Saturday, May 28, 2011

Topanga Canyon

So the next place we visited was Topanga Canyon - up past Malibu on the northern coast of LA. Yet another great park with hiking trails, wildlife and some great wildflowers. Not much more to be said but another great day...oh yeah this was on the day the world was supposed to end according to the nutbag over here, so I suppose if the last thing we did was go for a nice walk in the hills it wouldn't have been a bad way to go out. Thanks again to Raquel for showing me these amazing places.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Chantry Flats

Talk about false advertising. Raquel says "I wanna go for a hike. Oh don't worry it's an easy hike to 'Chantry Flats'". Chantry Flats, hmm I'm thinking, it's either a large highrise block of public housing in the Georgian style and of great architectural and social significance, or it's some nice park somewhere in LA with gently meandering paths and an ornamental lake and swans.

Bzzzzt WRONG!

It's in the Angeles National Park, which is in the mountains to the north of greater LA. And I'm using the international definition of 'mountain' here, not 'mountain'* that Australia term we apply to any slight rise in the ground - I challenge you to scale the near-insurmountable summit of Mt Duneed in Melbourne's west and then you'll know what I'm all about (*mountain in Australia means something completely different to the USA...kind like the name 'Randy' and the word 'rooting').

So anyways, we hop in John's truck (aka giant ute), spend 45 minutes on some freeways, purchase the worlds hottest hot coffee/chocolate (literally still steaming about 20 mins after purchase - I think they broke 3 laws of physics heating that milk without burning the gosh darn golly out of it).  I digress.  (A lot).

So we turn north and start climbing this mountain...a friendly deer on the road says "Hiya"** and the road twists and turns and keeps on climbing up and up. OK I'm thinking, so maybe its like a high plain...yeah I saw Clint Eastwood in High Plains Drifter, we're heading up to the high, FLAT plains of the enchantingly named Chantry FLATS.....we keep winding our way up...hmmm I thinks....maybe its a Mesa...those cool things that exist mainly for the purpose of providing another option on a multiple choice geography exam. Yes that'll be it, a mesa!!! (** Deer may not have actually spoken)

Oh no. How wrong I was my friends. How sadly, sadly mistaken. Chantry Flats is pretty much just the river bed at the bottom of a fairly significant CANYON in the MOUNTAINS.

My pics of the terrain don't really do it justice, but I'm pretty sure it's deeper than the Grand can wikipedia that one peoples. And just like the said (fairly) Grand Canyon, you start at the top and leave the exhausting climb until the end of your hike...genius.

At least I got a few decent snaps...the river is broken up by a series of man made dams, which creates some beautiful little waterfalls - the scenery reminded me very much of Frank Lloyd Wright's Falling Water - see what you think. We hiked along the reasonably flat canyon floor to a large natural waterfall. Along the way there are numerous cabins that have been there for years. There is no electricity, only a telegraph wire and supplies are carried in by people or pack mules, still to this day apparently.

Enjoy the scenery and note we were still in Los Angeles. (Click to enlarge pics).

Friday, May 13, 2011

Gamboling at Gamble

John is currently working on restoring the Jennie Reeve house in Long Beach It is an earlier Greene and Greene house whose most famous work is probably the Gamble House in Pasadena,_California%29.

As part of his job restoring the Reeve house, John's boss paid for a 3 hour tour of the Gamble house, focusing specifically on the wood working. I got to tag along.

It was an amazing tour with the incredible craftsmanship in every facet of the largely original Gamble house. Unfortunately there was no photography allowed inside...doh!!...since the detailing in the floors, the ceilings, the paneling, the tables, chairs, drawers, cupboards etc etc was just insane.

I won't go into the fact that I disagreed with the tour host's response to my question about the relative architectural influences underlying the Greene and Greene architecture (Asian vs Arts and Crafts), but I did of course unleash the trigger finger outside...(as always click on photos to enlarge).