This afternoon, I wound up in Newport Beach, with several hours to kill. Not familiar with the area, I figured I would just head over to Crystal Cove and hang out on the beach. So, I was driving down Newport Coast toward the ocean, past all the multi-million dollar houses, and I looked off to the left and saw what looked to be a picnic area. I made a U-turn the first place that I could and discovered a small, practically un-marked park overlooking this gorgeous (and, I might add, completely undeveloped) canyon full of greenery and bright yellow flowers. It was wonderful - and a complete surprise!
Living in Southern California, you get to thinking that every square inch is totally paved over. So, to discover something like this was like stumbling onto a well-kept secret.
The most amazing part was that it was quiet. It was just off the road and down the hill enough that all you could hear was the wind and the rustling leaves and the birds and the crickets. And that's where I spent my afternoon - taking pictures of all the interesting plants, sketching, wandering around, watching the hawks, and otherwise just re-charging. It was delightful.