All posts tagged: mountains

Best of Fall Fun Hitlist

Words by Christina Huntington // Photography by Sarah Prikryl In Southern California, we don’t measure the change of seasons in terms of sun or snow. We measure it in light. Did you catch the subtle shift in sunlight this week—all that bright yellow of Summer fading into the hazy gold of Fall? If so, you may have been filled with a strange urge to stock-pile sweaters and buy everything with a pumpkin on it. Pumpkin coffee, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin toothpaste? Sure, throw it all in the cart! Amidst the first-week-of-Fall flurry, we here at Sirens & Scoundrels have been inundated with requests for our “Best of Fall” adventure recommendations. Lucky for you, we happen to be experts on the matter. So to get you prepped for the cozy months ahead, we present you with our “Best of Fall Fun Hitlist”…all the best of the best for getting out into the world and exploring the many gorgeous, off-the-beaten-path treasures that make Autumn in California feel so magical. So grab your list and check it twice…you won’t want to miss …

Happy Ours Ranch ~ Utah

Words by Christina Huntington // Photography by Sarah Prikryl // Contributing Photography by Gina Cholick Halfway between Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park lies a little secret gem tucked away amongst the rolling green fields of Glendale, UT. Winding your way off the main highway onto a sprawling expanse of ranch land, a small dirt trail slowly circles the grounds to finally reveal the sweetest home-away-from-home a cabin lover could ever dream of. Beautifully hand-built by the family who own and run the property, Happy Ours Ranch makes all your tiny cabin fantasies come true the moment you lay eyes upon it. Quaint and cozy, this wood and tin delight has enough charm to tempt you away from ever leaving the property…even with the astonishing draw of Zion and Bryce just a short car ride away. On the hunt for the perfect pied-à-terre to kick up our feet and rest our heads during our Summer Sirens Utah Roadtrip, we knew we hit the jackpot when we stumbled across Happy Ours Ranch on HomeAway.com. It was everything we could have …

Bryce Canyon ~ Utah

Words by Christina Huntington // Photography by Sarah Prikryl // Contributing Photography by Gina Cholick Deep in the heart of Utah lies a surrealist dreamland sprung to life. If Salvador Dalí painted the Grand Canyon full of drippy peach candlestick mountains all melting in the desert sun while Indiana Jones hosted an archaeological dig for extraterrestrial life at the center of it all…that pretty much sums up what Bryce Canyon National Park feels like. At once awe-inspiring, mind-blowing and really pretty trippy. We took a one-day excursion out to Bryce in the middle of our Zion adventure week to take in some new scenery and hit some new trails. An easy 2-hour drive east of Zion, Bryce is definitely the wild child amongst its sleeker Utah and Arizona canyon cousins. If the Grand Canyon is Mozart, Bryce Canyon is Bowie. Nothing to see here but mind-bending intergalactic rock ‘n roll mountainsides incarnate in nature. Upon arrival, we decided to take in the lay of the land as our first endeavor. The road into Bryce is laid out in a loop where …

Zion National Park

Words by Christina Huntington // Photography by Sarah Prikryl // Contributing Photography by Gina Cholick A couple years ago, I came across a photo of a giant bright peach of a mountainside towering over a meandering aqua river adorned with patches of bright green fluffy trees dozing under a hazy golden sunset. It seemed like something out of a dream. Or perhaps a distant memory from some other world where only peace, beauty and tranquility exist. A mythological fantasy planet that someone managed to come back to Earth with visual proof of. I recognized it somehow, though I had never seen it before. This intense feeling immediately rushed up from deep down inside my soul and commanded, “We must go to there!!” I could almost taste the gorgeous landscape on my tongue, hear it whispering in my ear. My eyes searched for the name of this biblical Eden incarnate until they landed on the word “Zion”. Of course…Zion. I had heard the tales many times from others who had made the epic journey before me but this was the first time …

Wildflower Hunt ~ California Superbloom

Words by Christina Huntington  // Photography by Sarah Prikryl // Contributing Photograph by: Adam Grimes If you live in California, you have no doubt been inundated all spring with photos of your friends and every Instagram model under the sun frolicking in fields of orange poppies alongside the word “Superbloom!” with varying degrees of exclamation points. (PRO DECODER TIP: three “!!!” generally means a 10/10 experience.) While the neon blooms of the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve are certainly reminiscent of Dorothy’s intoxicating fields on her way to the merry old land of Oz, we honestly would not recommend this particular destination if you’re looking to get up close and personal with some California blossoms. Officially overrun with way too many visitors who were clearly never taught to “leave no trace”, you have a pretty fat chance of being able to peacefully commune with the beauty of nature at this ever-more-popular spot. But the good news is that due to our record rainfall this past winter, ALL of California is experiencing a Superbloom right now. Just walk outside …

