Surviving Dog Days requires recreational water activities

| July 28, 2022 | 0 Comments

COOPER CANYON FALLS in the local San Gabriel Mountains.

One of my favorite movies, “Sahara,” stars Humphrey Bogart and is about a ragtag tank battalion astray in the vast Libyan Desert during World War II. Bogie plays Sgt. Joe Gunn, whose crew makes a last stand defending a ruined fortress that contains the only well for a hundred miles. Like a Los Angeles summer, the Libyan Desert sizzles. German soldiers arrive hell-bent on capturing the fortress, but Bogie and company prove not so easy to remove. Eventually the thirst-racked marauders, realizing force won’t work, decide to surrender. The most unforgettable scene is of them marching, hands up, dusty and moaning from thirst, toward Bogie and the bombed-out fortress.

Gimme some water

The sultry and scorching part of summer — Dog Days — has arrived. This broiling stretch occurs during the period that Sirius, the dog star, rises with the sun (from July 3 to Aug. 11). I fried an egg on the asphalt once to show my son that during Dog Days, sunny-side up street eggs are possible outside the cartoon world.

So, what to do with the kids that doesn’t require playing fields and balls? For those folks lucky enough to have a swimming pool, Dog Days are easily manageable. I was impressed by the pools in the backyards of the homes along Wilshire Country Club’s perimeter. I covered the LPGA (Ladies Professional Golf Association) Dio Implant LA Open this past April, and I took the opportunity to peek through many fences. It reminded me much of the 1968 film, “The Swimmer,” starring Burt Lancaster. Lancaster portrays a wealthy suburbanite who visits friends several miles away, then swims home through a multitude of neighbors’ pools. I wouldn’t suggest this to anyone living along Wilshire Country Club. I noticed lots of dogs, and most were less than happy when I spied into their domains.

Pan Pacific has a great public pool, and it is where my son learned to swim. It was closed the summer immediately following COVID-19’s arrival, although the break gave Pan Pac the opportunity to repair and overhaul the facility. The pool now is open seven days a week, is well-staffed with lifeguards and the fee is practically non-existent. Adults 18-49 are $4, and everyone else is $1. The entrance and parking lot are located at 141 S. Gardner St.

Cooper Canyon Falls

One of the greatest baseball films, “The Sandlot,” is set in the San Fernando Valley. This classic is about a neighborhood pick-up baseball team. In one scene, the boys are collected in the dugout’s shade, wilted from the summer heat. Nobody wants to practice, so they convince the team captain, Benny, that an afternoon at the public pool is a better option. The next scene is unforgettable, and is one I won’t ruin for those who haven’t seen “The Sandlot” yet.

Had Benny and his pals been old enough to drive, a local mountain destination might have been chosen.
Cooper Canyon Falls is our all-time favorite hike. It’s in the nearby mountains, and it is never crowded. From the 210 Freeway, exit in La Cañada and drive north up the Angeles Crest Highway for 37.5 miles past the Mt. Waterman ski lifts to the Buckhorn Campground. Follow the road to a small parking lot. The trail is a moderate hike through pristine wilderness. Pine and cedar forests reach overhead as the trail follows the Cooper Canyon Creek. It’s hard to believe that a major city is so close. After 45 minutes, you will arrive at the waterfall and collecting pool. Trout drift in the shadows, and the water is absolutely refreshing, especially during our Dog Days. Take lunch, swim suits and plenty of drinking water.

By Jim Kalin

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Category: Entertainment

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