Are you curious about the things, the buildings, the nature, the history of the area through which you walk, yet you find yourself continuing to ask: I wonder when that house that looks different than the others on the street was built—without ever finding out the answer to your question?
On our first EW EPIC, 134 miles from Los Angeles to San Diego, going by such interesting and historic places as the Long Beach Aquarium, passing through surf beach towns where the elite of Los Angeles and tourists from around the world have been vacationing for a century, we all of us began to feel that every day looked exactly the same. One more idyllic beach, yet one more cozy little town with local bookstores and homemade ice cream shops. Oh, don’t worry, we surely had a great time day by day.
But at the end, Bonnie and I were determined on our next EPIC to have a docent tell us all at the beginning of each day at least just a little bit about the sites we’d be passing each of the seven days.
First, there was Boston to Port Elizabeth, Maine. You can probably imagine the rich history along that route, from the historic Boston Public Library to the witch-hunt square of Salem, MA.
Then there was White Rock, Canada, to Seattle and we heard each morning some flavor about some of the fishing towns and of course about art and music and tech background spots in Seattle.
Our last EPIC, from Philadelphia to Washington D.C., brought daily history delights, such as Baltimore’s dazzling Peabody Library. We even went against the grain of our usual walking in a fairly straight line each day, in and out of each town, to do the first day as a circle around the historic sites of Philly and the last day a circle around D.C., including a special walk through Arlington’s National Cemetery and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
On a smaller experience level, I used to take my dogs for a walk on a California beach called Carbon Canyon Beach. It’s a mile and a half long so we would walk and frolic up and back.
But one day a woman came down from her deck and walked the entire stretch with me. She had been living there since the early 1950s and was a wonderful story-teller. She pointed out the shack-looking little dive where evidently Janis Joplin and her buddies partied till dawn in the 60s. She pointed out the David Geffen house and recounted the lawsuit against Geffen, which ended in the judge being so outraged by his audacity to demand that nobody be able to walk on the sand between his house and the ocean that she declared the entire beach dog friendly.
There was the house of former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Reardon, built by an architect that copied the East-coast style of the Hamptons. I enjoyed my walks along that beach so much more, knowing all about the history of the people who lived there through the years.
I so much enjoy having some knowledge of my walk surroundings that I’ll often stop someone leaving their home to ask about the history of the neighborhood. And I won’t say I go so far as to delve into anthropological history of nature areas but I do try to ask around a town as to when those trees might have been planted, or if that mountain-top is now covered with less snow than in previous eras. I often walk past the La Brea Tar Pits here. There are statues of Mammoths in the pits. You just can’t walk by a multi-ton Mammoth and not wonder when those magnificent animals actually called this Los Angeles area their home. Yes, 13’ high, 6-ton mammoths, some 10-50,000 years ago roamed the very paths where we now order iced macchiatos. WHAAAAAT?
If you wonder about trees and flowers and birds and other animals that you come across on your walks, you probably know that you can jump onto the EW App go to our Nature Club. Our erudite, curious, and ever-knowing naturalist Mel Grosvenor is at the ready to explain in delicious detail just what you’re observing out there. Just post a picture and PRESTO, you won’t wait long before Mel has come back to you with all you’ll want to know about that moment in nature you’ve observed.
Probably just like you, sometimes I like to zone out and simply walk with my eyes glazed into the blue sky above, deep in thought, or choosing to dip into a pleasant reverie. But more often than not, just like you, my walk would be richer knowing more about what I’m passing.