The Not So Subtle Surprises Of Los Angeles' Best Kept Secret - The Santa Monica Mountains

Although I’ve called these hills home for 7 years, there hasn’t been a single time that I’ve headed out into the Santa Monica Mountains without being pleasantly surprised by what I come across. While the terrain and the topography may prove familiar, the aesthetics are rarely a constant…the same hillside, or the same oak grove, or even the same sandstone rock will look different from hour to hour, day to day, week to week. Much of this has to do with the extremely colorful myriad of climate zones that take residence in this range due to its proximity to both the crisp coastal climate of Pacific Ocean, and the much warmer San Fernando Valley inland. The constant interplay between these various zones provides an ever-changing landscape, especially from the visual perspective. 

This was never as evident to me as it was last week. 

Due to work and other personal obligations, It had been a few weeks since I’ve been able to get regular dose of self-imposed outdoor therapy, so when I finally got a few hours to hike out into the hills and drive around through some of the familiar winding roads that snake through this magical mountain range, I jumped on it. Over the two days that I spent out there, these are just some of the scenes that I ran across. The sunset scenes come from various points and lookouts along Stunt Road, while the park scenes are all form within Malibu Creek State Park, where I enjoy spending time volunteering from time to time, so I've become quite familiar with that gem. The only disturbing thing I saw…just another sign and testament of how bad our drought has become…was the Malibu Creek bed:

In the 8 years I’ve been coming here, I’ve never been able to walk directly in the middle of the creek like this, especially this time of year. Not a drop of water was to be found. The driest I’ve seen it is usually around August, and even then, there’s still some water creeping through and ducks taking advantage of whatever is left. In any case, it was just another reminder of how everything is in a constant state of change and evolution, and there was a certain comforting beauty to be found in that as well.

Anyhow, below is a gallery of images from those few days in various points along that mountain range. It's hard to believe these were all taken a mere 25 minutes from Los Angeles. If click on any of them, it will show them larger in a slideshow lightbox. Hope you enjoy.

And if you’re not sick of me yet, and you want some more visual stuffamabobs…git it:
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