Stopping to Smell the Roses

Isn’t it amazing how easy it is to stick to our daily/weekly routines and not check out the sites and activities that are right at our fingertips and in our backyards when we live in a certain location? In Los Angeles, there is no shortage of fun things to do no matter what your interest may be. However, prior to the beginning of this year, most of what I’d seen included stretches of PCH and canyons to bike up and down (very beautiful, I might add!), beaches that I’d practiced open water swimming in, and trails that I frequented for my runs.Ahh, the triathlete lifestyle.... Now that I’ve had some forced downtime due to injuries (blog post coming on those soon), I’ve also had a little time to explore more of my non-triathlon related surroundings.

In late March, I had the opportunity to check out the Cherry Blossom Festival at Descanso Gardens, a turnaround point for one of my favorite bike routes in Pasadena but somewhere I’d never actually stopped in. I’d always heard of the gorgeous Cherry Blossom Festivals in Washington DC and wanted to go, so was very excited when I heard one was just miles away from me. I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the flowers in the garden, especially the rose and tulip gardens. But the highlight of the day for me probably had to be making an origami flower at the kids station: in my defense I didn’t see a sign stating an age limit and I’ve always been a kid at heart haha! Good times! Ironically, in the following weeks, I noticed that most of the intros for the show “The Voice” before the live performances were shot at Descanso Gardens. My husband, Tony, and I constantly found ourselves saying to each other, “Hey, I know that archway!” or “Remember that tree?!” Too funny... The benefits of living near Hollywood I guess?

Another little gem Tony and I discovered is Mount San Jacinto State Park which is actually located at the top of the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway about 8500 feet up in the air. After about a 10 minute trip up in a rotating car, you're there! After climbing stairways to get access to observation decks, you’re able to get even closer to 10,000 feet and see breathtaking panoramic views of the desert. Just walking around and taking in the views, this was a great reminder of what acclimating to altitude was like in Colorado – lots of deep breaths needed and a good workout for my heart! In addition to the altitude, I was a fan of the cooler temps – about 40 degrees cooler than the entrance to the Aerial Tramway down below and cool enough for a down jacket for this native Floridian. While walking around the grounds of the park, I learned how to tell the age of the trees (counting the rings) and also how to identify the various types of birds that were flying around (among other things). Since the park allows you to do as little or as much as you choose, this is definitely a location I’d recommend for all ages and family vacays too!

I look forward to exploring more exciting locales in my area in the near future and sharing their “fun” rating with you!


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