Day Trip Daydreaming: Joshua Tree

Ok,  this is not a trip I’ve taken just yet, but one day I will. Despite its proximity to the City of Angels and its popularity, I know little about Joshua Tree other than that it’s too hot a destination for me in the summer months and that it’s named after a not-so-aethetically-pleasing plant.

Here are some beautiful shots of the locale:

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By reallyboring on Creative Commons

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By Jennie & Jacques on Creative Commons

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By Rennett Stowe on Creative Commons

Even though I don’t find the trees to be particulary pretty, there’s something unreal and captivating about them. Like you hopped into a Dr. Suess book for a weekend.

Also, did you know that there are actually interesting shops to frequent? And to think I thought JT was all about roughing it and bouldering! They had me at vintage and antiques.

In my unplanned future trip, I’ll be staying here. 🙂

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Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook: Top Features

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If you haven’t had the chance to stop by the new(ish) Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook in Culver City, I highly recommend a visit. There’s a lot to love, including:

1. A mile of switch-backing trails

2. A serious set of stairs leading all the way up to the 500-foot-high peak

3. Convenient parking on Jefferson Boulevard

4.  A visitors’ center

5. A glassed-in event pavilion and…

6. Sparkly new bathrooms at the summit

7. A pretty nice view from the top, the Hollywood Hills to the north, the downtown LA skyline to the east, the ocean at to the west)

The 57 acre park opened back in 2009 and is managed by the California State Parks department. A lot of bond money — millions and millions of dollars — went into the restoration project intended to increase the green space in the neighborhood. Over 3 million people live within 5 miles of the overlook.

What I love most about BHSO is probably what every other thrifty hiker loves — that the space offers a variety of ways to work out without fees. Like most health-conscious Angelenos, I’m all for spin class and yoga and Zumba until I look at a price sheet. Really?! I have to pay how much to sweat buckets and suffer? I’ll take the BHSO over those costs any day. Get a little vitamin D, breath the fresh air, and not have to touch any germy, perspiration-encrusted gym machinery.

Other people are certainly having the same thought. Extremely fit runners hustle up and down the trails and stair climbers extend their already-rigorous workout by doing sit ups and such at the peak. New parents push strollers along pathways or tote babies in carriers. There’s a true community feel.

LA needs more spaces like this.