360º (or so) inspiration

I headed into the hills again. This time Will Rogers State Park in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood is the stomping ground. The trail marked Inspiration Point piqued my curiosity. So up I went. After climbing one hill, I looked back and took this shot. The polo grounds are visible in the foreground.

view towards Century City

It was a patchy cloud, partly sunny type of morning with some fog burning off. Onward up the hill I go. Around a bend the Santa Monica mountains come into view. I am surprised by the lack of evidence of people on this side of the hill.

view towards Santa Monica mountains

After rounding a few more bends and climbing a few more hills, I reach my destination of Inspiration Point.

view of Century City from Inspiration Point

Next, I turn towards the ocean which is also visible from this vantage point.

view towards Santa Monica beach

The fog is obscuring the ocean view this morning so I zoom in to see what I can capture.

shoreline Santa Monica

I can just make out the shoreline through the haze. The view of the city from Inspiration Point is impressive and the LA sprawl becomes apparent. I am inspired to return with a tripod and try to capture a true 360° view. About 270 of those degrees are urban sprawl and about 90 are wilderness. On my way down, I encountered a sign pointing the way to the Backbone Trail, a ridgeline trail in the Santa Monica Mountains running from Will Rogers State park to Point Mugu. I started down the path a few steps and a sign warning about mountain lions came into view. With the recent appearance of a mountain lion in downtown Santa Monica and the fact that I was alone on my mind, I performed a 180. I will save that for another day.

Click on the highlighted text for further information about Will Rogers State Park and the many activities available there, and the Backbone Trail.

~ Sue

Close-Up and Patterned

Occasionally, to add variety to my workout routine and have a nature interlude I will head to the Santa Monica mountains for a hike, with my camera, a “photo hike” if you will.  The Solstice Canyon trail was my recent destination. It is a serene and relaxing park with a few trail options of differing difficulty levels. I decided to focus on something different to photograph this time. Instead of capturing the big picture, which I usually do when hiking on this trail, I looked to the small details.  The patterns in the leaves, rocks and tree trunks were the subjects that day. The delicate leaves of this plant still have dew drops lingering.

ground cover green carpet

A tree trunk caught my eye. . .

“A” bark

Then this fungus.

false turkey tail fungus

And the water of the stream gently flowing over the rocks.

creek-size cascade

Suddenly a loud squawk overhead pulled my attention from the quiet details of the flora to the noisy insistence of the fauna as I was joined by two parrots.


Solstice Canyon is full of opportunities to experience the beauty of the Santa Monica mountains and get exercise at the same time.  The area has been hit with many wildfires over the years and there are remains from a few of the homes that used to stand there. Next time, I will be exploring some of these; always with an eye for the details but not forgetting the big picture!

If you would like to learn more about Solstice Canyon here is a link to the National Park Service information  

~ Sue