Continuing on with the saga of wandering around in L.A. -
While searching for one of the least-visited areas in the Santa Monica Mountains, Tuna Canyon's Big Rock Lateral overlook point, I ended up inadvertently finding another gem, the Old Topanga Road Fire Lookout point.
A drive in the mountains behind Malibu is nice enough that you don't really get too worried when you realized that you might have missed the turn off you were looking for. Besides, maybe that unintentional side trip will have you encountering some massive dilapidated radio tower which leads you to wondering just how exactly you can get up to see the damn thing. Sure enough, I found an overlook spot maintained by the Santa Monica Mountains Conservation Authority that seemed to have a trailhead somewhere nearby. (By the way, click on the SMCA link if you ever plan on visiting this area, and then thank me later!)
After accidentally hiking around the perimeter of this hill to the base of a hill that provided no access to the tower, I did what I learned to do as a kid who grew up amongst the hills and the chaparral of Souther California-- I bounded straight up the damn hill. Yeah, it's not typically what I would endorse doing, but oh well. As an added bonus, after brushing up against all the vegetation on the way up, I was coated with a scent familiarly specific to chaparral vegetation--something along the lines of sage and other shrubs-- a scent that brings back awesome childhood memories of running around in the hills behind my neighborhood.
L.A. Smog meets Santa Monica Bay fog.
Mt. Baldy as seen from Old Topanga Fire Lookout point.
Beautiful San Fernando Valley and the Newhall Pass way in the background.
As soon as I found my way down to the Tuna Canyon Big Rock Lateral overlook, I got a sweet view of the Radio tower from down below. Wow.
...As well as the fog creeping from over the Pacific as the sun went down.
(Fog creeping in .gif below)
That peninsula all the way in the background is Point Dume, home to John Fante's short story, "My Dog Stupid", and the "Dr. Seuss plant" (Giant Coreopsis).
Having to take my sister to LAX the next day gave us an opportunity to search around for someplace to eat before we bid her adieu. While subjecting my family to my El Segundo shortcuts, we stumble upon The Proud Bird. If you're into the history of corporate airline industry, experimental air craft, or the U.S. Air Force, it's worth a visit as there are interesting photos and artifacts to be found all over the place. Oh yeah, the food and drink was good, too, even if it was the exact same menu as another airplane-themed restaurant near the Van Nuys airport. I came to find out that a corporate restaurant chain owns both restaurants as well as a many other similar ones nationwide, of course.
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