Sunday, March 22, 2009

Hike #4: Monrovia Canyon Park: Bill Cull Trail

Since I was going hiking with TB today, I decided to choose a trail that was a little farther into the woods than I would normally go alone. I wanted to see a waterfall, so I chose the Bill Cull Trail at Monrovia Canyon Park, which juts into the Angeles Forest. The trail starts out high above the canyon:

...before meandering around a pretty stream:

...and then ending up at the waterfall:

Along the mostly-shaded way, you are surrounded by a beautiful overgrown woodland with rocky canyon walls and lush greenery:

My favorite shot of the day:

Hike #3: South Coast Botanic Garden

Yesterday, I was in the South Bay for a christening, so since I was down there anyway, I decided to visit the South Coast Botanic Garden in Palos Verdes for an easy hike:

The photos I took focused on pattern and texture:

Reflected pattern:

The alien landscape-like White Floss Silk Tree:

Snowy cactus with berry-colored buds:

A little ladybug:

I tried not to take too many pictures of flowers since I think I did enough of that at Descanso, but I couldn't resist this one:

A lone calla lily amongst the deep green leaves.

On the way home, I took a detour to visit the Bluebird Cafe in Culver City, trying their chocolate and coconut cupcakes. They weren't bad, but they didn't crack my top 5. Someday, I'll get around to posting my cupcake rankings (along with the macaron ones.)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Hike #2: Lower Arroyo Seco

For the second hike, I wanted something easy but with lots of visual interest, so yesterday I chose the Lower Arroyo Seco Park Trail. I spent a lot of time taking pictures of bridges:

An abstraction:

A stab at black and white artsy-ness:

With the sun setting:

Golden light touching the arroyo (again, I'm a sucker for this kind of landscape):

And dappled on this quaint path up to the street (yes, it's a little Thomas Kinkade-ish, but it was gorgeous in person):

I was glad that I started this hike in the late afternoon, because the quality of the light was so beautiful. As such, it's my favorite time to take pictures. Instead of trying a new food place afterward, I actually went to Europane beforehand. Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to try their famous croissants, but I had a wonderful carved turkey sandwich on their olive bread along with a giant pistachio macaron, which had great cream filling, but was a little too chewy for my taste. I'll have to come back for the pain au chocolat.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Hike #1: Debs Park

Last week, I went to Debs Park in Highland Park for the first of my 60 hikes. After parking at the Audubon Center and deciding on my route, I ascended up the hill on the City View Trail (obviously named for its views of Downtown L.A.):

...which eventually led to a nice little pond at the top:

I wandered around a bit (I can't resist taking pictures of dappled light):

...before finally descending and checking out the LEED Platinum-rated Audubon Center (which my company worked on):

Overall, it was a good hike with several decent climbs to work out your calves. To reward myself afterward, I hung out in South Pasadena, eating a fantastic caprese sandwich at the Heirloom Bakery (see my tweets) and trying out the cupcakes at My Sweet Cupcake. Then, I went to the Pasadena Museum of California Art:

I've been wanting to go here for awhile, and though it is a small museum space, it does have its own charm. My favorite exhibit was of 3D images of Mars, courtesy of JPL and Caltech. After putting on the requisite specs, the Martian topography really popped out with the perspectives changing as I walked along the large prints.

Anyway, from one type of landscape to another, it was quite a full day!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

How I'm Going to Spend This Weekend (and at least 60 others)

Hiking endlessly beautiful trails (burning calories painlessly) + Eating amazingly good food (gaining calories happily) = Perfect Weekend Equilibrium

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Photo Excursion: Descanso Gardens

Yesterday, I finally made the drive up to La Canada to visit Descanso Gardens. Since I'd never been, I took the tram tour (which I recommend for a good overview), and afterwards, I walked around and took some pictures, mainly of flowers:
Cherry blossoms:Mini Daffodils (I love yellow flowers!):Lilac from the Lilac Garden:

The gardens are known mainly for their camellias, which are everywhere:

Probably my favorite part of the grounds, though, were the green grassy knolls punctuated by the wild, beautiful coast live oaks (very popular for film/photo shoots):

This is the kind of landscape I love. I got a taste of it while I was up in San Luis Obispo this past week, and now I'm planning an extended trip to the central coast for more.