I first met RaggedyCrow in 1996 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Since then, we’ve been friends, married, divorced, and each gone through what feels like a million incarnations, but we’ve had each other’s backs for almost 20 years. It was such a pleasure to visit one of his favorite local spots in Southern California for the first time, the South Hills Preserve!

Name / Trail Name: Everett Smith / RaggedyCrow

What’s your primary activity on public lands? Opting outside: hiking, walking, running,  camping

What do you do when you’re not adventuring? I’m a childhood cancer advocate and activist… a philanthropic adventurer, runner, and hiker.

Why is Hulda Crooks and the South Hills Preserve special to you? Hulda Crooks has seasonal appeal; when it’s green, it’s plush and amazingly beautiful. There are so many stunning 360˚ views, and the number of trails and off-shoots seem endless. Shared with bicycles, horses, and wild mules, it seems there’s always a new little trail to find. Then in the brown season, it offers a desert-like course of hills and sandy trails to test the best runners, walkers, or day hikers. Green or brown, it’s an amazing place with wildlife and plants, and hills, oh my!

When did you first learn about this space? I think I Googled the place first, and it’s been an exploration ever since. I’m talking years out there and I’m still often given something new to fall in love with.

Any other favorite spots you recommend? I would say that Morton Peak in the San Bernardino mountains is a favorite spot. Good training for vertical gains and views for days from the fire lookout tower. And there is access to the Santa Ana River Trail and forest roads in the area that will give you many miles of solitude!