Tuesday, April 20, 2010

#120: Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve

It is the peak of poppy season, and if you haven't had the opportunity to visit the millions of orange poppies in bloom at the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve in Lancaster, now is the time!

Six of us made the 1.5 hour trek to the reserve this past Saturday. Supposedly, last weekend was the peak of the poppy season, but I think it will still look nice for another week. If you do go, don't forget to pack a lunch (there are not many places to eat up there), sunscreen, plenty of water, and to dress in layers. It's usually very windy there, but we got lucky this past weekend and there was just a gently breeze.

When you start getting near the reserve, you will see fields of poppies on either side of the road. You can stop the car and wander into the fields (there were a lot of people doing this), but most people's end destination was the actual reserve. It cost $8 per vehicle to park in the parking lot, but if you don't feel like paying this, there are some spots along the main road where you can park for free (if you don't mind a .5 mile walk). When we got there, they weren't letting people into the parking lot because it was full, so we stopped by the side of the main road and had lunch on the trunk of Brad's car. By the time we finished our lunch, they started letting people back in, so we ended up parking in the lot. The line into the lot, while it looked daunting, was actually not too bad--we got through it in about 10-15 minutes.

The reserve has many dirt paths that all connect in a loop. Since it's a reserve, you don't want to wander off the dirt paths or pick any flowers. (Also, there are rattle snakes in the area, so you REALLY don't want to wander off the paths!) Near the entrance is a visitor's center with restrooms. There are also a few picnic tables and plenty of porta-potties.

The Antelope Valley poppies were one of the most amazing and memorable sights I have seen in or around L.A.. I would encourage everyone to check it out this year, especially since it is one of the better blooming years in recent past!

Poppy buds

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Monday, April 12, 2010

#119: Rose Bowl Flea Market

Photo from ratestogo

On the second Sunday of every month, the Rose Bowl in Pasadena opens its gates to hundreds of vendors selling everything from vintage clothing to antique furniture. For just a $8 entry fee (free parking!), from 9 am - 3 pm you can shop till you drop or just browse till you feel... dizzy... (I was in the latter category :P)

So Brad and I visited the Rose Bowl flea market this past Sunday. It was cold, windy and overcast, but we scoured the aisles relentlessly in search of a coffee table. I guess I was expecting to find an amazing table at like $30 or something, but they were all in the $200-$500 range. I think craigslist is the better place for deals, personally. No matter, though... We had fun gawking at the beautiful vintage finds. Among the highlights were these really cool mod pieces of furniture by GoModRetro. I could definitely drop a pretty penny here. There was also a stall selling these amazing glass bottles topped with star fish and sea horses for $50-$100.

I then saw the same things online at Anthropologie for $200! o_O

Monday, April 5, 2010

#118: Escondido Falls Hike

This past weekend a couple of friends invited us to Malibu for a leisurely hike to Escondido falls. This was just my kind of hike--the trail was mostly shaded and you are rewarded at the end of the trail with a beautiful waterfall (or two)!

Trail: The hike took about 2.5 hours total. There are a few narrow stream crossings where you will have to balance on rocks to get to the other side. If you have waterproof hiking boots, this is a good hike to wear them on. The trail branches off at various points. As a rule of thumb, stay to your left whenever it forks. That will get you to the waterfalls the fastest.

Photo of the trail head by Shimage

Waterfalls: There are actually two waterfalls. If you plan to go to just the first one, it's an easy, flat walk. If you plan to reach the second (bigger) waterfall, you must do a short and slightly dangerous steep climb up some rocks and dirt. It was a little tricky for me to do it in walking shoes so Brad and I stayed behind while our friends continued to the bigger falls.

Photo of the upper falls by Shimage

Parking: park at the base of Winding Way for free. When we got there at around 10:30 on Saturday the lot was full so we parked along a short road. When we left at around 1, both the lot and road were pretty much full. Walk along the paved road past some gorgeous homes until you see a sign for the trail.

Warnings: Other reviews that I read mentioned poison ivy/oak in the area. We spotted some plants that looked like poison oak, but we're not experts so we couldn't be 100% sure. With that said, it might be a good precaution to wear long pants if you plan on going to the second waterfall.

Traffic: There was a good amount of people there on a Saturday, so I felt safe (mountain lions are always in the back of my mind!). People brought their dogs too, and apparently there are horses that also go along the trail because we saw a bunch of horse poop!

Have you been to Escondido Falls? What did you think of it? Leave me a comment below!

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