You are browsing the archive for environment.

A Rocky Getaway in L.A.’s Backyard

April 5, 2012 in environment, History

Red Rock Canyon

Forget your troubles, come on get dizzy. That’s what I did last weekend on a hike from Topanga Canyon area through Red Rock Canyon to the top of Calabasas Peak. The hike was about 4.5 miles, pretty short as the crow flies, but there was a lot of climbing (up to 2,000+ feet) and zig-zagging, plus we took some rock scrambling side trips, so it was challenging. One highlight of the hike was the rocky terrain, consisting of numerous sandstone outcroppings. At times I thought I was in Zion National Park, not the Santa Monica Mountains just minutes from L.A. Many of these rocks are tilted at Titanic angles, and it’s mind-boggling to think that they were once under sea, and how it has taken them millions of years to get to this point. There were even seashell fossils in some of the rocks, as the picture after the jump indicates.

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Navitat Canopy Adventures: Zippity Doo Dah, Zippity Yay!

April 1, 2012 in Entertainment, environment, Seasonal, Sports

I’ll admit it: Even after making the 90-minute drive up to Navitat Canopy Adventures in Wrightwood, and even when I was being strapped into the 12 pounds of harness gear, and eeeeeven when I stared down the length of that first zipline while breathing air so clean it hurt my lungs, there was a part of me that was ready to wuss out.

Fact is, I am pretty much terra firma’s bitch — exxxxtra-terrestrial, so to speak, in that my life-long crush on my physical, foot-planted connection to our earth is practically boundless. Suffice it to say the ground and me, we’re close. Really close. As such it is not often but always with trepidation whenever I intentionally leave its embrace —  but certainly not to seek various thrills such as diving into the sky out of a perfectly good airplane, or bungee jumping off a perfectly good bridge. Ziplining though? Hmmmm, now that was something I didn’t immediately have so adamant an adverse reaction to and therefore might be open to consider doing. At least in theory. Some day.

Which turned out to be March 24 when, despite my doubts about turning that theory into action, I took Navitat up on its gracious invitation and went up into that wild forested yonder in the San Gabriel Mountains about 75-miles northeast of Los Angeles and about 7,000 or so feet above sea level. Upon my arrival I was warmly welcomed by Caley Bowman, Navitat’s marketing manager, and soon after signed the requisite waiver absolving her company of all responsibility should I break a nail or a neck.

Soon after, among an assembled group of five other fellow blogger invitees (Andrea, Christine, Debi, Nicole and Bob), we were all harnessed and helmeted and venturing via 4×4 van up a steep and winding and narrow old logging road to eventually stand before that first zipline, where I wasn’t surprised at all to find that earth-bound part of me still looking for the chicken exit. But did I make like a tree and leave? Did I “bough” out ungracefully? Oh hell no. Me and my inner adrenaline junkie clipped in and went up, up and away for the ziplining rides of my life.

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by frazgo

Pasadena to host Clean Vehicle Rebate Program fair Saturday March 31st.

March 26, 2012 in Driving, environment, Events, LA, San Gabriel Valley, Technology, Transportation

ford focus pair

This promises to be an interesting event this coming Saturday on the steps of City Hall in Pasadena.  The folks at Clean Vehicle Rebate Project and the city of Pasadena are sponsoring the fair and it is free and open to everyone.

The EV Fair will feature a number of vehicles for test drives and on static display. As of now I have confirmed that a Nissan LEAF, Chevy Volt, Mitsubishi i-MiEV, Toyota Prius Plug-In and CODA will be available for attendees to experience at the event. (Unfortunately Ford dealerships have not quite received the all-electric Focus so the dealers will not be participating. They are, however, working with Ford to provide a Focus EV for the event).   UPDATE 3/29 Ford will have a new Focus EV at the event.   They will also have a number of electric vehicle charging equipment providers at the event displaying products and providing information on home installation). Read the rest of this entry →

Sometimes The Smallest Creatures Can Instill the Biggest Sense Of Awe

February 22, 2012 in environment, Seasonal

If ever this time of year comes and goes without a hummingbird nest in our backyard I’ll know the world is coming to an end. So as you can see in the clip below, we’re safe for 2012 no matter what the Mayans said.

