Saturday, August 11

Palomar Mountain


If you live in or near LA, Palomar Mountain is both an easy weekend or day trip that makes you feel like you made it to a little island in the sky, full of meadows, forests, a lake, and fresh air. Like most of my adventures, I found out about Palomar from a Sunset magazine issue, my guide to life, basically. Heading south on the 5, you hit Oceanside and go straight up to the mountains, a slightly winding road, but nothing a pillow over the eyes can't get you through. If you arrive early enough you can still catch breakfast at Mother's Kitchen, vegetarian sausage patties, a patio in the woods, and lots of fresh baked goods.


 Palomar Observatory is where it gets kind of weird, because there are big blobs of white sturdy science just peeking out over the hills. It seems kind of alien in a very beautiful way. The details of the building, old marble bathrooms, sketches and typography from the past, the tour by the old man, the really strong winds.



During my first visit to Palomar, I very boldly announced that it was better than Yosemite. After visiting Yosemite shortly after that statement, I wouldn't say it's completely true, the views are not as obviously spectacular, but there is something even more important about going on a hike and feeling like you're the only person in the world. Sometimes enjoying nature in silence is worth more than the most majestic mountains. And it gets even better when you go with good friends, telling stories and laughing through all the tall grass and night stars. We made it to the little beach of rock slab at the end of the hike and dipped our legs in the creek. That moment stays with me.


rosemary from South Gate

We took cues from Carlos, our last camping chef, and made a Mexican, Peruvian, and English meal over the campfire.

size small Pendleton from a Downey yard sale

Singing at our highest pitch to Joni Mitchell, making our way back into town for more ice and beer, we passed a big white horse and a barn sale where we bought Skyfire Ranch soap from a woman who wore white clips in her hair, a fire opal necklace, held her own sheep's wool in her hand and told us about the origin of the word spinster.

And then Jorge caught me in my natural state: weekend red lips, hair down, just after running through a field.

natural state

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