Monday, November 10, 2014

Hike 2014.054 -- Brand Park -- Miss America Green Cross and Library Trail Loop

Hiked Sunday, October 19. Having taken a hike in the Verdugo Hills just a few days previous, and armed with my Tom Harrison map, I intended to visit a new trail to take me up to the Crest of the Verdugos, once more. However, as is often the case, I assumed finding the trailhead would be easier than it was.

Finding the park was easy enough--after all, I had my Tom Harrison map! So I drove from I-5 to Western Avenue, and took that to the northeast, towards the mountains. The park itself is quite large, with lots of roads and parking areas, so it took a while to decide where to park.

Not knowing any better, I parked near the big white building. Because, after all, it was a BIG WHITE BUILDING! And what is this big white building? Why, it's the Glendale Public Library. Yep, their library has got some sweet digs.

Apparently, the "Mr. Brand" for whom the park and the street are named used to live in this building. When he died, he gave the land and the mansion to the City of Glendale, with the proviso that it become a park and library. So I guess that makes him sort of the Glendale equivalent of Griffith J. Griffith, minus the interest in astronomy, and, probably, minus a fair number of dollars.

It's an impressive house (with an expansion, to house the full library, apparent-ly). I mean on the outside--I didn't go inside. It doesn't have the same level of refinement of the structures at the Huntington. Then again, I'm sure there was much less money involved. For an actual, free, public library, it's very nice.
I spent some time photographing the building, and, even by itself, that made the trip worthwhile. But I was looking for the hiking trail. My real plan was to walk up to the crest of the Verdugos, but from this different direction. However, as time later ran out on me (also, after backtracking back and forth around the park, looking for the trailhead), I ended up cutting it short, and just doing a short loop.

Turns out, there are multiple trails on the ground that were not on the Tom Harrison map.

In particular, the two trails nearest the library (the Miss America Green Cross and the Library trail) are not on the map. They're very steep tracks up two different ridges that run down towards this library. By contrast, my Tom Harrison map just showed the large dirt road trail that headed up from the debris/detention basin.

Tricky part here is that the library trail was unsigned. I thought it was a use trail, so I didn't immediately head up that way. Instead, I wandered around. Incidentally, there's *another* debris basin immediately behind the library. This is NOT a trail. You quickly run into a fenced "Do Not Enter" place, if you try going up that way.
But I saw people hiking on the ridges above me, so I figured there must be a way up there.

Eventually, I wandered over to the funny statue of what turned out to be "Miss America Green Cross." This was a recreation of an original piece of environmental art, and is supposed to relate somehow to the preservation of forests. I didn't spend too much time reading the material by the statue, because, by now, I was getting impatient to get started on my hike.
However, for those interested, there is a kiosk board with a map of these new trails and a plaque about the statue. You can read that at your leisure. If you're passing to the left (northwest) of the library, the statue is back and to the left. I guess I assumed it was the entrance to a church or something, and so NOT a trailhead, so I didn't head there, initially. But, no, it's not a church--it's "art." It's also a trailhead.

From there, it's a steep climb up to the ridge. The trail itself is sometimes hard to follow, with may cuts in the trail. Chains are placed to try to keep you on the path, but obviously many do not stay on the trail.
Once clear of the trees, you can see the large detention basin in the next canyon, and where the trail that's on the Tom Harrison map would start. The other trail loops up the canyon, then switchbacks up to join where this Green Cross trail ends, near an overlook. The Green Cross (and Library) trails, by contrast, head right up the ridge. Each is roughly a mile long, and merge an overlook, with benches and signs. From the overlook, I had expansive views to the south, west, and northwest. Nice views of Griffith Park, downtown L.A., Glendale and Burbank. The Verdugo Mountains were at my back.
Once at the overlook, I debated going further, then decided to turn around. That means it was only about two miles of hiking on that segment. But between my repeated criss-crosses looking for the trailhead, and the walk around the library a few times, and the wrong turn up the debris basin, I figure I made my third mile there. So three miles for the day. Short hike, but somewhat strenuous going up. This was also another new trail for me.

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