Mountains, Ocean, Tar Pits, and China

I felt like I hadn’t done much the past few weeks (hence the lack of blogging), as I’ve had the flu everyone around the country is catching. It caused me to cancel all my hiking plans to rest up, but it led me to exploring more, so I still have plenty to share.

Driving back from Nevada after Christmas was terrible. I hoped to do lots of exploring through the Sierra Mountains on my way back, stopping at Lake Tahoe to hike, but my head, ears, and nose were so stuffed up and in pain from the elevation changes that I scratched adventure off my list for the drive back to LA. That didn’t stop me from taking some cool pictures and stopping to see a Lemon House however. The drive was gorgeous, going through parts of the mountains and eventually driving between different ranges. It’s interesting how different the mountain ranges look from each other.

A few days after getting back I headed to the beach and tide pools again, hoping the vitamin D from the sun would help me feel better. Of course the sun disappeared shortly after getting there, so I enjoyed checking out the sea life instead. A day at the beach is never wasted, and I had a wonderful time exploring the shores of the deep blue ocean.

I was lucky enough to have a friend come visit for a few days for New Years. She and I stayed in an Airbnb place called “The Perch.” It was a 70s style loft apartment in a very trendy and hipster part of town. With a working fireplace and jacuzzi hot tub, my friend and I were quite spoiled. The weather was rainy and cold for her first day visiting, but that didn’t stop us from exploring Venice beach and Santa Monica, and later going out in Hollywood to welcome in 2017. We spent the next few days returning to Venice on a sunny day, consuming ice cream and coffee, checking out Rodeo Drive, and exploring the Magnificent Mile.

The Magnificent Mile is now one of my favorite areas of LA. There are a bunch of different museums along a few blocks, including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Folk Art Museum, and the La Brea Tar Pits. We headed over to the tar pits, and learned all about the prehistoric mammoths and other species of animals that were trapped in the (still active) tar pits in the center of LA. Over 5 million fossils have been recovered from the tar pits, and more are still being uncovered. After the tar pits we checked out the different sculptures and art around the LACMA, grabbing some delicious food truck food across the street.

A few days after saying goodbye to my friend I headed over to Chinatown in East Los Angeles to get a taste of the Chinese culture. Walking into Chinatown was like walking into a different country (go figure), and I enjoyed wandering into the many shops and grabbing authentic Chinese food for dinner. I also read up on the history of Chinatown from one of the signs on the sidewalk. When the Chinese first moved to LA they were not allowed to become citizens of the United States for a while, and so they held closely to their culture and built their own Chinese city. The people of Chinatown were still so involved with China that they raised money to send as relief to their home country in times of war.

I took the subway over to Chinatown to avoid traffic, and had the pleasure of switching lines at the historic Union Station, the original train of Los Angeles. The station reminded me of the Grand Central Station in NYC, with its beautiful architecture and grandness. With LA being an ever-growing and changing city, it was cool to see another chunk of history being preserved.

My next adventure will start tonight as I have another friend coming to visit for a few days. The weather has mostly been cold (50s) and rainy or cloudy the last few weeks, so I’m hoping for some sun this week. We will probably do some more city exploring and beach-going…life is pretty relaxing right now. I’m beginning to brainstorm my trip back home, but with how cold it has been there (-20) I’m in denial that I have to go back soon. I still have a few more adventures to go on here, including checking out San Diego, hiking in the Sequoia National Forest, and hiking in Joshua Tree. Now I just need the weather to cooperate!


Lemon House


Sierra Mountains


Abandoned in the mountains




Snails underwater




Sea urchins




Sea grass


Small crab



Rainy day in Venice beach



La Brea Tar Pits


Mammoth fossil


Interactive art at LACMA


The Lamps at LACMA


Healthy and fresh food truck food



Union Station


Fountain at Union Station


Hummingbird in fountain





Shopping in China(town)



Welcome gate to Chinatown





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