A while back I was using my Google-fu to try to find some interesting and weird places to explore in the Los Angeles area.
One of the places I happened upon was the Murphy Ranch Nazi Camp
, described as a World War II-era enigma hidden in a forest outside of Santa Monica.
The pictures and text I could find about the place made me itch to go there as soon as possible. Yesterday I convinced David we needed a sunday adventure at the Murhy Ranch.
On the site Atlas Obscura
they describe it like this Now property of Los Angeles City parks, Murphy Ranch was originally developed to be a self-sustaining compound in the 1930s. It was originally purchased in 1933 by Jessie Murphy -- a person never seen nor documented elsewhere. Despite the phantom owner, the property was developed by Winona and Norman Stephens and a German national by the name of Herr Schmidt. The design implemented was an installation of several buildings, fuel tanks, and multiple massive cisterns. The entire complex, according the plans of Herr Schmidt, was to be self-sustaining even if it suffered years of isolation from the outside society. Schmidt's motivations, however, remain the focus of the lore.
Apparently Herr Schmidt wanted to create a Nazi holdout in America, but in 1941 the ranch is said to have been raided by United States Federal Agents that had kept an eye on Herr Schmidt and his work. The place has been abandoned ever since, with the exception of a few years in the 60's and 70's when artists took over the ranch.
The backstory piqued my interest, but what really made me want to go there was the fact that the only way to reach the ranch was by descending a 500 steps concrete staircase straight down the mountainside.
The pictures I found showed a hidden and secret place, and I was so excited to see it for myself!
We arrived at the start of the hike around 5.30 in the afternoon. It's been so hot in Los Angeles lately so we had to wait until it was starting to cool off a bit, but not too late because we didn't want to get stuck out in the wilderness in the dark.
The light was just perfect and I was already happy that we had came there, even if we weren't to find the stairs.
We met a few people going back down the trail who told us to keep going and the stairs would appear quite clearly maybe a mile ahead.
And there it was. In front of the most beautiful mountain view.
After walking down the stairs for a while David asked "Are we going to be doing this forever, Lotta?" The stairs just kept on going.
It felt like we were explorers in a forgotten world!
I even decided it was worth it to go up and down the stairs a little bit extra for some self timer photos. I didn't know what I was in for later, apparently...
Like a fairytale! Or an adventure movie!
And then we reached the end of the stairs and found the goal of our hike!
I like that among all the usual graffitied penises and swear words someone had written Fuck Hitler (can't be seen in the photo though, if you were trying to find it). To keep the vandalism topical, I guess.
We didn't have time to look around any more than this house, because the light was rapidly getting weaker and we needed to head back to the car before dark.
I plan to return soon though, and bring my real camera! The weather will just have to cool off a bit before though, because I want time to explore this amazing location!
After just a few steps we realized just how exhausting the way up would be. I was breathing so heavy and tried to find a good breathing rhythm to keep me going. Sweat was pouring and we kept chanting about the ice-cream we had decided to buy when we finished the hike.
We had to stop and breathe a couple of times.
LOOK AT ALL THOSE STAIRS BEHIND ME! So sweaty and shaky. Our legs started to feel like spaghetti after a while.
When we finally reached the top the sky looked this wonderful! Like a painting!
Speaking of paintings, isn't this mountain side so beautiful?!
I love the texture and colours.
And another one (I have at least ten more photos like these in my phone).
And over there is Santa Monica in evening light.
Such an awesome adventure! I absolutely love to find places like this and I have already started to search for the next location to explore.
Also, I'm sure that the muscle soreness I'm feeling today is going to remind me of this excursion for at least a couple of days.
That was all for today, I hope you liked to tag along on our hike.
Talk to you soon!
As you probably know by now, I like to take self portraits
wherever I go. I've stumbled upon a problem here in LA though. I see great spots everywhere but nowhere to put my phone so it won't fall.So yesterday I bought one of those gorillapod tripods for my iPhone and today I went out on Gorillapod Self Portrait Adventures!
It's a learning curve, obviously, to get my entire head into the photo...
Hey! I found a pool!
Super laid back while a UPS guy walks buy and says "how you doin'?" in the perfect Joey (in Friends) way.
Just stretching a little while floating in air...
Bonus picture: Some sort of desert succulent that looks like a beautiful cluster of roses.
Los Angeles has way too many cars and people for my liking. I'm still a little bit self concious while taking self portraits in public, and I want to make sure nobody is around and can snatch my phone while I'm posing for the camera. I'm sure I'll get very good use of this gorillapod in many different environments though!
Have a nice weekend everybody!
And take more self portraits! It's fun!
Just a little update of what's been going on lately.
