Today we were led by Sunshine, a long time Coastwalk volunteer in Los Angeles County. It was to be a day when we never got to the shore at the foot of the bluffs we were walking.
We started off under a broken sky and with warm temperatures but as the day progressed a cooling breeze came up. We walked along the bluffs and city streets. Our first digression was at Long Point where we looked at the former Marine World site where Bubbles the whale once lived and performed. Sunshine showed us site maps for the new Long Point Resort, indicating the route for the Coastal Trail through the property.
We next walked along the bluff at the edge of a developed area. This walk was between two fences; one keeping us from harming ourselves by falling off the cliff top, the other to keep us from harming the property owners. Here is a seaside community and the fence delineating the private property had no gates in it ? they could look at the ocean but they couldn?t get to it without climbing their own fencing.
Across Palos Verde?s Drive from Abalone Cove, we took a break at the Wayfarers Chapel. Lloyd Wright, the son of Frank Lloyd, designed this striking building. It is almost entirely of glass, allowing for the free flow of spirituality between the outside and the inside, one of the tenets of the Swedenborg religion. The spot apparently is very popular with Japanese couples who travel here for their wedding ceremonies. Some 500 weddings are performed each year in this small chapel.
Immediately past the chapel sits the Portuguese Bend slide area. For about a mile the land is constantly creeping inexorably towards the sea. All utility lines here ? water and sewer ? are above ground for easy repair and rerouting. There are homes within this area, they move about also and as a result are more affordable than those on stable ground.
(Editors note: The guide, Sunshine, owns a house on the slide. She and her neighbors accept the need to keep propping up their houses as they slide inexorably to the sea, in exchange for the quiet rural neighborhood and ocean views.)
Next came the Ocean Trails Golf Club owned by someone from New York named Trump. It is the world?s finest 17 hole golf course, the 18th having slid into the Pacific. Work is now progressing to get the course back to a respectable 2 X 9 holes. We were offered a lunch spot at the edge of the construction site but didn?t enjoy the noise. So we took the designated public path through the golf course but had our lunch truncated by a golf cart riding guard when some of us sought shade slightly off the designated path.
We left and followed the trail through Shoreline Park, then through city streets to Royal Palms County Beach at White Point. It originally was a resort (until an earthquake in 1933 there were hot sulphur springs at the bottom of the bluff) developed by the Sepulveda family but the area was appropriated by the military during World War II, then reverted to the state and eventually was turned over to the county.
From Royal Palms Park, it is just a short distance to Point Fermin Park and the historic Point Fermin lighthouse. Under Tom Politeo?s guidance, we left the trail and got ourselves to the intersection of 37th Street and Barbara Street. There we found ?The Corner Store? which actually isn?t at the corner but sits back along 37th a couple of buildings. Owners Susan McKenna and Marisa Giuffre comped the lot of us our heart?s desires from their coffee bar.
Back at the hostel and after showers and a rest we reassembled at the Korean Friendship Bell for a reception hosted by Joy Neri and Sharon Bluhm as prelude to a visit by Janice Hahn, Los Angeles City Councilperson from the San Pedro area. She said nice things about the Coastal Trail and Coastwalk and reported that the Los Angeles City Council, in a unanimous vote, had endorsed the California Coastal Trail. We then had a reciprocal giving of gifts: Ms. Hahn presented the hikers with a signed proclamation from the city and we made her an expedition member by the gift of a CTE 03 t-shirt. (Jon Breyfogle; photos by Linda Hanes)
Left: Approaching Inspiration Point in the Portuguese Bend area.
Right: Shoreline Park just east of the Ocean Trails Golf Course.