Even before moving to the Los Angeles area, I was familiar with hiking in mountainous state parks.
For one, I grew up in northwest Arkansas in the Ozark Mountains and frequented the Ozark National Forest.
My folks were raised in Russellville but moved to Dover after they finished school. This is a beautiful place to be raised in the southern midwest, especially considering my other family members that lived down the Mississippi delta did not have nearly as nice of an environment to be raised in. They were always impressed by the hilly countryside of the Ozarks because southeastern Arkansas is flat and full of farm lands. I figured that I would stay in the Ozarks forever, but it was my husband—then my college boyfriend—who dragged me to southern California with him after we finished graduate school in Little Rock. I was immediately impressed by the skyline and landscape of both the Los Angeles metropolitan area and the San Fernando Valley in particular. Just like the Ozarks, Los Angeles is littered with the Santa Monica Mountains on one end and the San Gabriel Mountain Range on the other end. We lived in a number of different places in this area before settling in the Tarzana neighborhood on the edge of Encino. We’re both avid cannabis users and love the large number of marijuana dispensaries within a few miles of our house in Tarzana. Thankfully the recreational cannabis taxes aren’t nearly as high in Tarzana as they are in places like West Hollywood and Oakland, but Los Angeles County isn’t exactly a haven for low cannabis tax rates, regardless of which neighborhood you reside in.