this is something I could get used to. I may be a city girl at heart but one who still longs for fresh air and blue skies. (What is it about being on a hike that made it actually seem like even the air was different? I mean, we are still in LA. It’s not like the smog magically evaporated just because all of a sudden we’re in an area inhabited by more than one tree.)

While I probably won’t be forsaking the city in favor of the alternative anytime soon, as the years go by and the smog layer grows ever thicker…some day when the call of nature will no longer be denied, I’ll pack up my meager belongings and head off  in search of serenity in the untouched regions of the earth. Ok, maybe nothing quite that romantic. But it’s nice to know that while I currently choose the hustle and bustle of the big city and all that comes with it, a little piece of nature is still within reach.