My favorite nearby waterfall, once the home of rockets (iPhone video snapshot)

Here's a quick video snapshot I took over the weekend from one of my favorite local hikes here in Southern California: the Solstice Canyon trail above Malibu. The video's nothing special, but as I was shooting it (on my iPhone 3GS, with a twig for a tripod) I thought "this might be an inspiring little ambient morsel for BB readers to zone out to during their work day. So here it is. I mention the device used because I was pretty wowed by the video and audio quality. Here's my Flickr set of more video snapshots from the waterfall (others are higher-quality and less compressed than this).

There are some spots on the trail where you can look out over the Pacific, and if the season's right you may view a migrating gray whale or two. According to an LA Times article published in 1988 when this land became a state park,

[The site] was formerly used as a laboratory to test payloads for space shots for TRW Inc. and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. (…) [T]he aerospace firms picked the site because they needed a "non-magnetic setting," or an area far removed from telephone lines and electrical cables. One of the buildings had a removable roof so that heavy equipment could be lifted from the structure.

Near this 30-foot waterfall, there's an old stone cabin from the late 1800s, one of the oldest residences in the area. Also on this trail: the burnt-out remains of an amazing midcentury ranch mansion designed by African-American architect Paul Revere Williams. I love walking through those ruins. More on that after the jump.


Above, what was once the view from the breakfast nook in the now-destroyed Roberts home. The building was constructed in the 1950s, and burned down decades ago. There are lots of wildfires in this area, even a big one just last year.

Snip from a website about the architect who designed it:

In 1952, Fred and Pearl Roberts bought land in Malibu Canyon and had Paul R. Williams design a rustic but elegant home for them. The house was built of stone and wood, fitting naturally into its canyon environment. This interior photograph illustrates a Williams' architectural feature, bringing the outside in as part of the design. Assemblyman Fred Roberts, a lifelong Republican, was a contemporary and political sparring partner of the progressive Charlotta Bass, owner and editor of the Eagle, an influential African American newspaper in Los Angeles. Unfortunately, Roberts died from injuries sustained in an automobile accident before he and Pearl could move into the house Williams designed for them.

(Image: Residence, Roberts Ranch House, Los Angeles, CA
Julius Shulman Photographic Archive, Research Library, The Getty Research Institute)