February 21, 2012

Hollywood Sign Hike

So I am pretty excited about this happy accident of  hike. We had tentatively planned a 3-day weekend to Big Bear to take the toddler to see snow, but we didn't do very much research (or couldn't find much definitive in our research) about what to do to keep a little guy busy when the temp outside is 38 or less. There is only so much snow time he can handle at once. Also, we couldn't secure a place to stay for less than $800 a night on such late notice. Even though we think we could have made a day trip of it, we still didn't have a tentative activity plan, so we had to postpone. (Please feel to share ideas about when to go, what to do, and where to stay!!!)

Griffith Observatory
So. We decided to do a day trip to Hollywood instead. We packed water, snacks and extra clothes, strapped on our sneakers and headed out first thing to go hike to the Hollywood sign. We drove to Griffith Park, right off I5. Gotta say, this is a hidden gem. This must be the only non-concrete space in LA. Even though its not exactly lush, it still is a really nice space. There are a zillion trails with stunning views from every point along the way. Its also a very popular spot. We had no trouble parking (though I hear the 'warmer months' are busier), but we also were never really alone on our hike, which was fine for us.
We started at the base, in Fern Dell near Los Feliz Blvd. We put M in the ErgoBaby and headed out. I gotta say that this definitely was a workout (according to MyFitnessPal app, hauling a 10-20 lb load while hiking for two hours burns nearly 1000 calories for my size person. Wonder if I get extra credit for being out of shape and hauling 30 lbs?). That said, there were lots of civilian folks hiking just fine. Old people. Fat people. People in flip flops. Ladies pushing strollers (OK, this was really just on the lower trail parts, but still). After about 45 minutes of hiking we got to the Observatory. We let M out of the pack, had a snack and water, took a potty break. It was a really good time to let him run around and for me to rest and for all of us to enjoy the views of LA, Culver City, the Hollywood sign - oh, and the mountains. After a breather we loaded back up, and followed the promise of a sign that I swear said "Hike to the Hollywood Sign."
yep, we walked that winding trail
The second leg really lead to the top of Mt. Hollywood, but still provided some pretty killer views. M and I took turns stretching out our arms and pretending to fly like birds. He fell asleep about 10 minutes in to this leg and hubby and I enjoyed the sights and sounds of nature (and other hikers). I have to say that after only a few minutes into this second leg, we saw some hikers debating about taking a more direct, steep, and I am pretty sure unofficial, route up the mountain. One hiker trying to persuade his fellow group members, "the other way takes so long, I promise it will be worth it." Then we saw sand and pebbles trickle out from under his feet. We chose the safer route, but it still felt steep and certainly long. All in all it took us about an hour and a half to get to the top (about 2.5 miles, and a little more than 1000 ft). M woke up in the last few steps of getting there. He stayed in the pack this time, even though there is a weakly fenced in picnic area at the top. We took some photos, had some fruit and headed back down. It seemed from the top that there were several options in paths so we wanted to take a different one down. Turns out we ended up taking the steep trail on the way down, and it wasn't so bad. The downhill only took about 30 minutes, and was a little taxing on the knees, even on the not-as-steep parts. When we reached the last 100 feet, we let M out of the pack and let him walk the rest of the way. He stopped to pick up leaves and sticks and was quite entertaining.

Fun climbing on the astronomer monument

i think this is Burbank..?
As an epilogue, after our 1000-calorie-torching hike, we thought we should get our first In-N-Out burger. The closest one was located on Sunset Blvd. So we got to hunt for movie stars, too!! The burger was pretty good (and the place was crazy busy!) and we did see a famous person ... I think. Paparazzi jumped out and started taking photos of a very well-put-together couple walking down the street. We didn't recognize them, but that isn't saying much. We probably should subscribe to People. It would be the equivalent of our Durham Magazine, when we lived in Durham. After lunch was nap time, so we thought we would keep driving around downtown LA and Beverly hills, while M dozed. No more sightings, but I was dying to just roll down the windows and tailgate one of the hundreds of tour buses. We will definitely have to come back and take a real tour to find out where the stars live.

A few more photos:

The top of the mountain was a little anti-climactic.

View from the observatory!

No comments:

Post a Comment