This weekend I visited Vasquez Rocks, a natural area less than an hour from LA and the setting for many-a TV and film productions. I was impressed by the visitor center, free parking, upkeep, trails, and, well, the rocks. It rocked.
There are lots of trails to choose from, with short, flat jaunts leading to impressive formations, to longer hikes to nice views and vegetation. Kid and dog friendly, there’s also plenty of picnic tables for a nice lunch.
I’ve been in the mood to try some new hikes, and I was lucky enough to have a couple of friends to volunteer to go with me. We ended up at Temescal Canyon in the Pacific Palisades, a popular spot that was on my list of to-do’s. We took the loop, which inclines for a lot longer than you think it will, but there are lots of places to rest and a surprising amount of shade. Plus, once you reach a certain point, you have amazing views of the Pacific Ocean that only get better and better. We turned and walked along the ridge before crossing down towards the waterfall (dried up that day, unfortunately) and eventually making it back to the entrance. It was a good couple of hours and the perfect intensity for me, with a well-maintained trail and beautiful scenery. Plus, we went to Bay Cities after!
Note: it’s impossible to capture the view in photo form. Just go see for yourself.
One of my favorite food spots in LA is the tiny Trails Cafe. It’s an adorable cafe nestled at the bottom of Griffith Park with outdoor-only seating, and exactly the kind of place I’d want to own if someone handed me a million bucks and said “open a restaurant please.” They offer a small menu–a few sandwiches, daily quiche and pies, a few pastries and drinks. It’s the perfect place to stop after a gaunt through the park and refuel. It’s usually full of cute dogs, too.
While in Chicago, we took the requisite trip to Millennium Park and saw the Cloud Gate sculpture by Anish Kapoor, better known as “The Bean.” It may be touristy, but it’s a must-see. The sculpture is very cool in person, and fun to walk under and around and take in all of the reflective views.