By Elaine Chiu
During the quarantine, being in nature has really benefited my mental health. It’s been a much needed source of relaxation and exploration for me. I’ve been to more parks and beaches during these past few months than I ever have. Now I know more about local parks in my area, and I appreciate public green space so much more. During quarantine, I also started reading and just hanging out at parks. It’s an opportunity for me to get fresh air, look at trees/scenery, disconnect from electronics, journal, have distanced hang-outs, and take a break from being at home!
My favorite of hiking Eaton Canyon was seeing the waterfall itself because this was my first time hiking the trail! It did look smaller than I originally thought, but I heard this area changes throughout the different seasons, so I want to check it out again another time.
Thanks to living near the trails in Altadena, I’ve been able to go hiking safely during this quarantine – on week nights and early mornings. I’ve seen a family of deer, rabbits, and even a bobcat. I’ve been able to notice the color of buckwheat turn from light pink in the spring – the beginning of quarantine – to a brighter pink and now a dark shade of red.
Over 15 million people live within 90 minutes of the San Gabriel Mountains (SGM). Additionally, 3.5 to 4 million people visit the SGM National Monument each year! Every experience in the SGM is different, so take a peak at the memories that other folx have created there.
Being pregnant in the middle of a pandemic was an interesting and challenging experience. My mental health was definitely tested when social interacting decreased and all my favorite places to go shut down. One thing that I was still able to do, though, was go outside and stay active with my dog, Kaya.