Los Angeles

Mandeville Canyon Loop Trail

This is a hike we did quite a few times, for the views and/or the exercise: The Mandeville Canyon Loop Trail. (No photo album, just three photos, all shown here.) Photos taken in February 2013.
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Westwood Cemetery

Hidden between huge buildings on a busy street just a mile south of UCLA is a luscious green cemetery called The Pierce Brothers Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery. An official Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument, it is the final resting place of some famous people (Don Knotts, Rodney Dangerfield, Marilyn Monroe…) and some interesting-sounding civil war veterans. Who knew? (more…)

Bradbury Building

I did jury duty in 2012 (Aside: It was a truly painful experience, and not because performing my civic duty was bad in itself but because I was appalled and, frankly, frightened by the lack of basic reasoning skills displayed by not just the THIRTY-some people who were rejected in front of me, but by the people who made the cut with me, as well. But this is not the blog for such things.) and I wanted to make the most of being required to drive to downtown LA more than once. On a stranger’s advice, I checked out the Bradbury Building [Los Angeles Conservancy | Wikipedia | Yelp | googlemaps], and it was quite beautiful inside there! Especially the skylights. (more…)

Skink in the Backyard

I almost accidentally ran this cutie over with the push mower! Thank goodness I didn’t. This is my first time catching a skink. She/he was really calm (for a while), soft and smooth, snake-like in appearance and worm-like in how she/he moved, and had a really long tail that seemed to be prehensile! You can see a few more photos of the skink here. Photos taken in May of 2014. All rights reserved.

Note: I guess this may not technically count as “travel,” but I’ll hope you’ll permit me to post photos of cute wildlife no matter where I find it.

Tongva Park (Santa Monica)

We were VERY impressed with this brand new, colorful park (Tongva Park) in Santa Monica, California, which we stumbled across without having heard anything about its construction. Check out the rest of my photos of it, or read it about it on wikipedia or yelp. Extra kudos to the city for making the entire park smoke-free! Photos taken in April 2014.

Lake Balboa / the duckaversary

Lived in LA for six years before discovering this little gem, Lake Balboa. It’s exactly how I like my lakes: Full of ducks! We had our five year anniversary there—which we decided is the year of the duck, or duckaversary. Click the ducks (or here) to see, well, more ducks!

UCLA Campus, Botanical Garden


Today’s photos [check them out here!] are of UCLA‘s campus and Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden [official site, wikipedia, yelp, tripadvisor]. The crazy thing about the botanical garden (“one of the most important living botanical collections in the United States”) is that most students seem never to have visited it. Who wouldn’t want to go peek at some turtles between classes?

The album contains photos taken on five different days: The campus photos were taken in Sep. & Oct. 2008 and the three visits to the botanical garden were in Oct. & Nov. 2008, and Apr. 2009).

Murphy’s Ranch: Nazi Compound (Santa Monica) (2012)

IMG_0808fb - CopyOdd but true: There is an abandoned Nazi compound (Murphy’s Ranch) in happy-go-lucky Santa Monica, California, in Rustic Canyon. You can read about it here. The hike is famous for the ruins and the stairs (“secret” staircases in LA are kind of a thing). If you’d like to do this hike, there are plenty of places online that offer explicit directions and tips. Or, just take a “virtual” tour of it by looking at my photos.

Sad update (11/28/14): Like a good portion of the places in California I’ve visited in the past few years, this is being shut down due to poorly-behaved visitors. I hear the buildings are now fenced off (barbed wire) and that police officers are aggressively citing people for trespassing, plus issuing parking tickets (if you park nearer to the stairs). Please, if you hear about and care enough to visit cool places like this, do not vandalize them, leave garbage everywhere, or consume mass amounts of pot and alcohol there. Leave places as clean as–if not cleaner than–you found them. Encourage everyone you know to follow these rules, or places get shut down within months of becoming popular via the internet.