Los Angeles, I'm Yours

Last Sunday was an example of Southern California at its finest.

snorkel man

My friend Adam (pictured above), fed up with being a workaholic shut-in who never took advantage of going to the beach and generally living (it's okay, I'm not being mean, this is just how we talk to each other), organized a day of fun, camaraderie, and trying-to-fit-an-entire-summer-into-one-day-ness. The result: hiking, beaching, paddle boarding, surfing, and a lovely meal with friends. It doesn't get much better than that.

eagle rock, topanga canyon

eagle rock, topanga canyon
Eagle Rock, in Topanga Canyon
eagle rock, topanga canyon

eagle rock, topanga canyon

eagle rock, topanga canyon
IMG_87eagle rock, topanga canyon03
Awesome cave that jutted out of the rock
eagle rock, topanga canyon
Can you spot the ocean?
eagle rock, topanga canyon
Ten minutes at the top of Eagle Rock, and Toby's already asleep. 
eagle rock, topanga canyon

eagle rock, topanga canyon

eagle rock, topanga canyon

There is nothing quite like the call of the ocean to make a group of people set a quick hiking pace. It was a great workout, and we all knew that cool breezes and (much colder) water were in our near future, so we didn't mind sweating it out.

The beach was fantastic, as it always is. I rarely have a beach day that disappoints. But I might be biased.

beach spot
The perfect spot, right off the PCH, framed by those cliffs and the bluebird sky
boogie boarding
Adam, waiting for the perfect boogie boarding wave
boogie boarding
Caught one! Summer accomplished. 

But the pièce de résistance, the bright red cherry on top of this marvelous day, was that I finally, finally, finally got to go paddle boarding in California.

paddle boarding

I've gone paddle boarding before, in Hawaii, and it was so much fun. I am rather scared of actual surfing (big waves make me nervous, and yet I'm obsessed with the ocean. I know.), but I love to be out on the sea, so the activity of standing on a large surf board in relatively calm waters appeals to me.  Unfortunately, the water in SoCal is cold. Freezing. Arctic. And there's no beating about the bush on this: I'm skinny. Like no fat. Just bones. Not a good mix. Thus, I haven't pursued many watery adventures since I moved out here.

Enter: the wetsuit.

paddle boarding

I've been meaning to buy one for several months now, but they're rather pricey, so it just hasn't happened. Luckily, our new friends Lukas and Kate own a bunch of wetsuits, and Kate's fit me perfectly (those things are hard to get on, though, holy Chinese finger trap). So after a couple minutes of wriggling and squirming and jumping myself into the rubbery skin, I was set, and Lukas and I headed out to catch some...slightly-choppy-but-mostly-just-rolling-water (photos courtesy of my friend Eliza).

paddle boarding

paddle boarding

paddle boarding

paddle boarding
paddle boarding
Look at that stance! What a pro.
How do I describe how the experience made me feel without sounding religious and cliche? First of all, the wetsuit was a frickin' godsend, and I need to buy one, like, yesterday. Not only was I zero percent cold, I could hardly feel the water at all. It was an absolute miracle.

Second of all...the ocean, dude. I have been drawn to it for years; it pulled me to Hawaii three times, and it pulled me to live in California, and it still pulls at me every day, calling me to come be near it and learn from it and feel peace at its side. I have never felt so reverent or overwhelmed or relaxed or terrified or blissful about anything as I do about the ocean. Not many things can calm my anxiety-ridden heart and body down. Actually, there are only two things I can think of: wine, and the sea. And okay, maybe sex. It just has that effect on me. It reminds me that this world is bigger than me. Life is bigger than me. It's a reminder that my daily problems mean nothing in the scope of the universe, and most of the time, I find that comforting.

Anyway. Paddle boarding = bliss.

paddle boarding

And that was my Sunday.

Coming up on my Labor Day weekend plate: a girls' night in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery to watch Dirty Dancing, some flea marketing with the boyfriend, and hopefully a little more beach time, if all goes well. Happy holiday weekending!

paddle boarding

surfer dogs
Cutest dogs ever. Just waiting patiently in a surfboard-laden car, heads popped out of the window, wondering where their owners were.