Category Archives: adventures


Point Mugu II

Last month, the Springs fire ravaged Point Mugu State Park. Peter and I had such a good time hiking there before, we thought we’d return this weekend to survey the damage now that the park has reopened. The destruction was impressive.

Peter and I entered the park from the south side along PCH and took the La Jolla Canyon trail to the Mugu Peak trail, which took us (unsurprisingly) to Mugu Peak. See a similar–though not identical–route written up at Modern Hiker. The hike itself was very pleasant with a good variety of canyons, rolling hills and mountain face ascents. The change in scenery compared to our previous visit was astonishing — it felt like an alien landscape. The satellite array on a neighboring hill only enhanced the Martian quality of the barren topography.


  • Mugu Burnt Trees I
  • Mugu Burnt Trees II
  • Mugu Burnt Trees III
  • The Barren Trail
  • Barren Landscape
  • Mugu Lagoon (and AFB)
  • Burnt Oaks
  • Life Returning

Joshua Tree

Yesterday I got back from a whirlwind tour of Joshua Tree National Park with my friends Sam, Humberto and Anand. We were only there for twenty four hours, but saw a fairly large cross section of the park. On Wednesday we set up camp in Black Rock Canyon and hiked up Black Rock Canyon to the panorama loop trail. The high point of the trail straddles a ridge which gave spectacular views of the Mojave desert to the north and Coachella valley to the south.

The following morning we packed up camp and drove into the heart of the park. We (mostly Sam and Anand) did a bit of scrambling on the rock formations, then drove up to Keys View to bask in the arid and rugged scenery before returning home.

Although our visit was brief, I really enjoyed my time in Joshua Tree. Considering it is only a two-and-a-half hour drive from LA, it is embarrassing that it has taken me this long to go out there. Anyway, it was well worth the visit.

  • My new tent's first outing
  • A dead tree looms above the Mojave
  • San Jacinto Mountains to the south
  • A pretty spectacular Joshua tree on the trail
  • The camp at sunset
  • Sam and Anand atop some rocks
  • A forest of Joshua trees
  • Tree, rock, and sky
  • Another spectacular horizon and sky
  • Keys View of the Coachella Valley


Last weekend, I went with Alivia, my dad, and stepmom to Palm Springs. Other than getting a chance to relax and spend time with my family, the highlights for me were a hike through Tahquitz canyon and a driving tour of some modernist houses.

In the mid twentieth century, Palm Springs was a veritable playground for architects pioneering the modernist style. The somewhat austere minimalism of their work suits the desert landscape well. I had seen pictures and videos of many of the houses we visited before, but it was fantastic to see the buildings in situ. We saw E. Stewart Williams‘ Edris House and Sinatra House, Albert Frey‘s Frey II House and Tramway Gas Station, and Richard Neutra‘s Miller House and Kaufmann Desert House.



  • Tahquitz Canyon Wall
  • Tahquitz Canyon Rock
  • Tahquitz Canyon Floor
  • Tahquitz Canyon Falls
  • Edris House
  • Kaufmann House
  • Sinatra House

Hiking in Point Mugu State Park


On Saturday, my friend Peter and I went for a hike in Point Mugu State Park. We intended to follow the trails written up here, but took a wrong turn. So we ended up making our own route.

The park is situated at the western end of the Santa Monica mountains, where they descend into the Pacific Ocean. I was astonished by the diversity of the landscape and flora there. We entered the park from north, where the scenery was dominated by rolling hills and grassland. Less than a mile into the park, we started ascending into the brush and succulent covered mountains that I so strongly associate with Southern California. Our trail led us into the forested Sycamore Canyon, terminating at a refreshingly cool albeit anemic waterfall.

We descended back along the stream bed down the canyon until it met up with Fossil Trail. We followed this deserted trail up an arduous ascent and were greeted with views of a network of canyons below, Boney Mountain summit above, and the Pacific Ocean to the west. True to the trail’s name, there was a rock formation containing dozens of fossilized shellfish midway to the top.

At the top of the trail, we followed another trail back along the ridge of Sycamore Canyon which offered a more gentle descent back to the valley floor. A large section of this trail was covered by a dense grove of trees arching over the path giving the impression of walking through a long narrow cathedral. Combined with the singing birds and an absence of other people, it made for a supremely serene ramble.

Peter and I only explored a small corner of the park on our hike. Given more time, I would love to return to scale the higher peaks and hike down to the ocean. I will certainly return to Point Mugu state park.






Getty Center Textures

Last weekend my sister visited from Boston. During her well-timed visit, we went to the Getty Center. For me, the highlight of the Getty is usually the well-manicured grounds more than the exhibitions. During this visit I took pictures that focused on the textures I noticed around the gardens. Here are a few that I thought turned out reasonably well:


Getty Villa


I went to the Getty Villa over the break with Alivia and my mom, which I really enjoyed. The museum is situated in a canyon above the beach at the edge of Malibu, and is made to look like, well, an Italian villa. Like the Getty Center, the grounds themselves are stunning. The main part of the museum surrounds a well-manicured courtyard garden, and radiating out from the center are breezeways to more pools and fountains. We were lucky to go on a drizzly morning which kept the masses away. For the first hour we were there, we essentially had the outdoor areas to ourselves.

The museum collection consists of art and artifacts from ancient Greece and Rome. The displays conjured memories of a humanities course I took as an undergrad that was a cornerstone of my college education. It was an absolute delight to see the artifacts in person!


Verdugo Mountains Hike


San Gabriel Mountains


This morning I went on a hike (written up here) through the Verdugo Mountains between Burbank and La Crescenta. The visibility was phenomenal, so I managed to snap a picture of the San Gabriel mountains in all their glory. From the peak, I could see all the way to Long Beach!


Modern Hiker

Modern Hiker is a website and blog about hiking in Southern California. It contains detailed write-ups of hikes, including maps, elevation information, and anything else of interest about the trail. As a casual hiker, I have found it to be by far the most useful resource for hiking around LA.


View from the Edgewater


This view from my hotel room combined with the ocean scent and the sounds of fog horns and seagulls is really making me nostalgic for the Pacific Northwest.


Sturtevant Falls Hike

A couple of days ago, I went on a hike with my friend Sam and dog Finnegan to Sturtevant Falls in Santa Anita Canyon. The hike is a little under 4 miles and is relatively easy, although it was pretty hot out. The waterfall itself wasn’t too impressive (possibly due to the time of year?) but it was refreshing to wade in the pool nonetheless. I even got Finnegan to go for a bit of a swim, although he was skeptical.

Finnegan, the skeptic