I’m frequently reminded of how much I love living in Southern California. One recent reminder was being outpaced while heading south on the 5 near San Onofre by a 70-plus-year-old woman driving a black vintage convertible Volkswagon. Pushing 85 m.p.h. I still couldn’t catch her. A week before, I was also reminded while on an amazing hike at the Charmlee Wildnerness Park in Malibu. While having all of the benefits of city life, I’m occasionally surprised by just how close we live to some pretty amazing natural environments. Together with our new friends Jason and Kylee, we piled in the car and made our way an hour north along the PCH. The visit was a first for all of us, though Erinn had previously raved about her excursion at the nearby Point Mugu State Park, just a few miles north from our spot. I had read good reviews of the views from this spot, but we weren’t expecting much as we had nothing but overcast skies on the way there. However, as we ascended to the parking area, we found ourselves rising above the cloud layer, giving us an unusual combination of sunshine and a point of view from above the clouds. And so we hiked in the sunshine, encountering along the way a variety of wildlife, including the peculiar desert headstanding beetle and a crazy dive-bombing hummingbird that repeatedly rose to 30 feet above a bush, then swooped down on it before suddenly pulling out of the dive while simultaneously letting out a single, shrill chirp. Your guess is as good as mine, but I’m thinking something was either intruding on his bush, or he was trying to impress a lady. We made our way through a long meadow and past fields of blooming wildflowers before coming to a pretty amazing overlook of nothing but clouds and shoreline mountains, where we watched a pretty amazing sunset. Following that, we made our way back, catching the moonrise along the way. The outing was a great reminder that we don’t have to go all the way to Joshua Tree to see some pretty amazing views.