Waterfall Hikes in LA ~ San Gabriel Mountains

Words by Christina Huntington // Photography by Sarah Prikryl Spring has officially sprung in LA! After one of our wettest winters in recent history, the waterfalls of LA are overflowing! Located just 30 minutes from the heart of the city, there are no excuses not to get out there and enjoy them. Grab your dog, grab your friends, go run around the mountains and splash in some waterfall pools like kids again. Added bonus: the hills are alive with spring wildflowers of every color! So let your inner Fräulein Maria out to play…mountaintop twirling totally optional. SWITZER FALLS~ Just a few miles into the San Gabriel Mountains past La Cañada Flintridge near Mt. Wilson, Switzer Falls is one of the most impressive waterfalls in Los Angeles. The mostly shaded Gabrielino Trail winds you next to and through a gushing stream in Arroyo Seco Canyon for the first part of the hike. (HOT TIP: you criss-cross the stream continually on your hike. Wear proper footwear and be prepared to get your feet wet…it’s part of the fun!) When you …

Travel Tales ~ Yosemite

Words & Photography by Alex M. Rice  //  Interview by Christina Huntington Known primarily as a popular summer camping destination, we’ve always been huge fans of Yosemite in winter. So when we heard that one of our favorite recent LA transplants, designer and photographer Alex Rice, was heading to our beloved National Park for a solo winter adventure, we convinced her to let us tag along…by sharing her travel tales with us! We love that Alex was inspired by our same mission to get out and make your life an adventure! So come along for the ride on our first Travel Tales ~ YOSEMITE!  HAPPY ADVENTURING!! xoxo, Sirens & Scoundrels Instead of wearing a sparkly, uncomfortable party dress and hitting the city streets of LA for the New Year, I decided to immerse myself in nature. Although I was looking forward to the new year, 2016 had some incredible memories—living with my best friend in Washington D.C., working with talented artists and traveling with my mother to Montana. But after moving from Burke, VA (a place that was familiar …

Sierra Fall Colors ~ June Lake Loop, CA

October in Southern California. That exciting time of year when pumpkin patch corn mazes start popping up around town, the smell of autumn candles wafts through the air, thoughts of warm apple pies baking in the oven fill your mind and the internet explodes with #pumpkinspice mania. A deep primal need to pull on a sweater, snuggle by a fire and see trees bursting with fall colors begins to take over. Until you realize it’s 90° outside and we’re still stuck between our two seasons of green and greener, warm and insanely hot. Growing up in LA, we only got to experience “real fall” by hopping on a plane to visit our family on the East Coast once in a while. New England always seemed to hold the title for Best Fall Colors in the country. Clearly the Charles Wysocki puzzles I diligently put together fireside on my sunny-and-clear 75° holidays would back that up. I would place each little puzzle piece of bright orange, red and yellow trees next to mini Americana homes with …

The Grand Canyon ~ Arizona

If you were a kid growing up on the West Coast, pretty much everyone has a story about being packed up into the car between siblings, Mom and Dad popping in a John Denver cassette tape on repeat and making the long desert drive out to see the Grand Canyon, where you took a bunch of photos that got tucked away in an album, never to be seen again. As a native Angeleno, I somehow made it into my third decade without ever seeing our great Canyon—a strange and shocking fact to most people, including myself. I was equally shocked when last year out of nowhere, I suddenly had a burning urge to see it. It just hit deep in my soul one day, like a command. As a meditation teacher, I’ve learned to listen to these Soul Calls, even if they don’t seem to make sense. So with one adventurous friend in tow, I headed out to see what this whole Grand Canyon thing was all about—knowing it’d probably be a very different experience seeing …

