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Unleashed in Westridge-Canyonback Wilderness Park
My Aunt has a dog who loves to walk. He's a six year old mutt with a lot of border collie in him. He does not play fetch. He does not run around the dog run with other dogs. He just walks. His name is Earl.

Earl and I get along well because I will take him for long walks on trails. Earl will stay with me on the trail and come to me when I call. He doesn't care about snakes, horses, or other dogs. Occasionally, he might smell a smell, but he is an excellent trail hiker.

One of our favorite trails is in the Westridge-Canyonback Wilderness Park at the end of Mullholland Drive west of the 405 freeway. You can bring a dog off-leash as long as he/she is under voice control and you clean up after him/her preferably with a bio-degradable plastic bag. When the smog is low, there are great views of LA's vast urban sprawl including the San Fernando Valley and Downtown.


You can also walk to an abandoned cold war missile complex in San Vicente Mountain Park less than a mile from the parking lot, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

Recently, Earl and I went up to Westridge-Canyonback and also to the Missile Silo. It was a clear February day. The smog wasn't bad. I actually remembered to bring a camera.


We walked a mellow walk. There weren't any puppies that so enthusiastically wanted to be friends that they were pulling their owners on the leash. There weren't uncertain dog owners who worry that Earl will attack their little dog (he won't). There weren't too many bikes speeding down the downhills and huffing and puffing up the uphills. We could just chill and walk.

We walked past burned out trees and a golf course. We took some trails over hills. We took water breaks and walked some more. We took the road to the missile silo in San Vicente Mountain Park.

After 8/10th of a mile (according to sign), we arrived at LA96C, formerly a Nike Missile Control Site during the 1950s and 1960s. During the Cold War, LA96C was one of sixteen missile sites that protected Los Angeles from Soviet bombers.


By the end of the 1960s, both the US and Soviet Union had developed bigger missiles, so LA96C became a park not for peaceful reasons. It simply became obsolete.

Earl and I stopped for another water break before heading back to the car. He curled up in the backseat for a nap as I faced 405 traffic. If I could only teach that dog how to drive. . .

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