Do you appreciate it more when you have to work for it?

We spent Christmas in California again this year. I love leaving winter behind and jetting off to Los Angeles in the middle of winter, hitting the beach cities and soaking up the sun. We go almost every year and have our favorite stops that we hit every trip – most of which revolve around the beach.  I’m a beach girl at heart and could spend all of my time there if I could.

The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever

– Jacques Cousteau

After hitting all our usual spots, we decided to go outside of our sandbox and do something new. Hiking is a big ‘thing’ in LA probably because they have so many mountains and hills and trails. My brother-in-law suggested we hike in the hills by the Hollywood sign. It has been years since I’ve been to Hollywood and I figured it would be a good Instagram opportunity if nothing else (it was BTW). The Brush Canyon Trail is 6 miles, but at 1.25 miles there is a lookout over LA that they said was so satisfying that many hikers turn around right there. We put the address in the GPS and headed to Hollywood.

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The drive wasn’t too bad for LA standards, not much traffic, but it still took about 45 min to get there.  The parking sucked and we were kinda crabby before we even started the hike. And the kicker was the best view of the Hollywood sign was not on the trail, but in the car on the way there.

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My mom got to the base and decided to stay there while the rest of us started on our hike.  It started with a steep incline and never really leveled off. It was a nice sunny day and as we climbed I started to peel my layers off. The idea of a hike seemed fairly easy but I forgot how grueling real hills are to climb. We stopped a few times to take pictures, we could see only part of the Hollywood sign at an angle.  As we continued, the climb started getting harder and harder. I was breathing hard and getting more sluggish. I was getting frustrated with myself for lagging in the working out department for the last several months. This hike shouldn’t be this difficult for me. Because the trail was uphill and windy it was hard to tell how much further it was until the overlook. It just kept going and going. There was a couple times I thought the view was good enough and I could turn back at anytime, but I didn’t want to be the first to suggest it. At our last rest stop we could finally see the overlook. We saw people up there that weren’t too far ahead of us so we knew it was close.  Just one more big incline and we would see the city.

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By the time we reached the top I was almost panting – why is hiking so hard?  How did I get so out of shape?  Is the view really going to be that good?

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These pictures don’t really do it justice, it was a gorgeous view of downtown LA and the city all the way to the ocean.  We stayed at the top for 10-15 minutes enjoying the view and taking pictures.  Afterwards I wondered if the view was really that magnificent, or if it was sweetened by the effort it took to get to the top. Do we enjoy things more when we work for them?  Does the appreciation come from the work that went into getting here?

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For me, it was the effort made the view better. The sense of accomplishment from setting a goal (even a small one like a 2.5 mile hike) and completing it was what made the view spectacular. And it was a good kick in my pants to get back on a regular workout schedule!  So far my 2015 is starting out right and I have been working out regularly and when I need inspiration, I will remember this hike and why I need to keep working out!

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Back at the bottom we were cheerier than when we started. Partly because of our accomplishment and partly because we were going back the beach for a late lunch and shopping trip.

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