On Tuesday I had a perfect fangirl day; on Wednesday I had a perfect nature day, apart from forgetting to reapply sunscreen to my arms after having them in the Pacific and getting them very sunburned. We went to Paramount Ranch in the Santa Monica Mountains, thinking we would just take a couple of photos of the Old West town and the hills, but a film crew was setting up to film an episode of Aquarius, so there was actually quite a lot of activity with lights being set up and trailers all over the parking lot. They wouldn't let us inside the buildings being used for the shoot itself but we got to go into a couple of others, and to see the ground squirrels in among the flowers.
When we drove to Point Dume State Park, stopping at several canyon overlooks on the way to the Pacific, the Aquarius crew was filming there too (supposedly with David Duchovny though we never saw him). That was not even remotely the most exciting thing we saw by the ocean, though: in addition to the expected pelicans, gulls, cormorants, and sandpipers, plus wildflowers and cacti in bloom all over the cliffside, we saw anemones and snails in tide pools, lizards in the brush, dozens of sea lions sunning on the rocks, and a pair of humpback whales surfacing to blow water and wave their flippers! I have never seen a whale outside and aquarium, much less a humpback -- it was an amazing experience.
We ate lunch on the beach, then drove along the Pacific Coast Highway past Pepperdine University and back into the mountains, where we also visited the King Gillette Ranch, which has turtles, geese, ducks, lizards, and monk parrots living on the grounds (plus rattlesnakes but we didn't see one of those). We had dinner in Northridge at a deli with our friends the Foleys, with whom we stayed when we were out west several times in the early 2000s. I wrote most of this entry on my phone on the way to LAX to pick up Daniel, who is joining us from Seattle for the rest of our trip!