Broke on spring break? Find the adventure in our city

The author (left) with buddies Christian Rivera, Marc Constantino, and Christian Manio. TheFilamLA Photo

The author (left) with buddies Christian Rivera, Marc Constantino, and Christian Manio. TheFilamLA Photo

By Lawrence C. Ochoa

At the local university I attend, I find that most students cannot afford to go on a trip for spring break. No Cabo San Lucas, No Panama. Even “nearby” Mexico was just impractical to go for margaritas, fun and sun for a week!

Maybe some students who can afford to go on a trip took to Vegas, but for those of us below 21, that is hardly an option.

With many still on parental allowance or the measly part-time pay, we look forward to spending spring break in local hang-outs.

After all, this is spring time in California. There were openings for exciting local outdoors recreation. From scouring the beachfront for some tanning, fly surfing to bicycling the scenic routes of the wilderness.

For me and my friends, hiking was the premier center for spring break excitement. The leisurely pace of hiking brings out the most thoughtful activities from a group of individuals. It’s not too strenuous, but it does require a concerted active lifestyle to follow through.

Instead of gallivanting through the nightlife, or engaging in pricy dining, hiking is another substantial social catalyst for people to grow closer together.

The circumstances of overcoming nature’s challenges can strengthen the bonds of companions with shared achievement. It’s a cheap alternative for those with a tight budget (not to say, no budget), as it only requires exercise clothing that you already own, and you never have to pay a fee to participate in. By that definition, it’s a desirable option.

This past Monday, I had gone to a well-regarded hiking trail in the Hollywood Hills called the Runyon Canyon, with a couple of friends. This area is part of the Santa Monica mountains where the highest point is at an elevation of 1,320 ft (402 m), known as Indian Rock. It is close to the residential areas of Hollywood where celebrity sightings are common.

Runyon Canyon Park is one of the most popular hiking destinations in Los Angeles and often shows up on publishers’ lists of best hikes in L.A.

Christian Manio, 19, from Cal State Northridge had some reservations prior to running the actual route.

“Before I had even considered going up Runyon, I was very intimidated by the scale of the hill, because I hadn’t been hiking for many years; to even think about tackling this immersive hill range seems overwhelming in itself,” he said.

However, despite the slight anxieties of our group, we decided to trek on excitedly toward the enormous mountain range. As part of the said excitement, we had taken necessary precautions of warming up, and stretching out to prepare us for the rigorous task of hiking up and down the canyon.

Marc Constantino, 19, of Mission Hills said it had been “overwhelming since it was a steep hill that prevented some quick progress going up to the peak; even throughout the descent, it was tense, since I had to be extra cautious so that I did not slip from the incline. Overall though, despite the difficulties, I thought that it was a rewarding experience especially because of the broad breathtaking view of Los Angeles city skyline.”

The rest of spring break was what we have been content on “staycation,” spent lazing about the beaches in local spots like Santa Monica, Ventura and Malibu.

We didn’t even miss what adventure it would have been in places like Puerto Rico or the risqué charm of Cancun.

Santa Monica Beach. TheFilAmLA photo by Tet Valdez

Santa Monica Beach. TheFilAmLA photo by Tet Valdez

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