I dropped Panda and Zeta off at the groomers in Burbank, with grand plans of squeezing in my distance walk. But since I was so close to Griffith Park, I decided to go on a little adventure, and trade the distance walk for conditioning. And the trail at Mt. Hollywood was just the place to do it!
I drove through Griffith Park, turned right onto Los Feliz, and then another right at Vermont, as it winds past the residences, and into the Greek Theater parking area. The road winds around, then forks. I pulled ahead at the fork and parked–this is the beginning of the conditioning trail.
It has been over five years since I’ve been on this trail, and boy were there changes! Erosion had washed out the very narrow, uphill ascent, so the Park service cut a new path a few steps away, still a winding uphill, and a bit wider for a few yards, until you reach the original path, which is one-person only–and they mean it.
I took it slow and breathed deeply so as not to panic, and soon I took the height and the narrowness in stride–until I encountered a part of the trail that had been closed off due to erosion. But the diehards (and only the diehards take this route) had already blazed over it. They all must be gazelles, because it was still uneven and just as uphill and narrow as the previous portion. The orange netting that had once marked it off still clung to the two poles driven into the rock. I swallowed my hesitation, and I attempted to balance myself (not my strong suit), holding on for dear life to the poles while I found some secure (hah!) footing on the other side of the netting. I succeeded, moving forward on the narrow way, and pushing past wildflowers as I blazed on.
I was rewarded with my first view of the Hollywood Hills overlooking downtown Los Angeles. Still shaded by marine layer, but spectacular nonetheless. This hike gives you 360 degree views of Hollywood and downtown LA to the East, and Beverly Hills and Century City to the west, so it’s a favorite of tourists and locals alike. It was only a few more feet, before I reached the “tourist” portion of the hike.
It’s still uphill, and just as conditioning, but here the path is much wider, for bike and equine access, as all the horse puckeys I had to avoid attested to. The Hollywood sign came in sight, and I was now looking down on Griffith Park Observatory, one of the fantastic pieces of Los Angeles classic architecture.
From this point, you follow the trail to the top of the crest, with a lookout point festooned with picnic tables and park benches. I wondered how many Winter marriage proposals (when it’s most clear in LA) had happened on this very spot.
The tourist trail winds its way back into Griffith Park, and after passing a coyote foraging for food (fortunately he wasn’t interested in me!), I passed through a tunnel that leads back to the Greek Theater, and a little over 3.5 miles later, I returned to my car, feeling as though I had conquered once again. That’s the benefit of this training, every day and mile completed is an accomplishment!
Speaking of accomplishment, I am at 42% of my goal! Generous gifts from Phil of Simi Valley, and my Chicago cousin, Linda Love, have brought me closer to the $1,800 financing. Thanks, guys!
It’s always a good time to contribute, if you haven’t already!