Another Old Friend Revisited…

29 04 2009

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.

First Crest-Hollywood Hills

First Crest-Hollywood Hills

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.

The conquered netting, Horse riders, Griffith Park Observatory and the Hollywood sign

The conquered netting, Horse riders, Griffith Park Observatory and the Hollywood sign

Architecture at its finest

Architecture at its finest

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.

From the top of the crest

From the top of the Crest

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!

My Avon Walk Page

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Reacquainting with Old Friends, Discovering New, and the Avon Walk Update!

22 04 2009

Thanks to an ex, I used to hike quite a bit, and enjoyed it.  But work schedules, life, and a couple of crazy moves put a comma on the activity.  But now that I am partially employed, and training for the walk, I’ve been able to rediscover my old trails, and get acquainted with a new one.

Fryman Canyon is my main workout route.  It’s a 3-mile,  round-trip hike through Lila Wilacre Estate Park that goes from the San Fernando Valley floor to the top of the Hollywood Hills.   On the less-smoggy days, it has some spectacular views of the Valley and the Hills.  On a clear day, you can see… Burbank and Encino!

When I do my increase day (where I add miles) I just do the round trip twice.  Not fun, but hopefully by August, it will feel like nothing.

I take Panda on two of my four training days, and he loves it!  It’s nice having an appreciative partner to share it with–such a faithful pooch.

My other training hike is a new discovery.  When we moved to North Hollywood, we discovered a walking/biking trail running up the Tujunga Wash.   Called the Tujunga Wash Greenway and Stream Restoration Project, it’s an ambitious effort to capture the Valley rainfall and runoff, and reclaim it for use by Valley residents.

The path stretches from Vanowen Street to Oxnard Street, and is covered with rocks and gravel, surrounded by native trees and plants.  The plants are now in full bloom, and quite beautiful.  I’ve taken some pictures with my Treo of some plants I want to purchase for my own yard.

I tack on an extra mile by connecting to a park bordered by Grant High School and Valley College, that stretches to Chandler Boulevard.  Round-trip, it’s about 4.72 miles.  A good workout, by any measure.

The fundraising is going well, and I am at 38% of my goal!  I have also had several requests for donation coupons, for those who don’t like online transactions and want to snail-mail a donation.  They take 2-3 weeks to update on My Avon page, so I will be excited to see the new contributions in a few weeks!

Here are a few notes of encouragement from my online supporters:

Natalie in Silverlake: “This is a wonderful cause and I hope that you reach your goal. It is certainly a time when all nonprofits can use support from the public.  Good luck!”

Kathy of Panorama City: “We are proud of your efforts. We have 2 close friends who have survived breast cancer. YEAH Jennifer!”

Caprice of Northridge: “You go girl!”

With a cheering section like this, doing 39.3 miles will be a piece of cake–famous last words!

If you’d like to contribute, here’s the link:

My Avon Walk Page





The Outpouring of Support has been Tremendous!

8 04 2009
In Service to the Cause...

In Service to the Cause...

Just 10 days of  fundraising, and I am already at 30% of my goal!  Here’s extending a huge shout-out of Thanks! to all who have contributed thus far.  Along with the financial support, the well wishes have energized me and warmed my spirit.   Here are a few of the messages from those who have contributed, including my dear mother-in-law, who has inspired me in this cause:

Liz of San Luis Obispo:  “Dear Jen: Thank you so much for supporting a cause that is close to my heart. I am fortunate to be a 15-year survivor of breast cancer, and I know how important this contribution is.   Love you!!”

Roger of Northridge: “I’m proud of you for doing this!”

Sharon of Venice:  “An incredibly worthy cause. I wish Liz and Rebecca only the very best and will hold them in my thoughts. “

Carrie of San Luis Obispo: “Wishing you a fun walk for a very deserving cause! Go Jennifer!”

Judy of Simi Valley:  ” How wonderful of you, you are a true blessing!  May God provide blessings on your endeavor! Been praying for your mom and your friend too.”

Birgit of Thousand Oaks:  “Good luck and God bless! “

There are others who have requested to send in donations, which will only increase the total–but I’m still not there yet, and it’s still not too late to contribute.

Think of it this way: if you give up a few cups of Starbucks, Coffee Bean or Peets for the week, that’s potentially $25.00 you could contribute.  If you eat out, skipping one restaurant meal could generate $30-$50.00 toward the cause.

When you look at it in those terms, it’s so simple!  So please, consider supporting me, as I walk in Service to the Cause.

Here’s the link… you know what to do.

My Personal Page








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