2014_thankyouDearest LA Trail Hikers,

Congratulations on being part of another amazing LATH hiking season! It’s been a great one, and I’m glad you were all part of it from January, or sometime later in the year. The advocacy for bringing people out to experience, learn about, and understand the needs of nature has continued to thrive through this group. Even though the year has come to a close, we have many achievements to recognize.

fbprofile_blue_5thThis year marked the group’s fifth year anniversary of its foundation, and it’s all thanks to each one of you that we have continued strong since August 17, 2009. When the group first started leading guided hikes, there wasn’t certainty that this little hiking group would be around beyond two years, but that didn’t stop it from moving forward and going beyond expectations. That’s five years of LA Trail Hikers on the trails of Greater Los Angeles!

grandcynThe group has had many great adventures in 2014. We had at least 160 hikes on the 2014 LATH itinerary. The first hike was on January 8th and the last hike was on December 10th. However, along with these hikes came some great side adventures. In March, we traveled to Nevada and took a Road Trip Hike exploring trails at Valley of Fire State Park. March also allowed some LATH volunteers to do some garden maintenance in Amir’s Garden at Griffith Park. In April, in collaboration with the LA Trail Bikers, we participated in the Relay For Life event in the City of Commerce. In June we participated in the National Trails Day and it also brought in the new LATH Digital Team volunteers. In August, we had the LATH Annual Beach Party and celebrated LATH’s 5th year anniversary the next day. Also in August, a few volunteers represented LATH at Yosemite to help raise funds for NatureBridge. October was a highly anticipated month where we went to Arizona to take a Road Trip Hike to the Grand Canyon. It was something we had wanted to do for years, but finally came to fruition. November took a few volunteers back to Yosemite for a second chance at helping NatureBridge in raising funds. Overall, the additional ventures did help many hikers experience new areas and activities they may have not visited or done in the past. If you were able to join us on any of these, I hope the memories will stay warm in your hearts.

lath4In the years that the group has been around, we’ve have had volunteers whose commitment and dedication help the group be what it is.

This year brought in new volunteers to help us on the digital end. The LATH Digital Team arose in June. They’ve been quite active on our social media accounts and have been updating our followers with hike updates and other types of hiking related posts. It seems that more and more people find us because of these efforts and get them hiking with us, or simply inspired to continue the activity themselves. Although this team puts in their own time and their own posts/updates, they do so in a seamless way to represent one voice, the LATH voice of the online hiking community. I want to take this opportunity to recognize all our Digital team members for doing what they do behind the scenes to keep everyone up to date on the happenings of the group.

lath1And, when talking about the group’s volunteers, we certainly note the folks that lead the group’s hikes, the LATH Hike Leads. Without them, there would be no hiking component to the group. They are the ones taking care of, encouraging, and leading hikers on adventures throughout the year. They are one of the core pieces to the success of the LA Trail Hikers. They are hikers with a passion to help others.

Included in this year’s message, a few of our volunteers were able to send some season-ending messages just for you:

“I wish everyone in this great organization the happiest of holidays and the merriest of New Years! Can’t wait to see y’all on the trail and in Zion in 2015!”
Peter Flanigan, LATH Digital Team

“It has been a pleasure to hike and lead you all this past year. Hope you all enjoyed the trails along with the many laughs we shared! Thank you again for a great year.. looking forward to an even better hiking year in 2015!! Happy Trails and Happy New year!”
Janiece Cordova, LATH Hike Lead

“2014 was an amazing year. I hiked beautiful, scenic trails, got to go on exciting road trips, and made many wonderful friendships. I want to wish all of you LA Trail Hikers a happy and blessed 2015. I’m looking forward to hitting the trails with you all.”
Caesar Estrada, LATH Digital Team

“To all the hikers who joined us in 2014 I hope you enjoyed your experience with LATH. It is my honor to be able to be a hike leader for LATH. I have met so many wonderful people and shared some great experiences this year. I’ve seen beginner hikers become more advanced hikers and many lifelong friendships formed. It is always wonderful to see and be a part of many memorable experiences. Here is to many more in 2015!”
Diana Herrera, LATH Hike Lead

“This has been an awesome year for me. I feel so blessed to have met so many wonderful people through LATH. Many have inspired me to challenge myself and do things that I didn’t think was physically possible a year ago. I have become more active and living a healthier lifestyle since joining LATH. For that I thank everyone of you whom I’ve met and hope to meet. Let us continue to inspire each other in the coming year.”
Linh Le, LATH Digital Team

“It has been a pleasure and a privilege to be a hike lead for what I consider a great group of people. What you all should know is that being a hike lead is a two-way street and I get so much back just from all the wonderful people I have met, friends, and truly amazing people that make up our group. Thank you all for the opportunity to participate and give back. Have a fantastic coming year and best of wishes to all.”
Sylvia Quinteros, LATH Hike Lead

“‘People do not decide to become extraordinary. They decide to accomplish extraordinary things.’ – Edmund Hillary
‘Take Action – Be Extraordinary’ – Tony Ramos”
Tony Ramos, LATH Hike Lead

I personally want to thank all of our volunteers for all the time they put into working with our hikers, each other, and me on helping make this one great hiking group. You are all very special for helping others ignite their passion for hiking and for making sure their fires stay lit.

 LATH Hike Leads  LATH Digital Team
 Irma Padilla  Peter Flanigan
 Sylvia Quinteros  Catherine Salgado
 Diana Herrera  Linh Le
 Tony Ramos  Busta Groove
 Janiece Cordova  Caesar Estrada
 Carol Martinez  Cindy Pena
 Jason Bazalar  Harvey Fiji
 Justine Orantes
 Laura Sardisco
 Alisa Barraza
 Patty Guerra
 Chris Lockett
 Lia Wong
 Jason Bazalar

lath2In 2014, the group came across many new hikers that became part of the long-standing hiking family that you have all helped us create. Hikers, old and new, continue showing lots of love for the group, and in return we get some awesome people joining in us on hikes. The LA Trail Hikers group is here because of you. So, this is my opportunity to thank each and everyone of you for being part of this group. For believing in it. And, for holding it such high regard. I hope that your experience with this group stays close to your heart. It is a lot of work, but in the end, your smiles make it all worth it.

On behalf of all the LATH volunteers (Hike Leads & Digital Team), thank you from the bottom of my heart for being part the LA Trail Hikers. And, I hope you have a great holiday season with family and friends, and look forward to joining the LA Trail Hikers in 2015!

My best to you,

Jason Bazalar
Founder | Organizer | Hike Lead | Digital Team
LA Trail Hikers