Sunday, September 6, 2009

High Chaparral

It's funny how a girl from Illinois corn country becomes a woman of the San Gabriel chaparral.

I want to get up into the hills right now but for reasons of my own I can't go. I'm afraid the trails don't look like this anymore but that's okay. I still love them. I still want to be there. I still want to photograph them, and I will.

Until then, others are photographing the trails and the hills. Larry Wilson. Altadena Hiker. Keith Durflinger, for Pasadena Star News. Gem City Images. Mount Wilson Tower Cam. Rose Magazine. And oh, man, LA Daily News. Many more. I'll add today as I find them, or I encourage you to link to more in the comments.
The Truant Muse

Take time, if you will, to read Nancy Steele's post, How do we do nothing after the fire?
I think it'll help you begin to come to terms.


Becky said...

Could you tell me how a girl from Illinois corn country falls in love with Southern California? I moved to Pasadena about a year ago from central Illinois and still haven't "bonded."

Where are your favorite places? Any places with sky enough to seem like home?

Virginia said...

That trail is beautiful if a little treacherous pour moi! You guys out there are a climbing bunch.

Petrea said...

Oh, Becky. My first year here was tough. People advised me to find a social life and that helped. But to feel comfortable I had to think of California as a different planet and stop comparing it to Illinois. They're soooo different. Email me, please (click on top left of main page). I have a long list of favorites for you!

We are, Virginia. Some of us like to straddle city and wilderness. It's the dichotomy of our personalities and of this place, and it's why we're here.

altadenahiker said...

Oh Becky, email her right away. You won't regret it.

J+P said...

For years the first colonists of Mars felt the same as Becky. Some refused to spend more than the required time outside their plastic habitats, grumbling that the air inside smelled "more like home." But gradually, one by one, they trailed away forever as more habitats were erected and the terraforming machines throbbed. And they imitated their ancestors: they worked the rocky soil, silent in their common need. They knew the coppery sky would never be a terran blue, nor would the slopes of Hecatus Tholus rustle with the sound of cottonwood trees. Farmer or accountant, convict or boss, they'd come in the spirit of the race—after their immense journey, they knew they'd find new beauties in this strange world. The sullen sun that glowed through the smokey clouds, that had lit their childhoods on Earth, was the same that would see their last years, tanned and creased by effort, on some raw promontory. Home was what they'd brought, across the black sky. That was what saved them. They were like all people—home was what they made.

Margaret said...

Oh, I really like this one. Might be one of my favorites.

Petrea said...

I haven't heard from Becky but I hope she emails me. Becky, in case you'd rather not, here's a short list: the mountains (some trails are already open), the beach, the desert (have you been yet? It's amazing but go in winter). Nothing seems like home but if you go north and get out of LA you'll find that LA, San Diego and San Francisco are the exception, not the rule. Most of California is farm country. That's homey to me.

"Home is what they made." Sweet J.

Margaret, thanks! Really? That's nice.

Natalie DeJohn said...

I love this little trail. I feel like it's beckoning me to a magical place...

Becky said...

Thank you all for your kind comments.

Sorry I didn't respond sooner. I had a busy day (and I'm a bit of a night owl).

J+P: That's a lovely piece of writing. I'm not familiar with it. Is it of your own composition?

Petrea: I have e-mailed you, but upon rereading your comments I have another question. Which beaches would you recommend? All the ones I've been to with friends have been very crowded and commercial.

Cafe Pasadena said...

What places have you visited in CA in the year you've been here, Becky?

Also, please remembered we are the most populous state in the nation. I think it's about 1 of every 8 or 9 in our country lives here. So, it's gonna sometimes be difficult to get away from a brunch of people.

Oh, Becky, btw what does your husband think of CA?

Becky said...

Cafe Pasadena: Well, we only have one car, which my husband uses to commute. So most of the time I'm confined to within walking/biking distance in Pasadena.

In Pasadena, I've been around the Caltech area pretty extensively with a few trips into old Pasadena. And the neighborhoods I've roamed on foot.

In the LA area, we've been to all the main "touristy" areas: Hollywood, Santa Monica, Malibu. I wasn't crazy about them. I adored the Getty, but I've only managed to get there twice.

My husband spends most of his time in the Hollywood/Los Feliz/Thai Town areas. I will gladly admit that there is some AMAZING food in that area. He's a city person, so he likes California very much.

Dina said...

I read your link to Steele's post and try to learn.
For a nature-hungry former Chicago girl, the very name high chaparral always sounded mysterious and inviting. Petrea, you make it even more so, with posts like this.
John's writing reminds me of the saying "Home is where you hang your @" which kept me from extreme homesickness for eleven years on the road.

Petrea said...

Why thanks, Natalie. It is indeed magical. The Sam Merrill Trail wasn't affected by the fire. I don't know if it's open yet, but once it is, if you continue up it you can visit the ruins at Echo Mountain, and more.

Becky, those words are J+P's. I know him well. I emailed you with some beach suggestions (etc.), and I hope others will add ideas for you. Cafe is right in his stats, I think, but most people are in the cities. Once you get out of town there's plenty of wide open space.

If you adored the Getty you'll love the Huntington, the Norton Simon, the Pacific Asia Museum, the Pasadena Museum of California me out here, people...all these are in Pasadena (Huntington's in San Marino but still it's the one closest to Caltech)...

Dina, do you ever miss Chicago? You've been in Jerusalem so long now. I still miss Illinois in June, when I know everything's blooming, the bugs are buzzing and the temperature is just right.