Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Visit to Finch Hill and the Santa Monica Mountains via US 395 and the Owens Valley

Getting ready to depart, we put away the bird feeders which seem to be attracting the neighborhood bear...

One quick lap up to the Judah Loop Trail to look for wildflowers before we head south...

Mule's Ear blooming below Lunch Rock

A day and a half driving down 395 and west to the Santa Monica Mountains brings us to Finch Hill - a retreat high above the raging torrents of swarming cars in the Los Angeles basin.

Often, evening meals are taken on the protected and very private east patio - watching the alpen glow alight the nearby mountain tops.  

A quick day trip for some exercise takes us to nearby Point Dume and the town of Malibu. 

Film crews were setting up for a shoot on the beach.  We all sign photo releases, just by parking in the lot and walking past a sign...

Stop for plant shopping on the way home from the beach

Back at home, cocktail in hand, I wander about finding some new plants to photograph.

On a hike of the grounds on the hillside above the south wall of the courtyard, I catch the pool guy getting some work done.  Look carefully in the courtyard.  In the evening, the low trees to the right become filled with finches seeking a roost for the night. This is undoubtedly which led to the retreat's name... Finch Hill.

Hike to nearby fire tower

Now, on the way home, we pass through the one horse town of Cartago in the Owen's Valley on 395, where this whimsical structure has been taking form by the side of the road.

We overnight at Trumbull Lake near the Virginia Lakes Trailhead north of Mono Lake on our way home.