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Altadena's Mid-Winter Heat Wave

Since it has been too warm for baking and sweaters this year, the author has found a new way to enjoy her February.

Winter and I, we have a deal.  For three months of the year, I can sock away all the brownies, French bread and butter my little heart desires. And oxtail stew, biscuits and gravy.  Hazelnut chocolate, cream soups, peanuts, almonds, lasagna, and cheese of all colors from all countries. 

Why? Because when it’s winter -- cold and rainy – a trench coat or that woolen muumuu I call a sweater can hide a multitude of calories.

Who’s to know that under all the fabric -- coats and sweaters and scarves -- there’s suddenly so much more of me to love.  As for the zipper on my jeans -- who’s to know what a painful trek it takes to reach the summit. Who’s to know the zipper may even stop trying, midway.

Come spring, I’ll pay dearly for the follies of winter, and get back to rabbit food and serious hiking and running again. But it’s really no worse than all the other spring chores --  weeding, taxes.

This year, though,  something has gone awry. An agreement has been broken. I don’t want to be a snitch, let’s just say, I didn’t break it.  I came skipping out to meet winter, bearing carrot cake with cream cheese frosting, but winter did not come to meet me. Not even half way.

It’s been like summer around here, not sweater-weather, not even tie-a-sweatshirt-around-your-hips weather. My zipper and I find ourselves very much exposed, stuck between a rock and a soft place.

Thank you very much, global warming. As if melting the polar icecaps wasn’t bad enough.

Which brings me to the point of this piece. If you find yourself in the same boat (heavy heart, hips, or whatever), then scoot over -- I mean, really, scoot over and give a body some room. Because I’m going to share a secret weapon that I usually save until March

Meet Cardiac Hill. The widow-maker. A half-hour walk that’s guaranteed to melt all the places where chocolate and mashed potatoes come home to roost.

You can find Cardiac at the intersection of Rubio Canyon Drive and Rubio Crest. It’s an unforgiving hill at a 30 to 45 degree angle.  And just to give you some idea how tough this little trek might be, I’ve been walking  or slowly, slowly jogging it (so slowly it feels I’m running backwards) for three years now and  only met one other person doing the same.  When I call friends on the phone to join me, they claim a sudden engagement, or just hang up.

But then, they don’t realize there’s more than vanity at stake.

At the top of Cardiac Hill, you get a big reward. I’m honestly not sure what I see on a clear day, but I think Palos Verdes Peninsula and maybe even Catalina Island. And  sunsets to die for.

The benefits of all the huffing and puffing can’t be counted in the inches you lose. Well, of course they can, else I wouldn’t go through this pain.

But best of all are the miles – miles and miles of breathtaking views just waiting for you. Altadena—top of the world.

Alison Johnson February 07, 2012 at 05:39 PM
Um, is this the street loop (Rubio Crest, Pleasantridge, Rubio Vista) or the apparent driveway that's located next to the wash? Trying to locate the site visually on Google Maps before going exploring, as I usually exercise in the very early morning and don't want to trespass!
Karin Bugge February 07, 2012 at 05:56 PM
You're safe, it's the loop. And at the top of the loop, you can also go off-roading, take the trail to the falls, if you're ambitious.
Mumu Sue February 07, 2012 at 07:14 PM
I agree, a <a href="http://www.mumu.us">mumu</a> now, but you'll regret it in the spring.
Lisa Maiorana February 07, 2012 at 08:26 PM
I love to watch all the new mommy's going up all the great hills around our area (pushing our little strollers) w/tots in tow saying to themselves under their breath...."must lose the baby weight, must lose the baby weight"......not that I ever did that - lol ;) great story Karin - & lovely pic
doris finch February 08, 2012 at 01:02 AM
Think of winter fat as biological necessity. Why do those fat-encased sausages clled marine mammals wrap themselves in so much blubber? Because by and large, the water they live in is COLD! So cheese and pie is your way of dealing with the icy Southern California winters, then onward and upward around the Loop! As for your friend, what is a little hill to Albert, the Roof-walking Dog? Upward mobility is definitely his way of life.
Lisa Maiorana February 08, 2012 at 01:32 AM
@ Doris - you are too funny, I did a blog on this once about Cavemen and the old store fat thing too bad it doesn't work for us in this day and age. Let's face it, we can give ourselves excuses to eat unhealthy and pack on the pounds but at the end of the day it's still unhealthy. So here's to walking dem' hills! ;)
Karin Bugge February 08, 2012 at 01:48 AM
Lisa, I too have nothing but respect for the new moms jogging with strollers. Doris, you won't believe it, but by the time we reach the top of the hill, Terrible Albert has turned into Saint Albert.
Natalie February 08, 2012 at 03:18 AM
Albert looks like he's had enough in one of your photos. Oh no, not another hill in this heat ...can I go home? I used to live near the top of a steep hill. I could eat anything I wanted provided I walked down it once a day for groceries, and then back up with my bags. Some of my friends took taxis home, and the pounds piled on.
Petrea Burchard February 08, 2012 at 03:24 AM
You are a good girl, Karin. A very good girl. You deserve a treat!
Ron Rosen February 08, 2012 at 04:22 AM
I wonder if my car can make it up that hill?
Susan Campisi February 08, 2012 at 07:23 AM
The weather over the weekend was gorgeous but it's really kind of creepy how little rain we've had. I think you took Lou and me on that loop. We were both huffing and puffing to keep up with you.
Kathy February 08, 2012 at 08:36 PM
Ummmmm...can you drive there???

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