Outdoor & Sports

WINTER FUN! – Outdoor Skating Rinks in LA

W Hotel rinkCHILL, your new boozy skating rink @ W Hotel Westwood, 930 Hilgard Avenue (310-208-8765), 21 and up.
Hours: Starting Sunday, ongoing through the winter. Mon-Fri, 3-10pm; Sat-Sun 10am -10pm
Cost: Bring your own skates and your figure eights will be FREE. Skate rental isn’t, it’s $10. The alcoholic drinks won’t be free either.
Details: “The W Hotel Westwood has created the winter wonderland our town sorely lacks, transforming its grounds into a simulated snow extravaganza complete with hybrid-ice skating rink and holiday-styled cabanas.” Woo hoo! I can’t skate, but I can definitely drink spiked pumpkin lattes with the best of ’em.

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HAPPY SUNDAY – Go outside and look at birds!

“Fall is my favorite season in Los Angeles,
watching the birds change color and fall from the trees.”

David Letterman

bird watching Click on image to view a larger version.


NATURE – The Beauty of Franklin Canyon

[vimeo width=”590″ height=”350″]http://vimeo.com/4787778[/vimeo]

*Click on the box below to launch photos from our walk around the lake*

FRANKLIN CANYON LAKE

So many people in the world believe that without ever having lived in Los Angeles they have a clear understanding of everything it is: traffic, violence, famous people, stress, opulence, plastic surgery, starlets who don’t wear underwear. But you and I both know that’s not reality. This city has a lot more to offer than most people realize… as a matter of fact, in the literal heart of Los Angeles beautiful sights exist that even L.A. residents are often oblivious to.

Franklin Canyon is 605 acres of wooded parkland located just North of Beverly Hills. It’s a great area to go for a leisurely stroll with the dog and kids, for a picnic, for a workout or a low-key nature stroll. If the area looks familiar even though you’ve never been there, there’s a very, very good reason for that. Franklin Lake, in the middle of the canyon, was originally named Myers Lake after the Production Manager on the Andy Griffith Show (Remember the opening of the show where Opie skipped rocks on a lake? Guess where that was filmed). The park also features free special events and guided walks on a regular basis and a nice 3 acre duck pond reservoir.

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FUN – Photo Walking Los Angeles

What: Worldwide Photo Walk
When: Saturday, July 18, 2009
Where: Various locations – Chinatown, Echo Park, Malibu, Venice, Venice Beach, Silverlake, Santa Monica, Pasadena, Redondo Beach, Downtown, Claremont, Laguna Beach and Palm Desert
Price: FREEEE!

Do you love taking photos but your camera’s just sitting on the shelf gathering dust? Feel like exploring town, bonding with your fellow shutterbugs, but don’t know where to go? Scott Kelby (of Photoshop fame) is hosting his 2nd Annual Worldwide Photo Walk on July 18th. Scott describes it as “…a social photography event where photographers get together, usually in a downtown area or trendy section of town, to walk around, shoot photos, and generally have fun with other photographers.” and you can see him explain the event himself on the tiny video on this page. For people who feel like entering their best photo of the day into a competition, he offers small prizes for the winners.

There is a 50 person limit on each walk and they’re filling up fast so hurry to register. If you’re late to the game but still want to go, my guess is that the very last location to fill up will be Palm Desert, solely because it’s mid-July in Palm Desert and most people don’t like watching their cameras melt in their hands.

Feel like conducting your OWN private photo walk? NOBODY’S STOPPING YOU! You could do that RIGHT NOW (unless you’re reading this at work, in which case I’d wait). Grab your camera. Dust it off. Go outside! Walk. Take photos. I’m willing to bet your photo walk will probably be more interesting than whatever you were doing.


SURPRISE! – Your Local Catfish Pond

Ever dream of going straight from work to your favorite local fishing hole to unwind… your loyal dog by your side? Unfortunately, although Andy and Opie Taylor’s fishing hole is right around the corner, fishing isn’t legal there. But if you feel like dropping your hook in the water tonight you can try skipping right down La Cienega to Kenneth Hahn Park. There’s a small, fully-stocked man-made pond right there — fully planted with catfish just three weeks ago. The catch limit is five fish per person per day and leashed dogs are welcomed. Quien es mas macho than taking home some fresh dinner you caught yourself? CATFISH. YUM.

Here are some tips on how to catch them. See pretty photos of your local catfish pond after the jump!
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=854fE08Nvog[/youtube]
If you prefer natural stream fishing, there are plenty of places for that as well… they’re just a bit more of a drive.

Never been fishing before, but still dream of channeling Brad Pitt in A River Runs Through It (sans near-drowning)? Doc’s Ski Haus in Santa Monica offers up far more than snowboards, they also hold introductory classes designed for the beginner to intermediate fly fisherperson. No fly-fishing experience is necessary. The cost is $60 dollars and it includes two one-hour classes:

First class (Wednesdays 6:30pm): You’ll learn knots that will last you a lifetime and the basics on flies;
Second class (Saturdays 9am): A casting lesson at Douglas park in Santa Monica.

As a promotion, Doc’s issues a $30 dollar credit from your tuition to spend on new equipment for your fishing trips.

OTHER CURRENT FISH-STOCKED WATERS IN LOS ANGELES Trout: Bouquet Canyon Creek, Castaic Lagoon and Pyramid Lake;  Catfish: Alondra Park Lake, Belvedere Lake, Hansen Lake, Hollenbeck Lake, Lincoln Park Lake and Magic Johnson Lake. FISHING LICENSE INFO.
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NATURE – Zoe Visits Coldwater Canyon Park

*Click on the thumbnail below to launch a photo gallery of Zoe’s hike through Tree People’s Coldwater Canyon*

Zoe Hiking Through Coldwater Canyon

My dog Zoe and I have been exploring the canyons lately. I hate to admit that despite living in L.A. for decades, up until now I’ve never really spent quality time venturing through the hills. Now that I’ve started, I can’t seem to stop. When there’s nature to discover just five minutes away, it’s a shame to stay indoors… especially since exploring the hills is free (unless you get one of those infamous stop sign tickets). One thing for certain… people who lament the lack of wildlife and trees in Los Angeles haven’t spent much time making effort to look for them. There are plenty, and close by.

So the other day I drove up to the TreePeople campus and Zoe and I went for a leisurely sunset walk. Certain parts of the trails were more populated than others, but for the most part it was very peaceful… I sat at a picnic table for a few minutes to listen to the birds, and within moments I spotted a family of deer just feet below me. FYI, one thing about Coldwater Canyon is that it can be whatever you want to be, a workout or a leisurely stroll. Also, you don’t have to worry about getting lost unless you start blazing your own trail… the paths are easy to follow.

Other web sites have already spent quality time discussing what the Park has to offer, rating the trails, and exploring the wonderful good deeds of Andy Lipkis and the great folks at TreePeople (who maintain the park and are definitely unsung heroes of Los Angeles). No need reinventing the wheel, so I’m just going to share a photo gallery from our relaxing walk and hopefully inspire you to check out the canyons for yourself. And be sure to bring your pup… a tired dog is a good dog! :)