Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Hike 2012.038 -- Cahuenga Peak, Griffith Park

Hiked Wednes-day, June 20. This day's goal was Cahuenga Peak, whose summit stands at 1820 feet above sea level. Having recently hiked returned to Mt. Lee, I decided now was the time to go the short but not obvious distance over to Cahuenga Peak.

The directions to this trail head, and the vast majority of the hike to Cahuenga, are old ground. Yes, I made a number of slight variations, including taking a steep ridge route over Mt Chapel from the east, and a lower contour trail along the north face of Mt. Chapel on the return trip. But the vast majority of the trail (up to the Cahuenga Peak monument) is ground I covered just a few weeks previous, so most of these pictures are just from the last mile or so of my hike, from Mt. Lee to Burbank Peak. The rest of the hike is just getting from your trailhead to Mt. Lee, which was covered in previous hikes.

Today, I parked near the gate to Mount Hollywood Drive, which is just north of the tunnel that goes under the mountain and out to Observatory Drive. I walked along the pavement. I would have parked up by the observatory, but finding a parking spot is hit-or-miss around 4:30pm, when I got here. Instead, I'm the first car from the gate as I park, with plenty of room for the gates to be swung open, should they need to open.

From here, I began along the paved road (private autos prohibited) that is Mt. Hollywood Drive. This is probably 80 feet or so lower than the Observatory parking lot, but it does not have the same immediate climb to it, and it does not require climbing 2/3 of the way towards Mt. Lee if Mt. Lee not your destination. Having been to Mt. Lee twice in the last three weeks, I didn't feel the need to make that trip, again.

From the pavement, I could see many colorful flags waving atop Mt. Lee. Not sure what the event was, but it was probably related to the several motor pool vans and vehicles with counsel plates I saw both at the start and finish of my hike. Some of the flags, I could make out though my telephoto lens. Other ones, I need to wait until I could get home and blow the pictures up. Still others, I needed to consult a list of national flags. Today, I can say with high confidence that the following flags were on the top of the hill (from right to left: United States, City of Los Angeles, Mexico, South Korea, Indonesia, Great Britain, Israel, Philippines, India, Columbia, France, Australia, and maybe Canada (the last one is mostly obscured by the French flag).

[My initial guess was going to be a "Sister Cities" event, but Los Angeles doesn't have a sister city in Australia or Columbia, so unless someone messed up with the flags, it was something else.]

The trail to Cahuenga Peak begins right behind (and to the left) of the monument for Cahuenga Peak. There's also a bench there, and it seems to be a rare moment hat someone isn't resting on that bench. It's somewhat overgrown, but definitely easy to follow. After about 20 yards, you pop up at a ridge, and have a nice view of the Hollywood sign and Hollywood Reservoir. The path from there to Cahuenga Peak is mostly narrow and occasionally steep, but, at least in dry weather, it's not precarious.

Looking to the west, I could see a solitary tree, silhouetted against the glare of the eastern horizon. I later learned this tree marked the summit of Burbank Peak. It seems like more of a shoulder than a peak, but I don't get to name things.

Meanwhile, I followed the ridge line, first to the southwest, then to the south. At times, Cahuenga Peak looked somewhat intimidating, but I was confident this was still a walk-up. I confirmed this with a couple that was hiking from the other side.

As I made the final push, coming from the northeast, I passed a bloom of monkeyflower.

Then I was there.

Great views back to Mt Lee, with Mt Hollywood and Griffith Observatory beyond. Hazy Burbank and Glendale to the north. Hazier North Hollywood to the west. Universal Studios was down there. No view of the ocean today, either. As with my last few hikes in Griffith Park, visibility was poor.

What I could still see was the lone tree, which I eventually decided to visit.

It's a quick 3/4 mile, with a fair descent in altitude to the tree.

An old ammunition case was labeled "Tree Mail," and there were several notebooks inside. All the entries were from the last few days, however, so I figured there was no point in leaving a message.

Took some more pictures, then returned the way I came.

No real idea on the total mileage for the day. I'll call it 6 miles, though it could be more.

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