Sunday, January 27, 2013

Wandering the Foothills

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Los Angeles was in rare form today. The air was heavy with January rain, but the clouds refused to unlock. It was blustery and crisp, chilling noses and fingertips. The weather was perfect for a daytime walk, so I bundled up in a cozy sweater and headed for Claremont. 

There, in the shadow of the San Gabriel Mountains, is the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden. The garden is dedicated exclusively to native California plants, and has several short trails (about a mile each) that wrap around the grounds. 

There are striking Joshua Trees and graceful Manzanitas in addition to more subtly beautiful flora from California's chaparral communities. Having evolved to tolerate long periods of drought, many plants have thick, woody stems and tough little leaves. Flowers are small, but worth a second look. These are not the verdant green lianas of wetter, warmer climes. They are equally lovely, but more reserved in their splendor.


Monday, January 14, 2013


Granite monoliths rise from the sprawling desert. Their smooth, yellowed faces watch the landscape of Joshua Tree National Park through sweltering heat and bitter cold. For millennia, these formations have grown and changed. In their persistence, they put the brevity of my little life in perspective. 

 This is my first weekend trip of 2013. We camped at Indian Cove- one of two Jtree sites where you can reserve space in advance. Temperatures hung around 45 during the day and dropped into the high 20s at night. It was beautiful, crisp, and clear.

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