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Archive for March, 2013

Secret Stairs Walk #41 Castellammare, Thelma Todd sites, and Lake Shrine

On March 3, 2013, my friend Cristina and I went on Charles Fleming’s monthly stair walk. This month the stair walk was in the Castellammare neighborhood in Pacific Palisades and started in the parking lot of Gladstones Restaurant at the intersection of Sunset Blvd. & Pacific Coast Highway. As we trudged miserably over the sand, I heard more complaints than I’ve ever heard before, even on the longest, steepest stairs. If you want a good workout, skip the gym and head to the sand.

Along with the usual sighs and exclamations over the lovely 1930s and ’40s houses, this walk had a few shudders as we paused at Hollywood history crime scene: the garage where actress Thelma Todd‘s body was found in her Lincoln Phaeton touring car. Was it suicide, or was she killed by the Mafia because she wouldn’t agree to the illicit gambling operation they wanted to install in her restaurant, the Sidewalk Cafe? Or maybe her manager/business partner/alleged lover, Roland West did it? Read this book and decide for yourself.

After the stair walk, we went on our own to the Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine Temple. What a beautiful, peaceful place it is! There are benches tucked in the gardens that circle the natural, spring-fed lake. You can go there and meditate, read a book, or just sit and watch the ducks. If you want to experience the big, white temple on the hill, they have a Friendship Tea after the 11am service on the first Sunday of each month. Check the calendar.

Here are some pictures from our wonderful day! Click on them to read the captions.

Sierra Club Hike: Malibu Creek State Park M*A*S*H Site

On March 24, 2013, my friends Karen, Cristina and I went on a Sierra Club hike in Malibu Creek State Park. Notice I did not say we went with the Sierra Club. After a slight SNAFU in logistics, we set off on our own hike to the old M*A*S*H T.V. show filming site accompanied by two other Sierra Club members, Tom & Dave, who met us in the parking lot and appointed me leader.

It was an easy, beautiful 5-ish mile hike. We took the Crags Road trail, which fluctuates between being a wide road to what I like best, a narrow one-(wo)man trail. This trail is a rocky creek bed, and I was amazed whenever we saw mountain bikers maneuvering over and around the rocks and boulders.

We found the foundation of what may have been, at one time, the early 1900’s Crags Country Club. At the M*A*S*H site I saw the famous signpost that points to the characters’ various home towns and  climbed up “Radar’s Hill” to see where they landed the helicopters. (Fun!) On the way back we checked out Century Lake, which was the Crags Country Club’s pool back in the day.

Along the way it was interesting to hear about Tom & Dave’s adventures leading canoe trips in Morro Bay, and I learned a lot about bees: there’s  nothing to be afraid of if they’re black carpenter bees, stand still if they’re regular honey bees, and run for your life through thickets if it’s killer bees. (The branches confuse them.)

We met up with the rest of the Sierra Club at the M*A*S*H site and continued our hike  out to Malibu Lake dam with them.

This hike is an easy hike with minimal elevation gain. I highly recommend it. I want to go back and see the Rock Pool and search for Mr. Blanding’s Dream House.

Check this website for trail descriptions and docent-lead hikes.

Here are my pictures, which you can click on to pull up a slide show with captions: