You gotta grant Los Angeles its geographic or climatic diversity. LA is not unique in this feature–I was surprised and delighted when I first visited Vancouver, for example, to find that one could visit a northern rain forest within a half-hour drive, and the visual contrast of the surrounding mountains and the central sound is appealing. We have an equally broad range of features here in Los Angeles, though warmer and drier versions of those. Still, we manage beaches, flatlands, and reasonable mountains, in a moderate radius, and with lots of differences in vegetation (albeit spread over more square miles than most geographically diverse cities)
One hears an insistence, from time to time, that Los Angeles is no desert. This is true, since that would require less than 10in/year of rainfall, where Los Angeles gets about 15in/year. Something interesting to me, however, as a relative newcomer is that this precipitation is strongly bimodal with low-rainfall years averaging 7-8in/year. So we are only a desert in odd years, it appears.
The parks of LA certainly make for a pleasant arid walk in the summer. Nice parks they are too. I frequently walk the Runyon Canyon loop, which has quite a magnificent vista of the city, from Hollywood and Downtown, over to Beverly Hills and the Westside on a clear day. Last week, however, I took a walk around Will Rogers State Historical Park which is a similar trail, but with a bit more view of the ocean. One delight of the walk was the rattlesnake that greeted us on the trail, but sadly scampered away before I was able to get my cell phone camera out to take it’s portrait. Readers will have to get by with a bit of cactus.