This was a scouting run. Millard Falls was supposed to be a short easy hike for a family reunion (no, not my family!), but it turned out to be slightly more daring than we expected.
Still easy, yes, but instead of one or two simple stream crossings, we had five or six and not all were just simple quick hop-skip-steps across large, smooth, flat, dry rocks.
First of all, ignore the sheeple-- er, people. There's a little t-junction in the road. Right is blocked off for government access only, back is the way you came, and left is down to the parking lot. Ignore the sheep who park up top here, you want to go down the left to the real parking area if you want to picnic and see the falls. Head out of the parking lot to the campground and follow the streambed up to the falls.
It's not much of a trail, more like a walk up the streambed. Cross the streambed several times and beware of loose rocks; most are good, but just enough are unstable or slicker-than-first-look suggests. Keep walking- it's nice and shaded- and about a half of a mile down is the falls. Nice and easy and actually very pretty; I didn't know SoCal streams could have so much water in May!
There are a few buildings in the area, what look like houses. Some are currently occupied, some aren't. It's kind of cool, and reminds me a lot of Alum Rock park back in San Jose in terms of the environment in the canyon and along the stream. A lot of potential stream splashing for kids and aside from two or so slightly more difficult stream crossings, not bad at all. Get to the end, and at least in early May, enjoy the fact that the waterfall has quite a bit of water in late Spring, and look off to the left. Look closely, maybe walk over to the left wall of the canyon... yes, those are bolts for rock climbing. It looks like one extremely difficult climb (5.11 or harder, it's slick and the cracks are worn smooth) and I don't even know if the bolts are safe, but mmmmm... sure looks tempting...
We drove up and stopped at the t-junction to explore more on the way out. The trails there go back down to the creek at the campground or they go pretty far back in the canyon. Not sure, as we didn't have time to do a proper job of exploring.
Picked up Alicia after hiking and rejoined everyone for a trip to the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, aka, MOCA.
Contemporary art's use of moving visuals and sound is the most unique aspect of itself compared to traditional or classical art. Rooms with projectors and music playing are common, as are machines that specifically translate sound and light together-- very common from the mid-1900 era as technology evolved from the phonograph to motion film.
Still paintings and sculptures remain important, although finding a "definitive" artist still seems to elude me. Quite a bit of contemporary art is interesting, boring, or incomprehensible; but due to the smaller cultural differences between today and, say, 1950, (versus, say, art done in 1650) I feel safe in applying my own cultural bias in that quite a bit of the art we saw was also bizarre. (Any connection to mainstream culture at the time it was created? Uhhh...) A fascination with using stuffed birds among one artist and some of the early sound-linked-to-visual imagery in motion picture were like this. Particularly with the early synchronizing of sound and images lead to some end results that look weird, even if you know the tools they used and why they used them...
The MOCA gift shop was pretty sane looking until you looked closely. A cushion for your couch for $180? A soda-can-shaped solid paperweight for $40? Mark-up extraordinarie, huh? o_O
Almost as interesting was to be outside of MOCA, as MOCA is located off Grand Avenue and 3rd Street in downtown Los Angeles, one of the few elevated streets in downtown and at the fringe of tall buildings and interesting structures such as the Walt Disney Concert Hall. The Water Court connects to a tiny little park and Los Angeles's steepest railroad, which are kind of neat to see if you're already in the area. The Water Court in particular has what was described by Ben (or was it Bill?) as a European feel, particularly with the high-rise buildings in the background.
Yes, I had fun with panoramic shots as well. =)