Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Rediscovering LA, part 2

Grapes @ Gainey Vineyard
In part 1 of Rediscovering LA, I ended my post with Gainey's Vineyard. In this post, I will start with a hike at Malibu.
Because I am not very familiar with hikes in LA, my cousin chose the place to hike. She chose Solstice Canyon Deer Valley Loop Trail with a short side trip to the Robert's Ranch House Ruins. The hike is 6-mile round trip with 1000 ft elevation gain. The trail winds through chaparral, coastal sage, oak woodlands, and grassy meadows. 
Oak Woodland at Solstice Canyon, Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area
To access the Sostomo Deer Valley loop trail, we started at Solstice Canyon trail and took a side trip to Robert's Ranch House Ruin.
Ranch House Ruin
What called my attention other than the ruins was the group of banana plants, I wonder if they were part of the plantation before that were left in this area. This is the first time I saw banana with fruit and blossom here in CA, and it so reminds me of home since we have banana in our backyard in the Philippines.
While taking a picture of the banana plant, I saw a tiger swallowtail butterfly fluttering around, so I followed it with my gaze at first. The swallowtail landed on a yellow flower, so, while the butterfly was enjoying sipping the nectar of the flower, I came closer to get this picture. 
Swallowtail Butterfly
There was also a very small waterfall at the ruins that spills down a creek. 
Waterfall at the Ruins
The waterfall and the ruins are the main points of the hike, however, if hiking only to this point, it would be a short, almost level hike. Going up the ridge of Deer Valley Loop Trail added more distance and elevation, and of course, sweeping vistas of Point Dume from a higher elevation standpoint. 
Point Dume from the peak of Deer Valley Loop Trail @ Solstice Canyon
It was still all gray while we were at the peak of Deer Valley Loop trail, however, as we ascended, the burning sun came out. After our hike at Solstice Canyon, I wanted to check out Point Dume, so we had lunch first at The Sunset Restaurant which is at the foot of Point Dume right next to Zuma Beach. While waiting for our lunch, we saw several dolphins playing and jumping around. Right after our lunch, my cousin and I took a short hike/walk to Point Dume.
Me, above Point Dume
The hike to Point Dume winds through thick coreopsis ( tree sunflowers) that were already past peak and had wilted dry. I could just imagine how beautiful the slopes would be in spring. 
Rock Climbers at Point Dume
Zuma Beach from Point Dume
After Point Dume, we separated ways, my cousin stayed for a while with her boyfriend in Sunset Restaurant, while I and my friend went back to Los Angeles for a much needed shower since we were wet with sweat after the Solstice Canyon hike. After shower, we took a stroll at Little Tokyo in Downtown Los Angeles, it sure felt we were in Tokyo with the many Japanese restaurants and shops in the area. :)
@ Little Tokyo
We had dinner at The Rolling Sushi Bar, and again, it was another food feast until our stomach could no longer expand to entertain food. From Filipino to Italian to American to Japanese, we were laughing since next in line for us was dimsum for breakfast, which is Chinese. :)
After our heavy dinner in Little Tokyo, we took a stroll at Grand Park, also in downtown Los Angeles. 
Fountain at Grand Park
Fountain @ Grand Park
Fountain @ Grand Park
There were a lot of fountains in the Grand Park area, it was such a delightful moment watching them change shape and colors.
Me @ one of the Fountains with LA Skyline
The next day, after hearing mass, as promised to myself ( I had been craving for dimsum), we had dimsum for breakfast, which again was another food feast. After breakfast, we went to Disney Hall for some fun photography.
Disney Hall
Me, Looking at My Reflection
LA is such a huge city, so, there is no way I could show you more in 4 days of being there. Besides, we explored the backroads of LA, to strike a balance between a busy city and its quiet nature escapes nearby. 
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  1. now that reflection photo of you and that one at LA skyline has to be my favorites here :-) and that banana blossom shot looks awesome...I've been trying several times to take a good shot at them from home haha, I super duper love all the blue colors here! weeee...

  2. There are some really beautiful spots you discovered. Amazing, you went on a mountainous hike to the ocean and then a city tour all in one day.

  3. wish i could also visit LA and visit those lovely places...especially the hiking part love the view when ur at the peak of Deer Valley Loop trail. :)

  4. You are so good to discover the beauty of the places you have visited

  5. I envy you for enjoying the pleasures in life Betchai. LOL

    Exploring the best of nature and city life. Wooot!

    Thanks for sharing this. We can at least have a taste of your escapades :)

  6. Too bad I've never tried hiking when I was younger. I don't know if I can endure any hiking at my age and state of health. Love your photos!!!

  7. oh, that banana reminds me of home too. can't wait to see our backyard in December! can't wait to meet you and Zen too! few months to go! so excited!

  8. Sure you've spent quality time on your LA experience. Sis, love the photos, lalo na yung paru-paro sa puno ng saging.

  9. Thanks for the free tour, Betchai. I love your shots. What camera do you use? I love your poses too hehehe!

  10. Professional photographer ka? I love your shots!

  11. I never think of LA as having nature (even though I know there is a lot of hiking in the hills. The fountains are beautiful.

  12. amazing captures... i'm pretty sure you enjoyed your time @ L.A

    cheers :)

  13. Nice Shots you got there Betchai! I love your blog because it makes traveling just a click away.

  14. Thank you for taking me to your experiences, now at least through this post i have experienced what you experience...keep it up...

  15. Betchai, Love the shot of you with the fountains and LA skyline backdrop. You had the best of both worlds there with the nature hike and downtown LA. Great shots.

  16. The ranch house ruin is the kind of thing that
    I always find so interesting.

  17. Love those modeling poses, smiles. This place is definitely a must see.

  18. Wow, I love the fountain shots. Thanks for sharing your experienced in LA.

  19. oh my gosh...such amazing views and sights. really beautiful photos. lucky you!

  20. WOW! Just amazing. I have never seen a banana flower. Such pretty scenery. I would love to go, but since I can't you have so nicely shared.

  21. Some of these scenes can only be seen like this for many of us… but that plantain fruit that’s so very common in this part of the world :P

  22. What an adventure you had! What a post, I loved the captures and your narration too. It was as if I was touring with you. Loved the blue water from the top and also those fountain shots are cool!
    Have a fabulous day Betchai :)

  23. You visited so many interesting places! Cool reflection shot of you at Disney Hall.

  24. I love those colorful water fountain shots of your, Betchai, and the trip sounded wonderful, joyful, and many sights to see!

  25. took fantastic photos, and found an amazing area to enjoy!

  26. I see paradise!! I really enjoy reading your blog betchai, it feels like I'm also traveling (: I wish one day I could experience this. I just need a lot of motivation today. (: Thank you betchai for being such an inspiration! ♥