Different Side of Skyline

Very few personal challenges lie within the confines of Skyline, a hiking area around my inland-empire neighborhood. Once one hikes the designated trails and discovers the little differences, little interest is left in this area. While debating what activity to embark on with one of my best friends, we decide to take a trail I had not yet fully explored. I do not have a name for this trail, but I definitely didn’t follow it nor adhere to the boundaries. We came to find that this path held the life of this area that has not been seen in years. The drought in Southern California has stripped this area of unique beauty and life. Deeper and deeper into this trail, bat shelters, tadpoles and interesting rock placement began an intrigue. Eventually we came on the recognized ‘end point’ of this trail and kept going. A small dam held back the water that allowed for a trickle to fuel the miniscule creek that sustained life. This area, once far enough in, and shaded by the trees does not transform itself into a place of beauty, so much as an enchanted space to understand. Since this first experience, I have returned after a much needed rain and the area was full of life and the sound of running water made me think that everything is going to be ok, and skyline will prevail.

Photograph and content by Alex Rager

The Rope Trail

It’s about midnight and I am unable to sleep. I text my friend for added entertainment and end up convincing myself and him that a 4am hike up the notorious yet familiar ‘rope trail’ was a great way to start the weekend. I stumble out of bed before dawn to pick up my friend on about three hours of sleep. The moon guided us along the dusty main path in a hiking spot known as Skyline. We make our way through the trail on the lookout for the entrance. This concealed rabbit hole leads any who know of it into a fantastical path that is notorious in my area. This arduous hiking path is not for the faint of heart, for it requires bouldering, coordination and sometimes a miracle. Reach the top and you feel accomplished and alive while looking out into adjacent towns. At the peak we like to pick out our favorite spots, our high school, In-and-Out by the 15 freeway and the all too familiar traffic of the 91. Debatably harder than the ascent, is making your way down. There are two options, either go back down the way you came or go around, both equally sketchy. How we got through about a four hour hiking adventure on little sleep, without breakfast will always be a mystery but that hike will always be one of my favorite spontaneous adventures.

Photograph and content by Alex Rager