Local Blogger Spotlight: David Lockeretz of Nobody Hikes in LA

Descent From Ladyface Mountain, by David Lockeretz of Nobody Hikes in LA

I am happy to introduce a new monthly feature here on Agoura Hills Mom – the Local Blogger Spotlight!  (I couldn’t think of a kickier title for this.  Let me know if you have any better ideas.) I’ll be helping us all get to know the people behind the online resources you might be using all the time, or introducing you to those you should know about.

It is my honor to have David Lockeretz, intrepid hiker, photographer, and note-taker, appear in this space as the very first subject of this series.  I have never met David in person, but since I started following his blog, Nobody Hikes in LA, years ago (it is one of the few that I actually subscribe to because I have such big dreams of hiking more often) we have connected through the internets and I have found him and his blog to be very helpful.  Read on to find out how he does it, why he does it, and what he has against strawberries.

Why did you start Nobody Hikes in LA?

I was trying to create the site that I would have wanted when I first got into hiking. I wanted each post to be as comprehensive as possible, and I wanted to provide information about as many different hiking trails as possible. I’ve always been into writing and photography, and the blog provided a great outlet for both. I’ve also enjoyed sharing my hiking experiences with my friends, and through the blog I’ve connected with new people too (present company included.)

How often do you hike?

As often as I can – usually at least once a week, sometimes three or four times.

What’s the farthest hike that you have considered to still be “in” LA?

I’ve done some that are pretty far from L.A. One of my favorites is Garnet Peak in southeastern San Diego County, in the Laguna Mountains. It’s at least a three hour drive from L.A. but it’s a great hike, so I recommend making the trip. I’ve also covered a few in the San Jacinto and San Gorgonio Mountains, which are two hours east of L.A., and a few up in the Santa Barbara area. If a hike is really good, it’s worth making the trip.

How do you remember all the details of the hike so that you can write about it when you get back? Do you take notes, or rely on your photos?

Usually I take a bunch of pictures, and I’ve also used an app called Every Trail that’s available for Droid and iPhone. You can use it to track your hike, including elevation, and you can upload it to the Every Trail web site. You can also download other peoples’ hikes. Many of the hikes I’ve done are also written up on other blogs, or in guidebooks, so I can refer to them for notes.

Sandstone Peak @ Dusk

Can you share some of your favorite places to hike in or near Agoura Hills? Why are they favorites?

Sandstone Peak, which is the highest point in the Santa Monica Mountains, is absolutely phenomenal.  It’s got everything – ocean views, geology, canyons, mountains, woodlands – and it’s challenging,  but not too difficult.  A good hike right near Agoura Hills is Ladyface, which you can see from the 101 Freeway at Kanan Road.  There’s a lot of off-trail scrambling on that one, and the descent can be pretty nerve-wracking – there are a few spots that are nearly vertical, or at least it seems that way.  But the views from the top are great.  Paradise Falls near Thousand Oaks is another good one.  It’s a year round waterfall in Wildwood Park.

Paradise Falls

What about places to avoid? Trails that are badly maintained or are considered dangerous for some reason?

I really don’t think there are any BAD trails – I don’t recall ever going on a hike and feeling as if I’d rather be at work, or thinking afterward, “Gee, I should have stayed home and watched TV instead.” I do think that to enjoy a hike, you have to know what you’re getting into, which is why I provide a lot of information on my site. The first time I tried Black Star Canyon Falls, which is a very popular waterfall in Orange County, I didn’t prepare accordingly. I didn’t make it to the waterfall, and I got poison oak. When I returned, I knew better what I was getting into, and I avoided the poison oak and made it to the waterfall. There are a lot of factors into picking the right hike, such as difficulty level, season, and challenges such as navigation or rough terrain. If you plan well, you’re likely to have an enjoyable experience.

What would a casual reader of NHiLA be surprised to know about you?

That I originally moved to L.A. to pursue music. I still play in a few bands, and teach music lessons, and have recorded a bunch of stuff, but I’ve come to realize that hiking is really what I love to do. Also: I hate strawberries. I mean, seriously hate them. I react to strawberries the same way that I do when I go to a public bathroom and the person before me didn’t flush. I don’t like avocados either, which I realize is sacrilege when you live in California. On the other hand, I really like beer, especially India Pale Ales. In fact, I’m probably going to start a blog about IPAs in the near future.

Well, if Nobody Drinks IPAs in LA pops up, dear readers, you can bet I’ll be letting you know about it here! And of course I took this opportunity to educate David about Ladyface Alehouse for a great post-hike watering hole.  

All photos courtesy of David Lockeretz, who has a pretty amazing gallery of photos for sale (and a calendar, too!) at his site.  Drop by Nobody Hikes in LA and check out David’s great trail recaps at locations all around us in Agoura Hills!  And tell him Agoura Hills Mom sent you!