On February 16, 2014, my friend Lori and I went on an urban hike with the Los Angeles Hiking Group. Thanks to our decision to take an earlier train, we had time to walk around and look at the lovely old buildings on Route 66 (Figueroa) in Highland Park before meeting up with the group at Antigua Bread. Had we known about Antigua’s amazing-looking pastries we would’ve come even earlier to have breakfast, but this time we had to settle for iced Cafe Americanos to go.
This hike from Downtown Highland Park to Downtown Pasadena was approximately 8 miles and, as my photos show, the route was accurately described by leader, Tuck, as being “via obscure neighborhoods, unusual points of interest, and multiple public stairways.”
Johnston Lake aka Beaudry Lake aka Mirror Lake
In the 1950’s, this lake of many names disappeared from view into a gated community to be enjoyed by 18 lucky homeowners. On the day we visited, a guy opened the gates and some of us made a mad dash past him to take pictures of the lake. As the gates started to close, the rest of our group screamed frantically for us to “Get out! Get out!”
I made it out just before the gates locked behind me. Since the guy was in the process of pulling the trash cans in and needed to reopen the gates I’m sure he was wondering what the heck everyone was yelling about.
Take my advice and go on the holiday tour!!!!
Abbey San Encino
It is not an abbey. It’s a private residence. That’s just it’s name. Jackson Browne’s grandfather, Clyde, a printer & typographer, built the house. You can see Jackson sitting in a chair in the inner courtyard on the cover of his album “For Everyman.” If you’re too young to know who Jackson Browne is, yet the house looks vaguely familiar to you, it plays the abandoned church in episodes of Dexter where Professor Gellar and Travis Marshall commit their crimes.
That means dry stream, which it is right now, thanks to the drought. But it’s still lovely to hike along beside it.
Church of the Angels
This church is really cool! Looks like something you’d expect to see in England. It was built by Mrs. Alexander Robert Campbell Johnston in 1889 as a memorial to her husband, a British Colonial official. He also has a road named after him on a Hong Kong island.
They have been designing and installing stained, leaded, and other architectural glass for over a century!
Pisgah Historic Home District
Interesting place. You should click on that link I provided and read about the history of this place, which is now a senior housing facility.
Our final destination before catching the Gold Line back to Highland Park was lunch at Lucky Baldwins Pub, which was celebrating their 15th Annual Belgian Beer Festival. The dark, foamy #13 & #18 were getting a lot of ooos & ahhhs, but ice cold lemonade sounded more refreshing with my Pub Burger.
Even though it wasn’t our stop, Lori & I got off at Highland Park station on the way back with two goals in mind: Get one of those pastries to take home & find the Victorian house on a hill that we could see from the train.
Unfortunately, all the pastries were long gone, but Lori got a Guatemalan cookie and we did find the Victorian house!
This hike gets 5 stars because it was a good distance for me, personally, and the hills & stairs got my heart rate up. Additionally, hike leader, Tuck, goes at a pace that is not the death march some leaders like to take us on. Even when I stopped to take a picture of something it was just a fast walk or short jog to catch back up with the group. And I like that Tuck made periodic head counts and checked on our various tables at the end of lunch.
Nike+ Fuelband stats:
Hours Won: 7
On May 18th, my friend Lori and I hopped aboard Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner to meet up with The Valencia Hiking Crew for an urban adventure in Ventura.
Linelle, with assistance from other members, put together a great itinerary for us that included a stop at Sandbox Coffeehouse, the Ventura Visitors Center, a hike on the new trail in Ventura Botanical Gardens, Art City Stoneworks, Patagonia Surf Shop and store, Mission Plaza with its beautiful San Buenaventura Mission, lunch at Dargan’s Irish Pub and Restaurant, tastings and demonstrations at both We Olive and Spice-topia, a post office to see historic wall murals, a gigantic fig tree in Plaza Park, and finally a walk on the pier and beachside promenade.
After the adventure officially ended, Lori and I went back to the plaza and toured the mission and grounds and got some iced coffee and dessert at Palermo before boarding our train back home to L.A.