Hidden Malibu ~ Malibu Hills, CA

Cruising along PCH with the top down, laying on golden sandy beaches with the sun on your skin, surfing the crashing waves of the Pacific, strolling into a romantic ocean sunset…that’s usually what comes to mind when people suggest a trip out to Malibu. As Cali girls, we’re naturally big fans of the beach—that just goes with the territory. But what if we were to tell you that our absolute favorite parts of Malibu are nowhere even close to sand or sea? That tucked in the mountains far away from the ocean crowds are countless secret treasures just waiting to be explored? There is, in fact, gold up in them there hills! So come take a little trip with us to discover…Hidden Malibu. MULHOLLAND WINE COUNTRY Did you know that Napa Valley exists right here in the middle of LA? Deep within the Malibu Hills just off of Kanan, a couple-mile strip of Mulholland turns into Los Angeles Wine Country. As you hit the mountain crest, suddenly little green vineyards begin to stretch across the …

Camp Cooking ~ Lentil Stew (Gluten-Free & Vegan)

With summer in full swing, it’s time to go camping! Last week, I let you in on a delicious, quick and easy campout breakfast idea: Hayley’s Crave-Worthy Banana Fritters. As promised, I am continuing to divulge all of my Campout Secrets. There’s nothing like a warm home-cooked meal, especially after a day in the sun. After mountain hiking, dog chasing and river plunging all day, the act of gathering around a glorious campfire in your dusty clothes with an iced beverage in hand is so satisfying.  While the sun sets over the mountains and through the trees, the harmony of the crickets and crackling fire are hypnotizing as you smell supper ready to be devoured. What could satiate better than a piping hot bowl of delicious hearty stew? My favorite camp eats to cook are always quick and easy, no-fuss, healthy hot-pots. The last thing you want to think about when you’re hungry and ready for some serious campfire lounging is making a complicated dinner for the crew. My recipe for delicious Lentil Stew is probably the easiest camp food you will ever eat. It is so hearty, …

Banana Fritters ~ (Gluten-Free & Sugar-Free)

I can’t think of anything better than being surrounded by nature and eating around a campfire. Some people pack granola bars in their backpacks when they go camping and call it a day.  But when my crew makes their way out into the wilderness, the cars are loaded down with everything you could possibly need to make a feast under the stars. Half the fun of setting up a camp for a few days is impressing your fellow campers with a gourmet meal by firelight or waking up in your cozy sleeping bag to the aroma of fresh brewed coffee and the sound of bacon sizzling in unison with the river rapids in the distance. It is not a secret how much I love California. We have every magical adventure you can think of at our fingertips within a car ride’s distance. I have camped out under the astounding constellations overhead in the Sequioa National Forest on many occasions. So when I got an invite from my crew of besties to celebrate our gorgeous Hayley’s birthday in the mountains, …

Your Weekend Hit List ~ 4th of July 2016!

Celebrating the 4th of July is all about The 4 F’s: food, friends, family & fireworks! Lucky for us, LA has plenty to offer for some good old-fashioned 4th of July fun! Here’s our run-down on the best ways to celebrate ‘Merica in LA this weekend… Thursday, June 30th~ For all our indie music heads out there, resident scoundrel & filmmaker James R. Petix will be screening his documentary on the Detroit music scene, It Came From Detroit, at Outer Space in Downtown LA. Outer Space: 605 East 4th Street, Los Angeles, California 90013. 8pm doors, 9pm film. It Came From Detroit is the ultimate inside look at the Motor City’s internationally renowned “garage rock” scene. Nearly a decade in the making, this feature documentary chronicles the action both before and after the White Stripes rose to fame and brought an international spotlight on the scene. Beginning with the hugely influential 1980s trio The Gories (and stretching back to a legacy that includes The Stooges and The MC5), the bands of the Detroit garage rock music …

Eastern Sierras, CA

When we met up with Daniel Mansfield of The Adventure Project for our San Bernardino National Forest mountain hike last month, we arrived with one burning question in mind. Our common mission is to get people out and exploring all the amazingness the West has to offer. But Daniel’s mission is, more specifically, to get people out into the mountains. So the one thing we needed to know was…if he could choose just one place in all of California to take someone to experience the Best of the West, where would it be? Without missing a beat, his answer: The Eastern Sierras. We were a bit surprised by this, having never heard particularly much about them ourselves. Everyone knows and loves the Sequoias, Yosemite, Mammoth, Big Bear—all our resident beauties. But “Eastern Sierras” wasn’t readily rolling off the tongues of our hike-loving friends. We had to know: what was it about THESE mountains that made them stand out so far above the rest? There was only one way to answer that question. Road trip. Three weeks later, …

The Adventure Project

The forecast called for rain. Not just a chance of sprinkles here and there…full-on El Niño rain blasting with possible freezing temps and snow. After a winter of nothing but broken promises, it seemed our elusive stormy friend was finally arriving to unleash its downpour fury on Southern California. When iPhone declares 100% chance of showers every hour, you know it must be true. In LA, people cancel dinner plans just ten minutes away because they’d rather not “deal with the rain.” But now we were asking our friends to drive two hours outside the city in possible El Niño storms to meet a guy we’d never met and go to an undisclosed location to have an unknown experience—only knowing he was “taking us to the mountains.” I’m pretty sure these are all the things our parents warned us never to do. But, hey, we get to make our own rules now. And after all, we said we wanted an Adventure… We meet at a gas station at the base of the mountains on the way …

Free National Park Week!

