Mountain Weekend IV: Lake Arrowhead

At this point in the trip we are leaving Lake Gregory and heading back to Lake Arrowhead, where we had dinner the night before. Since it’s a larger lake (14 mile circumference vs. Lake Gregory’s 3.5 mile circumference) we thought that would be a better way to spend the last few hours of our weekend.

It was a beautiful drive back to Lake Arrowhead. So many layers of mountains in the distance.

The day before we saw Belgian Waffle Works while walking around the town center and decided that we had to have a Sunday brunch there. It was cute and right on the waterfront of the lake.

Since it was noon, we all ordered sandwiches and split a half order of one of their signature dessert waffle dishes. The was the perfect amount of food for three people and gave us a taste of their yummy waffles without going overboard. Their batter had notes of almond in it. After lunch we shopped in a bunch of the outlet stores and got some good deals.

I can’t go into details but… we talked with a local who gave us the code to a gate along the lake. This gate leads to the path that follows Lake Arrowhead. It’s meant for locals to go for walks and also provides a nice walking path to get to the center village. So we began walking around the lake. We didn’t have a plan, but 14 miles didn’t seem to challenging (I was with 2 marathon runners, and as you know I’m a walker). Plus after 10 minutes of walking it felt like we were so far from town, we thought, lets just keep going. So we did.

The lake is lined with docks. Docks covering every inch. It was at this moment that we realized that winter is not Lake Gregory’s prime season (like for Big Bear), it’s summer when people can take their boats out. One disappointing/disturbing thing about the lake is that there were signs everywhere saying that the water was contaminated. That’s such a bummer. A pristine looking lake that you can’t swim in. It’s one of those just-for-looking-at lakes.

Homes are stacked on one another, up the steep earth leading down to the water. Usually there is an elaborate series of stairs connecting the homes to this path, and then further down to the docks. In some cases we saw chairlifts that could bring people down to the docks. It was a cool walk.

It was at this boat storage facility that we used the restrooms and decided it was time to head back. A security guard told us the path doesn’t completely follow the lake, which is what we worried about. Would we hit a dead end? We were technically trespassing on this trail to begin with. We gave in and decided to abort our mission and retrace our steps.

What a scenic view! The boat does a loop around the lake. We deiced to pass, as we did our own loop.

These castle looking homes on the steep hillside were beautiful. We finished our walk back and decided to call it a day and begin the drive back. We were all exhausted and still had a drive on our hands. We got back into LA at 6pm on Sunday, which was nice. Lindsey and I went on to Tony’s Darts Away that night which was the perfect end to our getaway.

Presidents Day… A Lil’ Teaser

I hope you are all having a fabulous long weekend. Is it really already Monday night? I have a few things to tell you about this week and the photo above is a teaser. I went on one Secret Stair walk (I was bad and should have done 2 or 3). I also went on a few hikes from my hike book today, which I will share with you later this week. Hope your weekend was epic!

LA Walk #1 Castellammare: Pacific Palisades’ “Castle On The Sea”

This past Sunday I ventured out to the Pacific Palisades for what I was expecting to be a chilly ocean-air walk. Turns out that the end of November in Los Angeles is gorgeous. The weather was a perfect 75 degrees. If you are new to the blog, then I must explain that I have the goal of completing all 38 walks from the book Walking L.A. Second Edition (by Erin Mahoney Harris) in the year 2011. I’ve got a month and a couple days to finish my last 5… I’m so close I can taste it. Anywho, back to the Palisades.

The walk takes you through a beautiful neighborhood where everyone has views of the water. This walk also introduces a new area where you can park, walk over a bridge and be at the beach without having to pay a ridiculous amount to park (SCORE!). It was such a nice day, I couldn’t resist the ocean and had to put my feet in.

One thing I must point out about this neighborhood is that everyone was extremely friendly. Most people along these walks are polite, but considering it was such a ritzy neighborhood and it would have been very easy for people to be suspicious instead of gregarious. One woman drove by and slowed to wish me a happy walk. Very sweet people.

One eerie tale that the book notes is that actress Thelma Todd died in this home (that you pass along the walk) in 1935 from carbon monoxide poisoning, and it’s never been determined if it was suicide, an accident or foul play. Suspicious.

If you buy the L.A. Walks book and do walk #1 (or decide to explore the Castellammare area) be sure to visit a nearby hike in the Topanga State Park. One somewhat quiet (aka secret) hike begins near this neighborhood. Take Paseo Miramar (off Sunset) until it ends. Park along the road and begin the hike on the fire road. This hike begins among mansions and takes you into the mountains with stunning views of the ocean. This hike is a challenge and on hot days, beware of snakes, but this hike is unlike anything else and worth doing. P.S. Bring a camera.