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I Love this Epic Hike to Altadena’s Echo Mountain


Interested in taking an epic hike to Altadena’s Echo Mountain? If you do, you might want to take a preview here to get an idea of what to expect.  We also cover some history, which includes the story of Thaddeus Lowe, visionary real estate developer who was the driving force behind The Mount Lowe Railway, and The White City, one of the premier vacation destinations during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Altadena Weekly Real Estate Report 09/06/20 – 09/12/20


There were 9 new listings that came to market this week, bringing the total number of active listings to 28. Between all 28 active listings, prices ranged from $595k on the low end, all the way up to $4.675M on the high end. Additionally, there is one more non-conforming listing that needs mentioning – a small cabin with a land lease located in Millard Canyon. At only $329k this might be interesting, even if you don’t own the land. 1 property expired this week, and 1 went pending. And regarding new closed sales, there were 3. The lowest priced sale was $705k for a 3 bed 2 bath home at roughly 1300 sqft., which was move in ready, but could use some updating. The highest priced sale was $1.737M and sold for almost $200k over list price. This again was an updated Spanish Revival home, proving once again that Altadenans are willing to pay for classic architecture.


New Listings. 9
Total Actives. 28
Lowest Priced Listing. $595k
Highest Priced Listing. $4,675M
Honorable Mention. $329K Cabin with Land Lease)
Least Expensive Sold. $705,000
Most Expensive Sold. $1,737,000

Altadena Weekly Real Estate Report 8/30/20 – 9/5/20

This is the first in a series of weekly video reports, detailing the real estate activity in the city of Altadena, CA. This week there were 3 listings that went pending, 1 that expired, and most importantly, 11 listings that closed. Sales prices ranged from $680,000 for a small, but charming 2 bedroom/1 bath, 960 square foot home all the way up to $1,368,000 for a beautifully restored Spanish Revival home. This 3 bedroom/2 bath,1672 square foot home went pending in escrow in only 7 days! This was partly due to the abundance of charm and character, as well as to the low interest rate environment and painfully low inventory.

Lowest Sales Price – $680,000

Highest Sales Price – $1,368,000

Total Closed Sales – 11

Total Expired Listings – 1

New Pending Sales – 3

A Great Night of Music in Altadena

Saturday marked a night of great music in Altadena with two fantastic musical combos playing at two very different, but very satisfying venues.   I started the evening out at The Folly Bowl, a cool and intimate space to enjoy live performances. The Folly Bowl is located at a private residence in Altadena, with an amphitheater built into the hill in the backyard.  Altamusica commanded the stage with a clean cut through the swath of jazz styles, playing some originals, as well as beloved standards. The weather was beautiful, and the crowd was very relaxed, taking in the setting scored by an evening of jazz.

I had to pull myself away,  because a little way down the road at Farnsworth Park, Bleeding Harp was rocking a crowd of dancing, clapping fans.  The Blues Rock combo was loud, and satisfying, the perfect counterpoint the quiet intensity of Altamusica earlier in the evening.   With this kind of musical scene going on, it’s no wonder so many people want to move to Altadena. Many thanks to everyone that worked together to make all of this happen.

Leigh Adams: Altadena’s Own

Written By – Steve Aranda


On a wooded corner in the residential foothills of Altadena, there stands a fortress of greenery. The top of a two story home peeks out over a hedge of junipers, elms, and deodar. Bird song is rampant, and as you step up off the street to pass through the wooden gate out front, you feel as though you have just been transported to a different biome.

Beneath a canopy of trees, the temperature noticeably drops. The abundance of growth provides shade, medicinal herbs, aromatic flowers, and food. There are over 40 fruit trees on the property. Wildflowers interspersed with vegetables run alongside winding paths that lead nowhere.

In addition to its Eden-like qualities, there is something that makes this garden even more unique. Namely, here in Southern CA, the land of perpetual drought, this lush landscape gets watered at most only once a week, and frequently not at all.

The owner and creator of this amazing green-space is Leigh Adams, Altadena’s own “Water Harvesting Guru.” As a consultant for LA County Parks and Rec, and Public Works, she has been responsible for not only her own green wonder, but many others like it. These include installations at the LA County Arboretum, the main branch of the Altadena Library, and the new park being built at the corner of Lake Ave, and Altadena Drive.

Her gardens are the result of a lifetime of work and study in the fields of permaculture and water harvesting. They are in harmony with the native landscape, and intentionally decorative. Most interestingly, they are the climax of an ongoing story, one that began over 40 years ago in the least likely place for a master gardener to make her start – in the Mojave Desert…

In 1975 Leigh owned a large tract of land about 20 miles North West of Joshua Tree, when a fire tore through the area. The landscape was devastated. Pinyon pines, and manzanita, were burnt away, and what wasn’t destroyed was bulldozed in order to create a firebreak.

Adams recalls that after the fire, the landscape was transformed into a dead zone reminiscent of a Tim Burton nightmare. In an effort to convert the skeletons of trees, and shrubs into an homage to their former life, she chopped down the burnt remnants, and arranged them on the earth in patterns, along with rocks.

Time passed. Children came. She and her husband built a cabin and planted trees on a small portion of the land. The rest – over 10 acres – was largely left alone.

And then one day, almost 15 years later, a friend asked Leigh if she would like to go up in his plane and see her property from the air. She jumped at the chance. As they flew over the location however, she became dismayed. “I’m sorry,” she apologized, “I must have given you the wrong directions.” Looking down from the plane, she stared at a lush huge rectangle of green where there should have been only desert.

As unbelievable as it seemed, the directions she had given to the pilot were completely accurate. The oasis they were viewing from above was indeed her land. A mysterious transformation had occurred. When Adams laid those first dead tree trunks and branches on the earth and surrounded them with stones, she had unknowingly taken her first steps into the word of permaculture.

It turned out that logs, and stones had a different heat capacity than the air around them. During the cold nights and hot days in the desert, condensation formed due to the temperature difference, and dripped slowly back to the soil. Also, moisture was trapped beneath rotting wood, and alongside boulders, which provided shade from the sun.

Since then, Leigh spent her life exploring that mystery. She later added to it the crucial component of reclaiming storm runoff by taking the concept of parkway drains and turning it on its head; Instead of using the drains to push water off of her property, she used it to pull water onto it.

Today Leigh Adams’s work is a joy for all to experience. Her eco-friendly installations are some of the most progressive, responsible, and beautiful in the San Gabriel Valley. Her efforts to educate youth, and the public about water reclamation and conservation here in Southern California are tireless.

As Artist-in-Residence, and an Interpretive Horticulturist at the LA county Arboretum, Adams, until recently was in charge of the Crescent Farm, a man-made ecosystem that relies primarily on harvesting for its water. It also offers an artistic, native and sustainable alternative to traditional Socal sod.

Over an acre of lawn was removed to install the Crescent Farm. With Adams’s direction “new and ancient water conservation practices” were used to make this a living example of her work, and a great way to spend an afternoon. Recently John Latsko has taken the reigns, and the Farm continues to thrive and represent the values, they both worked to achieve.

I recommend a visit. The farm is a wonder to behold, and classes on permaculture are offered. But the real treasure is a visit with Leigh Adams herself, a fountain (pun intended) of knowledge, a true citizen of the earth, and someone Altadena can be honored to claim as a resource, and a resident.