Thursday, September 13, 2012

Hike 2012.064 -- Mt. Hollywood and Vicinity

Hiked Sunday, Sept 9. Still behind in my hike writeups. I walked this one on Sunday. Did another hike on Tuesday. Both were in Griffith Park, as I continue scouting potential spots to shoot photos during the anticipated Endeavour flyby as it heads to LAX. That'll be on Thursday, September 20. Sort of like the transit of Venus from earlier this year, this'll be another "once in a lifetime" opportunity.

On Sunday afternoon, from the Observatory parking lot, I headed down the trail that departs from just northwest of the Observatory structure. Hikers, bikers and joggers are always going up and down that trail, but I did not know where it went. Today, I would find out.

I thought it was going to take me to the point where Vermont Avenue makes a hairpin turn as it stops heading directly north and begins weaving up the mountain. But this was not where this trail went.

Instead, it dropped down, to the south. Nice views back at the Observatory dome as it dropped, before making a left and continue to lose altitude. After about 1/4 mile, I hit a multi-pointed junction. I turned left, because that's the way I wanted to go. After another 1/4 mile, I hit a paved road. Just down and across on that road, the dirt trail continued, so I went that way. I could undoubtedly have continued on the pavement for some distance in either direction, but I don't like walking on pavement.

When I eventually popped out of the hills, I was disorient-ed. Despite driving up Vermont about a dozen times in the past month, I never noticed the side street I was now standing on before. Looking at the Google Maps satellite photo, this would be Vista Del Valle Drive. Picnic tables and picnickers were across the road. Cars were parked in the road.

"In the road?" you ask? Yes, in the road. In the middle of the road. Because, on the afternoon I was hiking, there was a concern in the Greek Theater, which is also on Vermont. There's not a lot of parking adjacent to the Greek, so one of the things they do is stack parked cars right in the middle of both Vermont and Vista Del Valle.

I checked with one of the guys directing cars to parking, to be sure I was allowed to cross. I also asked about the deer, and he said they're always there.

"Deer?" you ask? Yes, deer. I saw two of them, browsing under the trees, about 30 yards from some picnickers. Both seemed happy to pretend to ignore each other. But I still like taking pictures of deer, so I zoomed in and snapped a number of shots.
They were a couple, a buck and a doe. Clearly, the grass is greener down near these manicured park lands than it is up in the chaparral.

Once I had my bearings, I headed east, to Vermont, then north. I had to dodge many concert goers and their cars as I headed that way. I crossed Vermont when I saw a break in the traffic, and headed up the east end of the street. Several trails head off from that end. I elected to take the one up where Vermont makes that hairpin turn I mentioned earlier. There's a restroom there, and a sign that mentions "Bird Sanctuary."

I get the impression the bird sanctuary is the area that's fenced off from fire damage. The only trail from this area heads north, but climbs up the west end of the canyon. A chain link fence borders you on your right.

It was about 1/2 mile of walking along Vermont, then about 1/5 of a mile of heading north-ish on the trail before the trail hit a fence and made a sharp switchback to the west. The trail then largely contours to the west before turning north again, meeting the Charlie Turner Trail at another multi-point junction. From there, paths back down towards the Observatory, or around either side of Mt. Hollywood depart. I took the easterly route, just because I haven't gone that way as often.

About 1/4 mile to the east, and you hit Dante's View. Another 1/5 mile or so takes you to the summit.

As I rounded towards the east end of Mt. Hollywood, I saw a portion of a rainbow, rising steeply against the sky. It was raining pretty good down towards the foothills.

Several nice views of the downtown skyline along the way, too.

Some idiot with a group of other idiots was firing his CO2 bb gun at a bottle cap sitting atop one of the wooden fence posts surrounding the top of Mt. Lee. But no one was willing to tell the idiot what an idiot he was for fear of getting the snot beat out of them.

Returned back to the Observatory parking lot via the Charlie Turner trail. Nice views of Buddha's Rays as the sun set beyond Mt. Lee.

Shot plenty of additional shots of the skyline to my south. Continued down the Charlie Turner, crossed over the Vermont tunnel, came down past the Berlin Children's Forest, crossed the lot, and got back to my car. About 2 1/2 hours, all told. Probably five miles, maybe a little less.

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