Saturday was another episode of Get Outta The House, with Susan and I deciding to make a return visit the the San Gabriel Mountains and hike the Sam Merrill Trail, which we had seen snaking and switchbacking its way up across the canyon during our nature walk up to Inspiration Point a couple weeks previous. While only five miles round trip and an elevation gain of 1,400 feet, it was certainly no walk in the park. But it’s an excellent trail, and the scenery and serenity atop Echo Mountain where the ruins of the railway and its “White City” can be found make it an excellent and highly recommended excursion.

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[Photos from the hike are here]

Today being Mother’s Day, we made it over to Burbank to get my mom and take her for brunch at Castaway, a restaurant high up in the Verdugos above Burbank. I’d last been there more than 15 years ago, and as such I’m not sure how that place came to me as a potential Mother’s Day destination, but as I wasn’t really interested in doing the low-key Philippe’s thing like we’d done the last couple years, I called them up last week hoping they wouldn’t laugh too loud at me making a reservation so late in the game. Turned out they had room fo us at 1:30 and that’s when we got there.

It didn’t start off well. The main parking lot was packed so they were diverting overflow traffic to an alternate lot down the hill and shuttling people up. Somehow we ended up in a long line waiting for a shuttle almost 30 years minutes and we feared we would just be dropped off at the top of the hill to face another long line, but the dining gods were with us on this day and when I checked in with the hostess I told her we’d be willing to be seated outside on the terrace and we got seated right away. Apparently most parties coming to Castaway on this day didn’t want to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine and would rather be crammed inside — pffft, who knew?!

So Susan ordered a mimosa and mom and I ordered bloody marys and we all went to town on the expansive buffet. Dude, I totally gorged. Multiple plates of shrimp, eggs benedict, a paella dish, rice, lox, sushi, this sweet-and-spicy Mexican cornbread, bacon, free-flowing champagne (note to self: find out where they sell bottles of Wycliff — or maybe Wycliffe — bubbly around here; s’good stuff), and I won’t even go into dessert details. Let’s just say I guesstimated my calorie intake for the meal as 3,500… probably high, but not by much.

After dropping mom back off at her place, Susan and I came home and have spent the afternoon lolling around the house awaiting the latest episode of The Sopranos, which just ended. And in a few minutes the Survivor finale begins. Dinner? Not necessary. Not in the slightest.