But as regular as the tiny birds may be around my place, they still never fail to make me go wide-eyed with wonder — especially when I see stuff such as this momma feeding her chick, hatched about a week (give or take a couple days) ago from an egg little bigger than a black-eyed pea:

 

Lunar Eclipse

December 9, 2011 in environment, Events

Check it out:

According to Wikipedia, the total eclipse of the heart moon will take place from 6:06 AM to 6:57 AM tomorrow. Anyone staying up that late/ getting up that early to watch it? What are some of your favorite spots for viewing cosmic events such as this?

Monday Morning Diversion: Birdz & Beatz

December 5, 2011 in Entertainment, environment

By way of backstory, our previously existing birdbath proved to be low enough for our cats to nab the occasional sipping or splashing birdy — the most recent victim being a yellow-rumped warbler on Friday. So with a step ladder found discarded on the street last week I raised the water’s level to an elevation more than double its previous height and thus far more advantageous to our feathered friends rather than my beloved feline fiends. Then of course, I set up a camera up yesterday to timelapse the popular new set-up, and set the ensuing clip to a techno dance track that occasionally syncs with the birds’ movements so that it seems they’re boogeying more than bathing. Enjoy.

Thar She Blows!

December 1, 2011 in environment, LA, Weather

No, it’s not talk like a pirate day—it’s just windy as all get-out! And it doesn’t have anything to do with Blogging.LA blowing out candles.

In case you haven’t been able to load twitter or step outside today, you very well know that the wind is blowing hard here in LA. As I made my way East on the 101 toward my Studio City home last night, all sorts of debris blew past, including some old woman on a bicycle saying something about my little dog. A brief scan of twitter let me know that people from various parts of the city have been without power, such as a few friends in the Eagle Rock/ Glendale area.

What’s your experience of the wind been? Let us know in the comments—what part of town are you in and what effects have you witnessed?

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L.A. loves its cars and the Electric Car is our future.

November 18, 2011 in Driving, environment, Events, People, Social issues, Transportation

Cadillac ELR

Wednesday I got to meet up with GM exec Jim Federico, Executive Director of Engineering, Electric Vehicles at the L.A. Auto Show. I got to ask some of my own questions as well as those you readers posed as part of the ticket contest I was able to run. It was an interesting visit, certainly a lot of information with some answers as well. Where to start with the questions and answers is my big dilemma.

Al Pavangkanan posed the question regarding new battery technology. Jim couldn’t give specifics of what they have in store but did say that they are working with the battery suppliers to develop new technologies that will give us more power for the size compared to what we have now. The problem all the manufacturers have run into is that there isn’t a rush to develop batteries as there isn’t really a market demand for them yet in quantities to offset their costs. Those costs affect what we pay for an EV now, but as demand increases, production increases there will be more incentive to develop new battery technology and help lower costs.  Read the rest of this entry →

The View From Here

October 7, 2011 in Biking in LA, environment, ICME

Here being this spot around sunset yesterday, about three-quarters of a mile downstream from Fletcher Drive on the westbank of the Los Angeles River, from which I did not previously know that the Hollywood sign was visible. One gets so used to looking at the landmark straight on that it’s a bit of a surprise when it pops into view from such wider angles (click to embiggen):

After the jump I also caught a bit o’ video of a great blue heron successfully fishing in an eddy for dinner, and after that in about the same place as the shot of the Hollywood sign grabbed a really crappy still of a perching osprey, one of the rarest birds to be found around the waterway, who swept in for a landing while I stood there gaping.

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Urban Nature Call: Western Tiger Swallowtail

September 2, 2011 in environment, Photography, Seasonal

It’s been going something like this for summer after summer after summer: I’m in the backyard. A western tiger swallowtail swoops in and busies itself fluttering along the overgrown bougainvillea, never fully stopping at one bloom. I rush into the house, grab the camera, and by the time I rush back out, the elusive creature is either long gone or it lingers haphazardly just long enough for me to get one reeeeally blurry shot before it leaves.

