Trade Offs

July 25, 2017

Posted: June 23, 2016, 12:38pm

As I once again graced the beautiful rolling mountains of Angeles National Forest this weekend, record high temperatures swept across all of Southern California. Luckily, our campsite was exempt from such conditions because of the higher altitude and shady area of Buckhorn Campground, about 40 miles north of Azusa on Angeles Crest Highway 2. I’ve written about camping before; my position hasn’t changed since the last: I strongly commend you to head for the woods! But wait – before you do, you may want to double check that the woods aren’t on fire.

Driving back from the forest on Sunday afternoon, I noticed a little puff of black smoke northeast of Glendale on the “civilized” (read: traffic) part of the 2, just after emerging back into cell-phone range after that last bending curve of the Crest highway. Just as I arrive back home in DTLA I notice a breaking news alert from the LA Times: highway 2 is closed due to an San Gabriel apartment fire.

Another fire burned the very next day: known as the Reservoir Fire. This was even closer to home, so to speak. A car crash, with enough damage to leave one dead, started a fire that spread and eventually burned through 4900 acres of Angeles National Forest, where I lay my head only hours before. We weren’t *that* close to the fire that burned mostly through highway 39, but too close for comfort. A day late and 10 miles of forest separating us.

The best of times, the worst

I suppose the only way I know how to frame these stories is through the juxtaposition of lenses through which Angelenos must view their fair city. During the time of this writing, I received another breaking news alert speaking of a panel of experts concluding that Los Angeles is woefully underprepared for an earthquake (“the big one”) which would lead to city-wide catastrophe.

Angelenos don’t spend the day-to-day worrying about the earthquakes, the wildfires, or any of the other trade offs of living in the most beautiful place in the country. Yet these are the headlines that make it across the country, marketing our city as dangerous, unlivable, constantly stressful (okay – the traffic part is a bit stressful, we’ll admit). Is this picturesque, postcard-worthy sprawling metropolis that is complete with sandy beaches, amazing attractions, bountiful food venues, and our own national park worth the trade offs? You decide. Meanwhile, I’ll be looking for a new campground.

Published on July 25th, 2017

Last updated on August 10th, 2017