Saturday, September 22, 2012
Hike 2012.067A -- Mt. Hollywood and Endeavour Flybys
Headed up here with some friends who wanted to be a part of yet another "once in a lifetime" events. We all headed up towards Mt. Hollywood, and settled in our respective locations.
We arrived early at Griffith Observatory, because we were expecting traffic to be crazy. Pulled into the parking area at 7am, by which time the regular parking spots were already all taken. Fortunately, I had a staff parking permit, so we did find a spot up near the top.
This trail is really pretty desolate. With the exception of a few rock outcroppings, and perhaps if you head up to Dante's View, you have essentially no shade. Meanwhile, the flyby was not scheduled until about 11:30am. So, with people arriving by 8am or earlier, that was a long time to spend in the sun.
Yet, rumor was they would return. And indeed, after apparently visiting Santa Monica, it slowly made its way back towards us.
It then banked to the left, and swept to the north, towards JPL.
From our perspective, it disappeared behind Mt. Hollywood.
However, with the supposed itinerary saying that, in addition to JPL, a flyby of Universal Studios was on tap, I was confident the shuttle would soon reappear on the west side of the peak. I made my way across the wide dirt path that is Mt. Hollywood Road. And, sure enough, the shuttle soon emerged, flying probably right over the Ventura Freeway (CA 134).
Then it banked to the left, flying over Universal Studios, and just west of Burbank and Cahuenga Peaks. Earlier, I had pointed my telephoto lens at Burbank Peak, so I know at least a few people got an up-close, eye-level view of the shuttle as it made that flight segment.
After clearing Cahuenga Pass, the shuttle-topped 747 banked left, making another nearby pass, somewhat to our south, but over Hollywood, again. It continued to our east, eventually disappearing behind the ridge that runs up towards Mt. Hollywood. The time stamp on my last photo says this would be around 12:11pm.
From Griffith Observatory, the aerial show headed towards Disneyland, with a low flight over the Downey plant where the shuttle was built. A co-worker in Norwalk, who did not take the day off, reported it flew right over our work place there (near the Registrar-Recorder's building).
It was a long, dry, tiring day, but we all had a ball. We love events like this. It's sort of like the Venus Transit or Annular Eclipse, where all sorts of people with all sorts of backgrounds, who may have little in common with each other, can stop and share a common experience that transcends economics and culture.