Today it went exactly like that up until the last part where I got one shot that was as if the gorgeous thing decided it had enough fun playing with me and posed, and I offer it for your pre-Labor Day weekend viewing enjoyment  (click to biggify):

Hope y’all have a great holiday.

Timelapse: Bridging The Great LA River Bikeway Divide

August 6, 2011 in Biking in LA, environment

There’s about eight miles of Los Angeles River separating its bikeways in Elysian Valley and the city of Maywood. Like most normal people you probably haven’t troubled yourself wondering if that entire stretch of riverbed between those two points is navigable by bike. But if you’re like me and my friend Andrew it was time yesterday to see if we could connect those two dots. We did.

A selection of stills from the trek are viewable here on Flickr, most notable among them is the Bicycle Monument installed below the Olympic Boulevard Bridge, the in-water river chair (full functionality proven by Andrew) south of the 10 Freeway overpass, and best of all: the fellow south of the Washington Boulevard Bridge sitting on a utility cable spool reading a newspaper who looked at us as funny as we looked at him. A map of the entire 22-mile-route we rode is here.

Stump Speech

July 16, 2011 in environment, ICME, West Side

Tree stump speechTrees are a big deal in Santa Monica. Sometimes they get manicured. Sometimes they get cut down and cause a controversy. In this case, on 11th Street near Santa Monica Blvd., a lone protester has made a stand on a tree stump. The handwritten note taped to the traffic cone on top of the stump reads:

R.I.P. *Here remains what was once a beautiful TREE cut down under our very noses. When will [our] city cease this action?

Hopefully, the city had a good reason to cut down the tree, i.e., that it was dead or dying, rather than just some form of aesthetic tree gentrification. I did see some newly planted trees nearby on the same block, so perhaps that is what will happen here too.

Urban Wildlife: Awesum ‘Possum

July 1, 2011 in environment

On our dog walk this very early morning Susan, Ranger and I close-encountered this young opposum — a remarkable member of our urban animal kingdom that I adore and will protect and defend vociferously — after it scaled the front gate of a house we were passing on LaFayette Park Place in Silver Lake. Its entire lack of fear of us humans and our excited canine in such immediate proximity led me to wonder if the creature was ill, but it seemed — at least outwardly — to be in good health.

PS. Yeah, I’m the kind of animal geek who gets excited by prehensile tails — semi or otherwise — in action.

Big Tujunga Canyon Is The Latest Reason Why I’m Proudly & Forever A Tourist In My Own Town

June 25, 2011 in environment, ICME

I’ve been up Big Tujunga Canyon once in my life. Or rather down it. Near the end of the last century, I rode in a Hogs for Dogs Ride put on by the Pasadena Humane Society, and I was part of a huge, mostly Harley caravan that went up Angeles Crest Highway to its intersection with Big Tujunga Canyon and came back down to civilization. Being on two wheels along such winding roads in close proximity to other motorcycles in front, beside and behind one, strictly limits how much of the breathtaking scenery one can absorb.

So it was that research on a project this past Thursday afternoon took me to Bolton Hall Museum in Tujunga and afterwards for a drive up into the canyon in hopes of generally locating a long-gone 130-year-old homestead’s location. With the road practically to myself I drove up slowly, stopping frequently to stand drop-jawed at how dramatic and gorgeous is the canyon.

Big Tujunga Canyon

The above snap doesn’t really do the scene justice, and neither will any more words about it. So I’ll just finish with: if you haven’t been, go. And if you have been, go back. I know I will.

 

 

Angeles Crest Highway Reopens

June 6, 2011 in Driving, environment, Fires

Mountain View

Last Friday, Caltrans announced that the portion of California State Route 2 known as the Angeles Crest Highway is now open over its full 66-mile length from La Canada Flintridge to Wrightwood (see June 3 press release on this page). This has been a long time coming for Los Angeles area sports car and sport bike enthusiasts, as well as hikers and others who have discovered this nearby escape route over the years. Unfortunately, the Highway has had more destructive disasters than the castle in “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”.
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