Category Archives: Outdoors


I spent last week drinking beer and riding my bike around the Black Rock Desert. Exactly what the doctor ordered to clear all the BS outta my psyche(for the time being I guess) and to return to life and work much refreshed.

There is a lot I could say about Burning Man, and risk being a “Burning Man Bore” but to me the real kicker, and the real reason that I love going out there is to spend quality time with friends that I don’t often get to see. I love the aspect of a coordinated vacation.

But yeah. You can expect hundreds of picture from me and them over the next couple of weeks.

And if you emailed me in the last week – I will be getting to you soon. I really should have set an auto-responder, but OK, I didn’t.

Books To Keep In Your Car This Summer

I am always looking for something new to do around Southern California, and while there are a great number of blogs chock full of ideas, I often find myself needing a solid set of reference. Not just for ideas – but how to get there, and what to expect once you have arrived. Or where to go if the original plan falls through.

So, I will begin a list of books that I always keep in the van – all related to Southern California – which are invaluable when looking for things to do.

  • Lonely Planet California – I admit that I felt like a tourist when I bought this. But that’s OK. It’s a useful book that give a nice, broad view of California as a whole. I always default to Lonely Planet when traveling, so I trust them on my home turf as well.
  • DeLorme Atlas Southern and Central California – This has become my de facto road map. It is an easy to read map that shows all major roads, dirt roads, trails, wells, elevations, landmarks, dry lake-beds and other terrain features. Also, camp sites, and boating sites. It’s fun to be able to name everything you are passing on road trips.
  • California Coastal Commission Coastal Access Guide – I mentioned it already, but here it is again because it is so good. It is a guide to all of the beaches on the California coast. Shows what services and amenities are available at each location along with a brief description. It also includes unnamed beaches – usually listed as “Stairs to Beach” or something like that – if you are looking to go more off the beaten track.
  • Afoot and Afield in Los Angeles County – OK, so it is a little too hot for most hikes in this book, but if the weather cools a little bit, you might want to pick it up. Everything from short hikes in Griffith Park to grueling 22 mile jaunts in the San Gabriel Mountains. Indispensable.

I am sure there are plenty more books like these, but with this set in the car I can usually hit the road and start reading(not at the same time) and find somewhere good to end up. I have not been going out to the desert this summer(unlike some people, much hardier than myself) so I did not really put any desert books – although the Lonely Planet guide does have some general info on the desert.

Anyone else have more suggestions?

1000 Steps To The Beach

There are only 227 steps, but it is an “ass-jarring” staircase down to 1000 Steps Beach, just south of Laguna Beach. Actually, going down is not bad – going back up is a little rough.

1000 Steps Beach
This long, flat expanse of sand had big waves that weren’t too rough, and the water was extremely clear. While there were a lot of people there, it never really felt crowded – you just had to watch out for the skim-boarders was all.

If you are willing to drive down to Orange County, this is a good beach to check out. Just make sure that you don’t forget your beer in the car(its all street parking, btw) or you will be forced to walk up the huge staircase to get it. Which I had to do.

At first we actually had a hard time finding it based on the directions in our books. I guess it is because the staircase down is sort of camouflaged, and since there is only street parking, there is little indication of when you are in the right area. Would a Google Map help?

Another Beach For You: Nicholas Canyon County Beach

Not as far up the coast as the lovely El Matador, Nicholas Canyon County Beach is a more “traditional” beach – in the sense that it is a long stretch of sand, rather than a pocket of sand nestled between rocks.

Nicholas Canyon County Beach SandStill, at has a quality of beaches that I like: you have to walk down stairs to get to it. Which means the road is out of sight, which for me makes things a bit more relaxing.

I will also suggest this beach because it seems rather underused. Maybe many people don’t know about it – well, I mean until they read this blog post. But its not like its a big secret(the locals call it Zeros) – there is a huge sign by the side of PCH, just easy to overlook is all.

Nicholas Canyon County Beach
33904 Pacific Coast Highway
Malibu, CA 90265-2315

Webcam of Nicholas Canyon County Beach

Huntington Botanical Gardens

Saturday’s turn of events took us over to the Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, CA. Over 150 acres of amazing plant life divided into multiple areas: desert garden, tropical garden, japanese garden and more, which we did not visit this time.

Why? Because it was hot and shade is not exactly abundant here – that’s not a complaint, just a fact of reality that we should have come better prepared so as not to get very hot as we walked around.

But the place itself is great, and worth visiting(I had been meaning to go for years, and finally got around to it) and for those of you who do go on a hot day there is a drink cart located conveniently near the exit.

This entry was posted on Sunday, July 3rd, 2005 at 3:18 pm and is filed under Outdoors, Los Angeles, California. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.