San Fransisco - Lands End National Park
Ice plants dot the coastline

Ice plants dot the coastline

Foggy coastal views never get old

Foggy coastal views never get old


The Lookout

A rocky and extremely windswept shoreline welcomes visitors to ocean views featuring cypress and wildflowers dotting the coast.  

Over the past year, I've visited San Fransisco numerous times and seen some of the most popular sights in the US. However, this particular trip was special. It was 24 hours with one of my best friends in her home city, seeing the sights from a new perspective. 

Arriving at midnight on a Friday and heading straight to bed after downing a mission burrito, Saturday started early with breakfast and a trip to twin peaks to watch the sunrise. After a morning spent wandering through the city and traffic, we spent a few hours at Fort Funston (a dog park on the beach!). There's no replacement for seeing happy puppies run and play non stop with the wind in their hair and the sand between their toes. 

Finally, we took a risk and drove through the hills along the coast to Lands End, a scenic overlook in the historic site of Fort Miley and the Sutro Baths. Ocean views are breathtaking, and the rocky coastal waters offered a stark contrast to the cypress trees lining the winding roads. With the history and views, Lands End shows a different, almost eerie side of San Fransisco and the California coast. 


The Sutro Baths date back to 1896 and sit in ruins on Lands End

The Sutro Baths date back to 1896 and sit in ruins on Lands End

The elevation changes make for long but exhausting tour. 

The elevation changes make for long but exhausting tour. 

The lookout houses a gift shop and parking area

The lookout houses a gift shop and parking area

The view of the ocean waves gives an idea of the height above sea level

The view of the ocean waves gives an idea of the height above sea level

Several caves and inlets allow you to get down to the water and take it all in

Several caves and inlets allow you to get down to the water and take it all in

While this trip was cold and windy, the vegetation and growth contrasts beautifully with the coastal views. 

While this trip was cold and windy, the vegetation and growth contrasts beautifully with the coastal views. 

Saxon McClamma
Morning Fog - Griffith Observatory
Morning fog envelops the rolling hills surrounding the Griffith Observatory

Morning fog envelops the rolling hills surrounding the Griffith Observatory

When asked why she visits, she responded that starting her day with Tai Chi relaxes her

When asked why she visits, she responded that starting her day with Tai Chi relaxes her


A View Like No Other

No visit to Los Angeles is complete without a visit to the Hollywood Hills. For me, the absolute best place to go is Griffith Observatory.

This particular trip had us at the airport around 4am, and with the longer trip from Anaheim we decided to spend the day in town. While most things were closed, we were able to grab coffee at intelligentsia. I always cherish trips to California for multiple reasons, but having access to several of the best coffee shops in the US is an added bonus. 

After grabbing coffee, we were treated with a sunrise like no other. While this was partially due to the wild fires ravaging the area, it was the early morning glow coming over the hills that made this visit special. 

The number of individuals out relaxing and enjoying the peace and calm in an otherwise busy city surprised me, but it makes sense. I now know the secret to handling the unrelenting traffic on a daily basis. 


The morning light made for a pleasant softness to the images

The morning light made for a pleasant softness to the images

It seemed as though everyone had a purpose

It seemed as though everyone had a purpose

It is sometimes easy to forget the sleeping that's below

It is sometimes easy to forget the sleeping that's below

Several observation points give a glimpse of the vastness that is Los Angeles 

Several observation points give a glimpse of the vastness that is Los Angeles 

It's even easy to forget the number of people usually occupying the structures at sunset. Sunrise is my new favorite time to visit.

It's even easy to forget the number of people usually occupying the structures at sunset. Sunrise is my new favorite time to visit.

We weren't the only ones taking in the view of the Hollywood sign.

We weren't the only ones taking in the view of the Hollywood sign.

Until next time.

Until next time.

Saxon McClamma
Toronto and The CN Tower
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Canada. 

We finally did it. After many trips trough out the states, I’ve finally taken to the north and explored our closest neighbor.

What was supposed to be just a short flight of just 2 hours actually turned into an all night adventure that included one flight, an international crossing by car, a quick trip to Buffalo, and a midnight excursion to Niagara Falls. After all of the traveling, Saturday morning had us eating breakfast, a chance to finally slow down and take it all in. This turned into a relaxing day exploring the city downtown. 



To say Toronto was a culture shock is a bit of an over statement, but I will say that the city itself is more different than one might think. Sleek buildings and a modern infrastructure contrasts with the rather “established” city here in Philly. The tourism was alive, and people were, as you may expect from Canadians, truly hospitable. 

Most of the afternoon was spent on Toronto island, which offers plenty of public space and a nice park. Afternoon had us wondering around in a few areas on the other side of town, and the night was made complete with Nando’s for dinner (my first time). 



No trip to Toronto is complete without a visit to the CN Tower, and our accent was what felt like a spectacular visit to the edge of the atmosphere. With a small airport located just below, seeing planes take off from above is fascinating. The city lights and fast moving traffic also give scale to how far things expand in all directions, and only then did I truly realize the truth in Toronto being larger than Chicago. 


Saxon McClamma