Outside L.A., you can touch the sky

Peter N. Spotts spent a day in the Santa Monica mountains

Where did you go? A six-mile hike to the best place in the Santa Monica Mountains to touch the sky - Sandstone Peak, north of Malibu, Calif. It's the tallest summit in the range's National Recreation Area.

Where did you stay?

Downtown L.A. On a weekday morning, it took me 90 minutes to reach the trailhead. You can find details at http://www.localhikes.com/ Hikes/MisheMokwa_4472.asp

What did you do? Walked a lot, took plenty of photos, and enjoyed some sunshine and fresh air, slightly scented with sage. Yes, fresh air; on this day the summit was above the smog layer.

Where did you eat? Inspiration Point, toward the end of the hike. The menu was spartan - beef jerky, granola bars, and bottled water (bring two or three liters). But the entertainment was hard to beat: A pair of golden eagles soared along the cliffs that line the summit ridge, their shrieks echoing off the mountain's stone faces. There are no railings here so keep a tight grip on small children.

Would you go back? Absolutely. Reports from other hikers suggest spring may be the best time - the wildflowers put on quite a show. In the summer, allow time after the end of your trek to cool your feet in the Pacific at Leo Carrillo State Park.

Where have you been? What did you do? Let us know at: Weekend

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