Few people likely realize that just a few minutes’ drive from Los Angeles International Airport is an exquisite urban park. Kenny Hahn State Recreation Area is tucked between La Cienega Blvd and La Brea immediately south of Baldwin Hills and just north of Stocker. With a small lake, a stream, hiking trails and a spectacular view of Downtown LA from the top of a scenic overlook this spot is a hidden gem in the heart of a major city.
This is the neighborhood where I grew up. Here is where I started and it would seem that I only just got here. Despite a professional career dedicated to outdoor recreation and environmental conservation this is only my second visit to Kenny Hahn. Having driven past it thousands of times over the past 40 years I never realized that right in my own back yard was place where nature has been allowed to thrive and bring a little comfort to area residents so often caught up in the frantic pace of metropolitan life. And even though I’ve traveled over much of this great country I am constantly reminded that every journey begins precisely where you happen to be.
On assignment this week to write an essay for the Trust For Public Land magazine Land & People I made a stop at Kenny Hahn immediately from the airport. With my Tenkara fly rod in hand I walked the narrow path around Gwen Moore Lake to find a clear spot to cast. And as the shadows crew longer in late afternoon sun I stood on the shore in communion with the water and did what little I could to coax a fish to rise.
The moments I spent there in the quite eye of a bustling city I enjoyed a rare calm that many of us find missing. Slowed down to the pace of a gentle breeze, lapping water and the swaying branches of trees life takes on new meaning. Without the frenetic motion and constant pressure we impose upon ourselves to get somewhere sometimes it’s helpful to stop for a few minutes, take a deep breath and realize that wherever we are going we have already arrived.
This week I’m looking for urban green spaces in and around the Los Angeles area. Working my way along the path of the Los Angeles River I’m especially seeking out places near or around bodies of water. Please be in touch if you have suggestions. Share your stories or images on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter #LARiverExpedition
And another Joy Trip begins.
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