What an amazingly fantastic day that was! And now we’re looking forward to the next urban adventure with this group. See you in Long Beach!
Click on the pictures to enlarge and to read captions.
Saturday December 15th’s Sierra Club outing was a 6-mile urban trek through Koreatown via Wilshire Blvd. Along the way, our leader, Robert J. Baldwin, shared his knowledge and personal experiences, having lived in Korea for four years.
For example, at the Korean Cultural Center we learned about the “easy” Korean alphabet. At the Koreatown Plaza food court he made some suggestions about what to eat for lunch and, pointing out the stands specializing in organ meat, what we might want to avoid. Then, at the Koreatown Galleria supermarket, he pointed out various cooking ingredients, such as bags of kimchi and boxes of Korean pears. In the seafood department he held up a package of fresh octopus while relating a story about when a fisherman cut up a live octopus and served it to him — the octopus was still moving on the plate and clinging to his fork by its suction cup.
Unfortunately, the day went by way too fast and we ran out of time so we couldn’t do much window shopping and completely missed out on the planned visit to Wi Spa. The Sierra Club leaders decided that future Koreatown tours should have an earlier start time and we all agreed. Nevertheless, we enjoyed the day very much.
As usual, my friends and I continued on our own tour after the official tour ended. We walked an additional 3-4 miles, saw some great old architecture, enjoyed some gelato and Korean coffee, and took a tour of Olympic Spa.
Here are my pictures from the day. Just click on them if you want to enlarge them.
Mission San Fernando Rey de España may be California’s 17th Mission but it was my 1st Mission. I think my parents took me to Mission San Juan Capistrano when I was little, but I don’t remember it so it doesn’t count. 😉
Our Sierra Club leaders, Sandra Tapia and Gerrie Montooth, did a great job making this outing fun and interesting. First we toured the Memory Garden located in Brand Park on the other side of the boulevard. My first thought was that I’d like to sit on one of the benches surrounded by the roses and read a book. Then I remembered that I’m terrified of bees so maybe that wouldn’t be such a good idea.
Next, after paying the $4.00 admission fee, we toured the museum and Convento building. The Convento building is the only original building that remains on the site. It’s the largest adobe building in California and the walls are four feet thick. It felt good to step out of the hot sun into the much cooler adobe.
The Convento was built between 1808 and 1822 and served as a residence for the Bishop and missionaries. You can see the Bishop’s Room and the Governor’s Room, which is where visiting VIPs stayed.
The church was destroyed in the 1971 Sylmar earthquake so an exact replica of the 1806 church stands there now.
I enjoyed the tour of the mission very much and would like to go back sometime just to sit on one of the many benches and enjoy the beautiful grounds. One nice spot is the Bob Hope Memorial Garden where he and his wife, Dolores, are buried on what looks like the stage of a band shell.
After the tour, six of us had lunch at The Bear Pit Bar-B-Q, which has been in business since the late 1940s. I prefer pulled pork to the Bear Pit’s sliced, but I must say they have the tastiest bbq beans I’ve ever had in my life.
I hope I can visit another California mission soon. One down, 20 to go!
On Saturday, April 14, 2012, I went with three of my friends on a tour of Old Towne Orange with the Sierra Club.
We had a good leader, Dana, for that tour. She kept a fast pace and had a book with her that was full of information about Orange and the historical houses and buildings.
Our first stop was the local Farmer’s Market which had very few vendors, yet there was so much empty space we wondered why there weren’t more vendors. Some of the yummy things I sampled were, honey, cinnamon coffee, and ricotta pie. I couldn’t resist the 3-for-$5.00 pastries and came home with a chocolate scone, cinnamon twisty, and a cheese danish.
On the walk we saw lots of amazing houses…Victorians, Craftsman, etc. Some of the residents noticed us gawking at their houses and were nice enough to come out and tell us about their homes.
The wife of the couple that live in the Victorian grew up in it! Her grandmother bought the house in 1937. It was interesting to hear about the house and neighborhood. Her husband said the buildings across the street were once a citrus packing plant and an ice house. The workers made the ice and packed the fruit in the ice and loaded it onto the trains.