Sunrise at Echo Mountain

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Transitions and difficult decisions kept me up all night and I knew the day ahead was going to be a big challenge. So around 5am I decided to do a couple of things that I’d never tried before. The first was to eat a sandwich while taking a shower. It was half of a left over subway sandwich and it was a pseudo success. The second however was witnessing a fantastic sunrise hike to the top of Altadena’s Echo Mountain.

I left my new home in San Marino (south of CalTech and Pasadena) around 5:30am and headed straight up Lake Ave. After a while, just as the road reaches the base of the mountain, it curves sharply to the left. You can park anywhere near there to access the trailhead, which is through the gate on the right. As I ascended the mountain the sky slowly became lighter and just as I reached the peak about an hour later, the sun was coming up over the neighboring mountains. The sunlight also illuminated various piles of rubble from the old hotel that used to sit on top of the mountain. Around the turn of the century (1900, not 2000) a wealthy man called Mr. Lowe (after whom the neighboring mountain was named) had built a hotel / sanatorium here, and even commissioned the construction of a railroad to take well to do folks up and down. The property had event contained a zoo and observatory before being destroyed (twice) by strong winds and fires.

Before heading back down the mountain, I did some stretching and considered all the options that I was facing and large swath of feedback that I’d received. In a moment of smog free clarity, I saw exactly what I needed to do and gleefully skipped down the hill towards a meeting that would impact my life greatly, as well as the lives of the community around me, in unquantifiable ways.

Exciting times 😉

A Walk in the Huntington Gardens

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One of my favorite places in LA is the Huntington Library and Gardens in San Marino. For the last few years I’ve been a member which gives you access (plus a guest) to the fantastically well kept grounds. It’s an unbelievable place to come and forget about the smoggy city that sprawls across more than 100 sq miles just south west from here.

Occasionally, when I have a bunch of phone calls to make, I’ll take the 15 minute drive from my downtown LA loft and instead choose to take the calls from any one of the various thematic gardens. The picturesque Japanese Garden (see above) and the Dr. Seussian Desert Garden (pictures below) are two of my favorites.

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The Heat of the Summer at the Farm

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It is massively hot and fruitful up at the North Fork farm. Boxes of swollen tomatoes need to be plucked almost daily and squash is literally jumping out of the soil. The terrace that I’d begun the previous month is near completion (as Katy’s proud stance affirms!) and will soon be home to a row of fruit trees. I really hope to one day eat the fruit from these trees!

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After the days work, I’d escape the scorching heat back at the studio, where I’d write in my journal and take breaks to meditate or do some yoga on the porch. Sometimes I’d just sit on the large rock that protruded from the cliff’s edge and look at the river below and the mountains that shot up on the other side. The grasses and brush had turned a rich golden carpet and was pierced by the still green trees that stood defiantly against the oppressive heat. The only noise from this vantage point is the gushing of a nearby waterfall and the occasional hawk call, telling all the little rodents and animals to watch their step.

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