All posts tagged: nature

Summer Desert Retreat ~ Harmony Vista

Every year when summer hits the city, we start hearing the call of the desert. It might not seem like the obvious destination when the thermostat reaches 90° but for us here at Sirens & Scoundrels, summer and the deep desert have become our favorite pairing for a soul-filling and soul-fueling retreat with friends. We pack up all the fresh organic summer fruit we can find, plenty of iced beverages, pool floaties and board games and head out into the hot desert days to relax and unplug at our most beloved California summering spot—Joshua Tree. Our favorite source for the perfect desert hacienda is  Joshua Desert Retreats. With nine properties spread across the east desert, we have been slowly meandering our way through each one over the years. JDR properties are much like staying at the famous Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo where each room has its own unique theme and eventually you just want to try them all. The same goes for JDR, except here each entire house has its own theme. We …

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 …

Make Your Life a Love Story!

Words by Christina Huntington // Photography by Sarah Prikryl // Video by  Sarah Prikryl & Christina Huntington Happy Valentine’s Day!! Sure, it may be a holiday that was made up to sell greeting cards, chocolate hearts and long stemmed roses…but we are always huge fans of any excuse to celebrate and spread more love in the world! But if we’re being totally honest, even just the word “love” can be challenging for a lot of people. We all have different interpretations of what love is from our own history and experience—how we’ve “gotten” it, how we’ve “lost” it and how well we have or have not managed to give it to others and ourselves. Love can also feel like a lot of pressure, inundated since birth with so many versions of what love “should” look like from, let’s face it, not necessarily the best sources. It’s left many people feeling confused about how to love and be loved in a healthy way that leaves us feeling joyful, secure, fulfilled and freely self-expressed. While, oh yeah…also having some fun. This is the simplest guide …

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 …

Joshua Tree Escape ~ Godwin Ranch

Last week, we spotlighted our trip out to Pioneertown to see Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires perform live at Pappy & Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace—two of our favorite things colliding in one magical place! There is something about Joshua Tree that just inevitably brings about these kinds of other-worldly experiences—and not in the Burning Man kind of way. We’re talking real-deal straight-to-your-core magic that comes from just being still with the people you love and hearing your own soul speak to you of all its dreams and longings. One thing is guaranteed: when you make that drive out to the desert…you always get your Question answered. Even if you didn’t know you have one. After experiencing The Screaming Eagle of Soul in all his soul-shakedown love-revolution glory, we packed it in for a weekend friend retreat in Joshua Tree. Whenever we head out to the desert, we love to stay with Joshua Desert Retreats. Their thirteen quaint and charming desert properties range in occupancy from 2-14 guests and are surprisingly very affordable. We love that they …

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 …

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 …

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 …