Aside from this glorious pre-summer weather we’re being blessed with in Southern California, all you Mother Nature lovers out there have just been given another reason to strip down and do your sun-worshipping dance! It’s National Park Week—which means you can get into any National Park across the U.S. completely FREE this week! From Saturday April 16th – Sunday April 24th, all parks that normally charge will be waiving their entrance fees. Been wondering about that rare Death Valley superbloom? Go explore for yourself! Been yearning for the epic peaks of Yosemite? Get in the car and go before the summer crowds hit! Longing for the damp moss-covered forests of Muir Woods? Let your inner wood nymph go romp! Big bonus to all you kiddos trekking back from Weekend 1 or out to Weekend 2 of Coachella—you can enjoy free entry into Joshua Tree National Park while you’re out there! Take a break from soaking in the sounds to soak in some beautiful desert stillness. LIFE BONUS: the Lyrid Meteor Shower is also happening this …

Poppy Hunt ~ Lancaster, CA

Every spring in California, the magic moment happens. We’d heard the legend for years. Fields of neon orange flowers suddenly exploding into full Technicolor glory in every direction as far as the eye can see. Mountains, hills and every surface ablaze with fiery petals. Enough California poppies to make Dorothy forget about heading to Oz. We knew this generally happens in springtime, though we had never experienced it ourselves. With spotty reports from the park service, but a few promising Instagram updates from friends, we decided to set off on our very own poppy hunt to witness Mama Nature’s majestic springtime pageant. We packed a picnic and off we went…visions of poppy fields dancing in our heads. The Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve in Lancaster was our destination, about an hour and half up off the 5 Fwy N. We threw on some good tunes, passed the wild Martian mountains of Vasquez Rocks Park and enjoyed the wind in our hair, the sun on our skin and that thrill of freedom and adventure that always comes …

Paramount Ranch ~ Agoura Hills, CA

Tired of hearing the word “Runyon” after your friends invite you on a hike? Can’t handle the crowds of actors posting vaguely inspirational (mis)quotes as an excuse to sneak in another almost-naked photo of themselves hiking the go-to trail? Well, breathe a giant sigh of relief because we’re here to tell you that you never have to step foot on that over-run Tinder trail again. Plus, it’ll be closed April through July for repairs—so what better time to expand your horizons? For genuine hiking enthusiasts, LA offers endless gorgeous trails throughout all of our many mountain ranges. If you’re looking for something truly unique, then hightail it out to Paramount Ranch. Located just off Kanan on the way to Malibu, Paramount Ranch is part of the Santa Monica Mountains and is overseen by the National Park Service. Most importantly, it’s also an Old West ghost town. Or, more specifically, an Old West Tinsel Town ghost town. Built by Paramount Studios back in the 1920’s to shoot their Western “talkies”, the Wild West facade set has …

Wolf Connection ~ Acton, CA

Does the Month of Love have you feeling the call of the wild? Looking for that perfect hot date to get your blood pumping and make your temperature rise? Wanna let your inner beast out to play? Well, we’ve got just what you need to satisfy your cravings. If you’re ready to TRULY take a walk on the wild side, then grab the one you love (or the one you’d like to love) and head over to the Wolf Connection for their once-a-month Hike With the Pack. Located in Acton just 45 minutes north of LA, the Wolf Connection rescues and rehabilitates wolves and wolf dogs from across the country. The sanctuary is home to about 30 wolves, most of which are neglected and abused domestic rescues from owners who didn’t get that wolves and dogs are not the same thing. But luckily, the incredible staff here at the Wolf Connection is dedicated to making sure that their adoptees get a second chance at life, nursing them back to health and heartiness with loving care …

