The Places

the sunlight glowing over the dry grasses and joshua trees

This page is dedicated to the nature in Southern California.
Mostly plants, but you’ll find some animals and rocks too.
The areas I go often will be getting their pages first, and blog posts will show up on those pages. This is a collection page to make navigating easier.

My Google Maps list of Pretty Places in Socal!

This page sorted by location.


Want to know more about the people that choose the plants all around the city? LA City Plants!
America the Beautifulthe Park Pass for the ages.


South Coast Botanic Garden

Located down in Palos Verdes, this lovely garden sits on the site of a converted landfill.

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The brightly rainbow sign at the entrance of DiscOasis

DiscOasis at SCBG

DiscOasis. It’s an oasis of disco in an otherwise disco-less land. Open until Labor Day at South Coast Botanic Garden.

The GLOW Fades

After a couple months of GLOW at South Coast Botanic Garden, it’s time to look back at the light and the music. (For those who didn’t attend – it’s a walking / music / plant / light show with a water theme)


Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua tree is a wonderful patch of desert out in Southern California. It takes its name from the ‘tree’ (succulent) known as the Joshua Tree.

I tend to take the highway over to the Visitor’s Center, then a straight shot on down to the park entrance.

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A section of the desert that looks out over snowy peaks

DRECP – Renewable Energy in SoCal’s Deserts

The powers-that-be want to streamline a process where desert land can be handed over to energy developers who want to invest in clean energy infrastructure. They’ve written a plan – the DRECP (Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan) – to delineate what is allowed to go where.

A familiar scene at Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree: After Hours

I recently headed over to Joshua Tree, hoping to catch some stars or some snow. Neither of my hopes came true. The sky stayed overcast the whole evening, and the ground dry. And it was perfect and still and I loved every minute.


Palos Verdes Peninsula

Palos Verdes Peninsula is a hilly (or mountainous) region at the southwestern tip of Los Angeles County. It’s got a swath of cliffs hanging over rocky beaches, and a wonderful view of Catalina. Last but not least, it’s got dozens of outdoor spots to enjoy.

Visit the page for a long list of hiking and other outdoors places.

I tend to visit Pelican Cove, just because I love the long walk down to the ocean. Keeps you well away from cars.

Content coming soon!


And for places not listed above…

An amazing stone outcropping overlooking a trail in Utah

A Trip Through the Heated Southwest

One of the most astounding road trips I’ve ever taken. I won’t go much into the personal details, except that my wonderful wife makes the most perfect travel companion. We went together on every leg of the trip, down every path and through every wonderful snack.

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The wide expanse of desert, with no easy shade for the trip

Walking Under the Sun’s Fury

It is 1pm and 110F-ish. I’m hiding in the shade of a rock lip in Vasquez Park. I missed the desert. This post written before I cooked under the heat of the sun.

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A sturdy Chaparral Yucca partially buried in snow

Searching for Snow near LA

If you’ve been watching the San Gabriel Mountains north of LA, you’ve seen the snow. I wanted to see the snow up close, and not just through a few dozen miles of pollution. The environment changes completely at 5000 feet altitude, only a few miles off the 210. Find out about the Icehouse Canyon Trail and plan out a trip while there’s still snow!

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I run my critter observations through a few networks:

iNaturalist : This is the collection of my observations made (entirely, so far) through the phone app. Just remember to put in as much information into each observation as you can, and the suggestions seem spot on. Location is very important. “iNaturalist is a joint initiative of the California Academy of Sciences and the National Geographic Society.” If you’re into birding or keeping track of any other flora or fauna, this is a pretty nifty setup.

As it stands, I typically hand-hold a monocle to my phone camera, and that seems to be doing alright for distances up to 25 ft for sparrow-sized birds. At least, when I’m in full sunlight. I haven’t used the plant side of it, but as I type this I realize I’ve been missing out.
Update slightly later: The plant side works pretty darn well too!

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology‘s Bird Net. They have just so darn much information. And the various apps they connect and reference (in particular, Merlin and BirdNET). Okay, honestly, I use BirdNET considerably more. The ability to identify birds by sound (especially when they’re sometimes so hard to get ahold of visually) is pretty useful. Definitely hit Save before you hit Analyze. If you don’t, the Save option goes away. (On second thought, maybe it autosaves? I need to try uploading my recordings!)


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