Monday, October 8, 2012

Hike 2012.069A -- Bee Rock, Griffith Park

Hiked Saturday, October 6.  Another post-work hike.  I didn't make it to the trailhead until around 5:30pm.  Things were kind of weird when I arrived, because there's a haunted hayride thing going on in this area of the park.  There was also some sort of Christmas thing going on down the trail, so I'm a little confused about what that's all about. [edit--I later found out the Christmas thing was part of the haunted hay ride--go figure!].

I started from the parking lot near the Merry-Go-Round.  I'm not sure if I got to the actual lot considered the "Merry-Go-Round lot," because there were cones set up and people directing traffic for folks trying to get to the aforementioned haunted hayride (I wonder if "aforementioned" is the longest word I've ever used on this blog?).

I think this was the southern end of the lot.  There was a gate across the road that was heading to the west, but I think that was so employees could park there--there were plenty of cars parked beyond the barricade.  However, I turned right at the gate, and asked the guy directing traffic were I should park if I was just here to hike.  He said I could park in the lot I was in.

From there, I walked past the barricade.  I also passed a trail with a "4" on it as I headed west.  Joining a wide, dirt road, I passed one trail heading north and took the second right.  I'm pretty sure this is where an "8" would be if the Old Zoo Trail were properly signed.

The trail headed north from there, climbing as it went.  It did not take long before I saw a rock outcropping that I deduced must be "Bee Rock."  I could also see a chain link fence atop the rock.

Meanwhile, as I climbed, below and to my right was music that I assumed was part of the Haunted Hayride.  However, the music made me imagine an 18" tall letter "Pi" descending on a stage!

Even odder was later on the hike, when I heard what sounded like elves singing "Santa Claus is Coming to Town."  That was by what looked like a Santa's Village sort of set up, with fake snow, snowflakes, snowmen, and a city general services truck.  It was the oddest juxtaposition of sights and sounds I have ever encountered on a hike (Is "juxtaposition" longer than "aforementioned"?).

The Santa's Village thing was where a trail cut across the Zoo Trail, and headed down to the old zoo.  Shortly after crossing that junction, the trail to Bee Rock was off and to the left.  It begins as a continuation of a dirt road, but rather abruptly, at a turn, becomes single-track.  Switchbacks take you through, around, and under some thicker vegetation.  In several spots, steps had been cut into the trail, which now ran adjacent to rather than over the steps.

Finally, I attained the altitude of Bee Rock.  From there, it was a sharp turn to the left, then along a trail, then hopping atop the rocky top of the outcropping.

It's a shame somebody felt the need to put a chain link fence around the summit.

I took many pictures from there, and enjoyed the view over the city scape.

On my return trip, I took the short detour, bypassing the trail back down and continuing briefly to the west.  I climbed a short set of stone steps and arrived on the aging pavement of Vista del Valle Drive.  I had seen this road a few days earlier, when I hiked Hogback.  I contemplated if I had time to take Vista del Valle to the north, where I could then take the Eckert Trail back and around to where I started.  However, it was 6:30pm by now, so the answer was, "No."

Instead, I returned the way I came.

I'm not sure on the mileage.  Several sources give a 2.2 mile distance for the loop that includes the Old Zoo. However, I think the trail though the Old Zoo (labeled PaDTL Trail on my photocopied trail map, and indicated as a paved road on the LaBonge map), looks to be somewhat shorter than the Old Zoo Trail I took both ways.  However, it doesn't look 3/4 of a mile shorter.  Also, it took just over 30 minutes on the downhill return from Vista del Valle Drive.  That makes it unlikely that I actually covered 3 miles that day, so I guess I can't count this as an official hike towards my target of 100 for the year.

The other thing that disappoints me is the discovery that, barely in October, it's already too late to fit much of a hike in after a shift that ends at 5pm.  Before long, after DST ends, they may not even fit in after a 3:30pm shift end.  Unless I start taking more weekends off, I think making my hiking goal this year may be problematic.

I think Blogspot has changed its formatting a bit in the past few days, so I can't get the same layout I normally use. Sorry about that.

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