Sun. Oct 17th, 2021

Some of the most beautiful redwood trees on the coast of Southern California frame a hidden chapel on the Palos Verdes Peninsula. However, first know this: Coastal redwood trees do not grow naturally in LA. They thrive in cold, foggy coastal zones from the Oregon border to the Santa Lucia Mountains in southern Monterey County. Sequoia sempervirens growing out of their natural reach have been purposefully planted.

This is what happened in 1951, when the architect Lloyd Wright, son of the famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright, was tapped by the Swedish bourgeois church to build a chapel on a hill overlooking the sea. Inside, he used redwood pillars that climbed and formed tree-like branches overhead to frame the building. Outside, coastal redwoods – not as large as those to the north – embrace the building with green limbs. Italian pine trees provide a different variety of trees. The walls are glass that brings nature and faith together in an indoor-outdoor spiritual space.

Wayfarers Chapel still stands today. Everyone can stop by to visit the place at 5755 Palos Verdes Drive South in Rancho Palos Verdes (it is sometimes without limits for visitors if there is a wedding or other ceremony).

Where else can you find redwoods outside their natural area? Many places around SoCal. Some examples: Carbon Canyon Regional Park in Brea has a stand of coastal redwoods; an easy loop track gives you close-ups. (See details about hiking here). You will also find redwoods in Griffith Park’s Cedar Grove and Fern Dell areas.

4 things to do this week

Water swirls down in pools in Monrovia Canyon Park.

The waterfalls at Monrovia Canyon Park.

(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

1. Take a hike to the falls of Monrovia Canyon Park. These waterfalls were without borders for about a year after the Bobcat fire in 2020 swept through the Angeles National Forest. Trails in Monrovia Canyon Park, about 26 miles from downtown LA, reopened Aug. 30 after volunteers removed dirt and knocked down trees. However, you must reserve a seat before you go. Choose a long or short hike: three-quarters of a mile each way from the nature center, 1 mile each way from the Middle Parking Lot, or 1.5 miles each way from the ranger station. There is more information here about the park and reservations. Check out other waterfalls on these hikes, though not all of them may be running due to the drought.

Photo of an altar decorated with paper flowers and flags

The Beloved Pets Ofrenda at LA Zoo.

(LA Zoo)

2. Post a photo of your beloved pet at the LA Zoo’s Day of the Dead altar. Offeror altars are places to honor the memory of those you have loved. It is part of the Latinx tradition Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, which takes place on 1 and 2 November. LA Zoo has created its first space where people can remember their pets. Bring photos (or print them on the spot on Saturdays and Sundays), decorate frames and / or draw pictures of animals on the altar that have an arch of orange paper flowers. Visitors can send their memories until November 2 at the beloved pet’s Ofrenda in zoos Tree Tops Terrace (with access to zoo, $ 22 aged 13 to 61 years, $ 17 aged 2 to 12 years; timed tickets purchased recommended in advance). More info here.

A photo illustration of a swan's neck and head

Tundra swans spend the winter in California.

(Micah Fluellen / Los Angeles Times; Getty Images)

3. Look for tundra swans at their favorite Northern California winter home. Tundra swans live in the Arctic but like to spend the winter in California. The birds, which weigh about 20 pounds and have a wingspan of 5½ feet, congregate in large numbers near Marysville in Yuba County, where you will also likely see geese, ducks, shorebirds and birds of prey. Free two-hour swan tours host the California Department of Fish and Wildlife at 6 p.m. 9.30 and 13.00 on 6, 13, 20 and 27 November; 4, 11 and 18 December; and January 1 and 8. Sign up in advance by sending an email to

Two women on bikes take a selfie

Drive among the vineyards of the Napa Valley at CampoVelo.


Participate in a cycling weekend for women in the Napa Valley. Here’s a weird pairing: chefs and cycling pros. The two come together during a women’s event 22.-24. October called CampoVelo, a wine country cycling weekend that has plenty to eat, drink and ride. You can choose the easy 20-mile flat Cupcake route led by chef Kara Lind or choose 30- and 57-mile spins along country roads. Cycling professionals including Lauren Hall will participate. Admission costs $ 245 for a single day or $ 795 for three days. More info here.

The red flag

A graphic shows a high-pressure dome over Los Angeles with arrows indicating heat being pushed out of it

How Heat Waves Form in Southern California

(Paul Duginski / Los Angeles Times)

Do LA’s hottest days seem different from the last few years? There is a reason for that. “Climate change is changing the nature of the West’s hottest periods – making them more frequent, more persistent, more humid and more deadly,” reports a Times story. “Experts say that this shift in heat waves should provoke changes in emergency messages and response to public health to prevent the death toll from rising. But it does not happen. “What does it take to wake people up to the potentially deadly threat?” Read the full story here.

Cool stuff

Cover of the book The Valley of the Giants

Lauren DeLaunay Miller fell in love with climbing in Yosemite. Then she set out to find women from the past who had been fascinated by the large granite walls. She discovered that they were largely left out of the park’s climbing history. Now Miller has compiled an anthology of stories and essays called “Valley of Giants: Stories From Women at the Heart of Yosemite Climbing” (coming out in April from Mountaineers Books).

“I’m not a historian by subject, but it does not take a genius to see that in 1972 and 1973 we get Roe vs. Wade, we get title IX, and we also get the first female woman ascent of El Capitan, ”she told Climbing magazine. “These things are not coincidences. This book is about climbing, of course, but it really showed me how much it’s not just about climbing. ”

The must-read

Illustration of two birds chirping to each other

Noise can have a greater effect on animals and plants than we think.

(Illustration by Lisa Kogawa / For The Times)

Do you remember when we were downgraded during the early days of the pandemic? There was much less noise. “We have a glimpse of what can happen with less human noise,” neuroscientist Nina Kraus wrote in a statement from the LA Times. “While the human world was temporarily quiet in the first weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, the natural world apparently spun the volume button up to levels not heard for decades. Many of us who opened a window or gently walked outside in the spring 2020, suddenly heard birdsong everywhere. “Kraus believes that we should take note of this, because” the power of sound is often underrecognized “, especially when it comes to how plants and animals react.Read the rest of the piece here.


Equipment for making snow in action

Snow (and snowmaking) arrived at the Mammoth Mountain Ski Area this week.

(Peter Morning / Mammoth Mountain Ski Area)

Snow has arrived in the eastern Sierra. The Mammoth Mountain Ski Area in Mammoth Lakes, California, received its first blast of the white stuff this week, with a base-level foot and 14 inches on top of 11,053 feet. The resort does not plan to open until November 13, but snowmaking has begun.

Opening dates (weather permitting) for California resorts include Nov. 19 for the Snow Summit and Nov. 26 for Bear Mountain at the Big Bear Mountain Resort in Big Bear Lake; after Nov. 1 for Mountain High near Wrightwood; and Nov. 24 at Snow Valley Mountain Resort in Running Springs. Tahoe Area Resorts: November 19 for Heavenly Ski Resort, November 24 for Palisades Tahoe (formerly Squaw Valley) and December 3 for Kirkwood Mountain Resort.

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Click to view the web version of this newsletter and share it with others, and sign up to have it sent weekly to your inbox. I am Mary Forgione, and I write The Wild. I have been exploring trails and open areas in Southern California for four decades.

Mary Forgione

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