For those days when you crave nothing less than swapping your spare urban stoop for Walden Pond, you may just discover that settling for a trip to Redwood Park in the Montclair hills will do the trick. (And you won't have any explaining to do to your friends/family/boss, either.) Pick any of the three dusty trails that meander off from the parking lot at the Skyline Gate Staging Area (where you'll find bathrooms and a water fountain, too, assets not to be underrated) and you'll soon cross a variety of smaller trails. Eucalyptus, Tres Sendas, Starflower, Chown — they're lovely names to roll around on your tongue as you challenge your quads to a wilderness workout they won't soon forget. Turn down any route on a whim and, soon enough, you'll find yourself reveling in the lush redwood forests that unfold in a landscape Thoreau might have happily called home. Meander through the valley, stumble across a pack of ladybugs or a lone horseback rider, and then head back up into the hills. Not sure how to get back? A map makes a good companion, though the true joy lies in not quite knowing the way — until finally, as you come 'round that bend, you do.
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