so. very. beautiful.

On a random Tuesday, I took a drive out to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley. It was a great experience and your political affiliation or feelings about Reagan aside, it's a great stop for anyone visiting Southern California. 

After touring the Library, I decided to see what hiking trails were in the area by searching with the All Trails app...again. It is a great app/tool to have.  I scrolled through some of the options around Simi Valley and as soon as I saw the word, "Falls," I was sold.

Paradise Falls is a trail within the Wildwood Regional Park, a nearly 1800 acre park in Thousand Oaks, CA. I started the hike on the Moonridge Trail, which leads to Paradise Falls, and nature simply exploded and took over. From catching small details in flowers and cacti to large vistas of mountains, it was pretty breathtaking: 

I'm really thankful to God for photography and the way it's changed me. Through Him and through the art, I've realized a source of life. I genuinely get a high, spiritually and emotionally just from light and I give credit to God for that. I've sincerely reached a place in life where just looking at the way light hits a mountainside, seeing the texture of the land, makes me happy: 

Notice that outcropping of rock on the right-hand side of the following photo. It will reoccur and feel like a character towards the end of the set:

Hiding bunny:

Along the way, you run into Tee Pee Trail which will eventually get you to the Falls. It's pretty self explanatory, and someone set up a nice little hammock underneath to pass the hours away:

Undoubtedly after more winding and descending you come face to face with Paradise Falls: 

Here's an image with two hikers resting on the hill to the side of the falls to give you a sense of scale. Not the most massive waterfall, but still fun and impressive: 

I keep running into this on trails and I like it. Hikers leaving their mark:

After leaving the Falls you are still on Tee Pee Trail and circle back around for about another 1/4 mile before heading east back up. Along the way there were plenty more sunbathed views:

You reach a point on the way back where you can see the Falls again and get a nice long distance overview shot:

More sun streams and pockets of light:

Tee Pee Trail will eventually give you the option to head back to the parking lot via Moonridge Trail, or head a little further north to Mesa Trail. Of course, explore new territory. I'll be honest, because it was very flat and plateaued, I did not think there'd be much to enjoy along Mesa, but I was very incorrect: 

I have no idea why I got a kick out of this guy's shirt being green. Almost camouflage, but not really: 

I can't say I've ever had a photoshoot where grass is the main subject, but in this case, it took center stage. California? or Ireland? Gorgeous views on Mesa Trail: 

Facing away from the sun, towards the end of the path, some softer light revealed some more colorful scenes:

Incredible impromptu hike with spectacular views. I highly recommend Wildwood Canyon Park and its trails. 

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