We are settling in to our tiny new home and have decided we'll probably stay here for the duration of our stay in the US. The landlords are great, our next door neighbours too, the neighbourhood is wonderful, the garden is lovely and we don't need more living space than this.
My hair is getting lighter from the sun. It scares me a little, but so far it looks good. I even think it looks redder than normal, but there are some parts of it that are starting to look more strawberry blond than chestnut red. I wonder what it will look like in a few months.
I don't know if I've written this on here before, but I have never dyed my hair. I was bullied for my hair colour when I was a kid and that made me decide to never ever fall for their evil words. I said to myself that I'm going to love my hair colour and make it my statement. So that's what I did.
Now when it's starting to change it scares me. I've gotten some grey hairs and that doesn't bother me too much, but what does make me sad is to see the red go away.
We'll see what happens. Maybe I will need to dye it one day in the future to feel like my true self again.
We went to a fancy Hollywood party last week. It was equal parts exciting, scary, fun and weird.
We looked good though.
A car selfie on our way to the party.
I took a selfie in the restroom of the fancy Beverly Hills mansion the party was in. Because who wouldn't, right?
The landlord's dog Pickles is getting used to us being around. Lately she's even come for visits.
It's been very hot here lately. And everybody keeps saying it's going to get a lot warmer soon. I'm scared.
My body just doesn't do heat very well. The shoes I brought with me fits my feet perfectly here, in Sweden they almost fall off my feet with every step I take. It's actually quite crazy how big a difference it is.
But I think I'm getting more and more used to the temperatures here, and it's great that the air is so dry because that makes the heat a lot more bearable.
Friday evening makes a budding Hollywood director very tired.
We go for a lot of evening walks around the neighbourhood here.
The temperature is wonderful when the sun goes down and it's nice to get to know our surroundings by walking.
Our neighbourhood even has a Spooky Tree!
And in other thoughts: I have been thinking a lot about what to do with this blog. I'm definitely not abandoning it, but I feel like I don't know what to post on here, and I feel kind of stressed about that fact.
I update my instagram
every day and that has become my favourite place to post pictures and random thoughts right when they happen. So to blog about all those things one more time over here feels like I'm repeating myself, and what I want for this blog anyway is for it to be fun and interesting and sometimes with some clever thoughts.
SO: I'm going to change it up a little.
I will be posting mostly photos from my Nikon D7000 here from now on but I will also write more. I have a couple of posts waiting in my head, and I think you are going to like them a lot.
For updates on what happens in my day to day life, I thoroughly recommend my instagram
. I'm having so much fun over there right now, and you don't even need an instagram account of your own to follow along, just go to instagram.com/lottalosten
to see what I'm up to.
I hope this will make this space more interesting, because I hate to feel like I don't have a clear purpose for this site that is always going to be my favourite place on the internet.
Until next time:
Time for a Two Two Two again! And because it's been ages since last time I did a post like this it has no less than seven (7!) bonus Twos!
OK, let's do this!
Two photos of LA greenery:
One from a walk along the Venice Canals, and one from a tree lined street in our new neighbourhood.
Two of me sipping on my new favourite drink Lemonade:
One Strawberry Basil Lemonade at a hipster burger place in Silver Lake, and one regular lemonade at a nice kebab/falafel place in Studio City.
Two Dinner with a View:
One from when we drove up Mullholland Drive to eat Burritos while the sun set, and one from Wilacre Park where we found the perfect place to eat sandwiches under a huge a tree.
Two self portraits from the hotel room where we stayed for a week:
One when I'm jumping on the bed with sunglasses on, and one where I'm standing on the chair with my feminist t-shirt on.
Two things I've eaten, photographed from above:
One from a Gelato Cafe where I had Peach and Coffee ice cream and a cup of coffee, and one of the first breakfast I ate after we moved to the new place. Oatmeal porridge, a side of fruit and a cup of coffee.
Two from our evening walk yesterday:
One of David looking at the river, and one of me looking at the river.
Two Self Portraits taken in the public spaces of the hotel where we stayed for a week:
One in a fancy pants hallway right outside the hotel ballroom, and one in the parking garage that I had to walk through to get out of the hotel by foot (This town is not made for walking).
Two things I've found while out walking:
A graveyard for electric wheelchairs, and a kind of beautiful water pipe thingy.
Two Outfit Photos:
One of me in pants standing in an aisle at a grocery store, and one of me in a skirt with bare legs standing in front of a very blue wall.
Two photos taken at our new home:
One of me eating breakfast in the back yard, and one self portrait of me standing on the ladder on my way to the loft in this tiny little apartment.
And that was all for today!
We like it very much where we're staying right now. We eat all of our meals outdoors and we take walks around the neighbourhood.
It's nice, really really nice.
Hope you have it nice too.