Cabin Feasting

With winter finally hitting Los Angeles, it’s time to plan your next cabin excursion with friends. We’re so lucky that in California we have a million options for local getaways where the cabin game runs strong. So if you’ve got a cool case of Cabin Fever coming on (and really, who doesn’t?), then go check out Idyllwild, Big Bear, Lake Arrowhead, Yosemite, Mammoth, the Sequoias…or all of the above! This week, we shared our recent New Year’s adventure to idyllic Idyllwild with you. One of our favorite parts was getting to stay at a beautiful snowy treehouse cabin in the woods with friends. The great thing about being tucked away in a secluded cabin somewhere for a few days is that you get full permission to rest, relax and rejuvenate. Sacred time to just unplug, hunker down and, of course…chow down. And that’s really our favorite part. Grab your gang, have everyone bring some groceries to cook up their favorite mountain meal and enjoy a weekend of culinary adventuring. On our Idyllwild trip, we hit …

Mountain Escape ~ Idyllwild, CA

After many years of patiently waiting, winter has finally decided to grace us with her presence in Southern California. The recent rainstorms have brought fresh snow throughout our local mountain ranges…just in time for everyone to go back to work. For those of you suffering from Mountain Fever and looking for a quick and easy weekend getaway, we’ve got just the thing for you. But here’s the catch: you have to promise to keep this between us, okay? Purposely kept extremely hush-hush within the mountaining crowd, Idyllwild is a quaint and charming artists’ colony located just two hours east of LA in the San Jacinto Mountains above Palm Springs. It’s such a hidden gem that we debated even writing about it. But since we are sworn to provide you with the inside scoop on all things off-the-beaten-path-awesome in California, our sense of duty won out in the end. So without further ado, may we present: Idyllwild, the place to make all your mountain dreams come true. The first thing you should know is Idyllwild is …

Winter Picnic ~ Malibu Wines

When the leaves turn colors and start falling from the trees and that winter chill finally hits the air after those hot October nights, there’s nothing better than layering up in your wooly finest and heading out for a winter picnic with friends. Our favorite spot to gather for some lazy mid-winter’s revelry is Malibu Wines. A local vineyard tucked away in the Malibu Mountains just off of Kanan, Malibu Wines offers a sprawling picnic area complete with farm tables, chairs and flaming heat lamps to cuddle up and get cozy around. Lay out a sumptuous spread, sample some house wines, take in the live music and soak in the glorious afternoon. Order a couple bottles of wine for your table or try individual “flights” from the wine tasting bar. You can pick the flight of your choice and sample wines at your own pace throughout the day. Outside alcohol is understandably not allowed in, but you are welcome to bring any non-alcoholic beverages with you. We highly recommend bringing plenty of water to make …

Go Rogue! ~ Opt Outside on Black Friday

This Friday, instead of facing the real-life version of The Walking Dead at your local retailers–witnessing throngs of people stampeding each other in a crazed daze for a cheap(er) wide-screen TV…why not reclaim your sanity (and your humanity) and Opt Outside instead? REI started this inspired movement by pledging to close its doors on Black Friday and #OptOutside in an effort to get families to bond out in nature instead of under glaring fluorescent lights buying a bunch of crap no one needs. You can find awesome hikes in your area just by entering your zip code here. Save the Redwoods League has even upped the ante—offering free day passes to 49 California State Redwood Parks in Northern California. Happily, there has been an overwhelming response to this rogue reclaiming of the day after Thanksgiving and some park passes have already sold out. But there are still plenty of parks available. You can find a list here. For those of us in Southern California looking for a place to spend November 27 in peace, we have some …

Apple Picking Season ~ Oak Glen, CA

Every Fall I go apple picking. And each time I come back with my bags of apples and Mile-High Apple Pie in tow, everyone asks, “WAIT!—You can go apple picking in LA?” YES. Yes you can. Meet Oak Glen, CA. Nestled up in the mountains about an hour & a half east of Los Angeles, the folks in Oak Glen have been growing apples since 1867. If you imagine Autumn-in-Vermont Pioneer Village meets 1950’s Frozen-in-Time Americana, you’ve got Oak Glen. It’s a magic combo that makes you feel like you’ve just stepped inside a Charles Wysocki puzzle. Located a mile up the mountain, this 5-mile loop of sweet old-fashioned apple orchards actually experiences all four seasons beyond just “warm and warmer”. Official apple picking season runs September to November, when the trees explode with ripe juicy apples of every flavor and the surrounding landscape bursts into an impressive show of bright yellows, reds and oranges. The best time for apple picking is the start of the season. But if you wait until later, there is …