I am currently participating in the NaNoWriMo challenge (National Novel Writing Month). This morning, they had planned a gathering for the Los Angeles NaNoWriMos at a Library at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). The only stipulation was you had to arrive between 10-10:30am. With Daylight Savings ending, you would think that would be a piece of cake, getting up and getting out of the house before 10am. Yeah, not for me. I only woke up because I had a reminder of the event on the phone and it was vibrating on my nightstand.
I really did want to get out to a new place and get some writing done so I decided I would head out to Caltech anyways. I read on the Pasadena Views website that there are some cool ponds to check out at Caltech—the Turtle and Lily Ponds. So I figured I would bring my camera to get some photos as well as my little laptop to get some writing done.
First of all, the Caltech campus is beautiful. It is so quiet and serene. I parked on Wilson and immediately started taking pictures of the architecture. I made my way over to the ponds and instantly fell in love. I love turtles and there were turtles everywhere (I didn’t see any lily pads but I did see one really big bullfrog). They were swimming in the water or sunbathing along the shores or on the rocks. There are even some ducks hanging out right next to the turtles. I went picture crazy. The ponds are actually five-tiered ponds connected on a hillside via waterfalls. There are benches throughout the park like area where you can see students reading, writing, or meditating.
It reminds me of sections of Descanso Gardens or the Arboretum when you can just absorb the sights and sounds of nature while you are in the middle of the big city. We are just blocks away from Old Town Pasadena but you would never know it, sitting here listening to the running water and the occasional quacking duck. On the weekend, there is free parking on the streets around campus. I haven’t seen too many students lingering around so it makes for a great place to read and write (or meditate).
There are a few families with their children here, which would normally bother me, but the kids here are well behaved—unlike some that I have come across at the Gardens. The parents are using the area to teach the kids about the turtles and the ducks. There are even a group of kids that are on the hunt for tadpoles and bullfrogs—but without all the lily pads, there are actually harder to find. Others are discussing the ecosystems and how everything in the pond works together (the Koi, the ducks, the turtles, the algae, etc). Of course, this is the Caltech campus so it makes sense that this would be used as an educational space for families.
I would definitely come back here on the weekend to write. There are no admission fees and fewer people in attendance than the gardens. It is a beautiful campus, from the architecture to the ponds, offering lots of inspiration for the creative mind.