Los AngelesMay 30, 2015 in the United States
We planned that our first day after Trek America would be a 'rest day' thinking that we would need it. However after spending most of yesterday sitting in a van from Las Vegas to Los Angeles we felt restless and wanted to get out in the California sunshine. With our hostel situated in Hollywood we are well placed for views of the Hollywood sign as well as getting to the Griffith Observatory, both situated high on the hills of Griffith Park. Our hostel had information on three hike routes of varying difficulty and we chose the moderate climb. However even this started with an ascent of 600 feet over the first mile of the trail. Furthermore it was a two mile walk from our hostel to the trailhead. As said, we felt restless...
We arrived at the trailhead in good time, leaving paved streets for sandy tracks which quickly rose above nearby houses. Being Saturday morning there were a number of families, dog walkers and hikers out on the trail, there were even groups of horse riders whose shit stank in the rising heat (the horses' not the riders at least). With the city below us we moved up and around ridge lines of hardy thorny shrub.
When we reached the junction with the Hollyridge Trail (the first and more gentle ascent) we thought we were getting close, however as we moved closer to the Hollywood sign we could see the trail continue to rise and switchback across the hills. Midday was closing in and the trail simmered in the 26C degree heat. We would approach a blind bend in the trail with only bright blue sky visible over the lip. Approaching, we were poised to turn the corner and see something to indicate that we were closer to our goal. Yet we only found another steep rise to another blind bend. We trudged on, determined to get to the top and eventually we did. To our surprise we found that we had actually risen above the sign and made it to the peak itself. We sat under some scant shade to greedily drink from our water bottles before making the descent. From our position we could see Los Angeles stretch out to the horizon in all directions, however heat and air pollution obscured much of this.
We could see in the distance, across the ridge lines, The Griffith Observatory, built in 1933 to observe stars in the night sky but made famous by stars of other kind from its use as a location in films including 'Rebel Without A Cause' and 'The Terminator', leading it to become an emblem of the city.
Whilst at the observatory we managed to meet with Matti from Trek America, who is staying in Santa Monica before he begins his surf school tomorrow. Matti has been a very good friend on our trip so it was brilliant to see him as we toured the observatory with its exhibits on space. However it was also bitter sweet because it involved a further goodbye. We really hope Matti has a great time at surf school and that we are able to keep in touch.
By the time we returned to the hostel it was after 6:00pm, having hiked a total of 11-12 miles. We arrived back proud but exhausted. So much for a 'rest day'!Read more