Friday, March 13, 2015

Hike 2015.014 -- Griffith Park; Greek Theater to Observatory, then on up the Charlie Turner and Mt. Hollywood Drive Trails, to Ridge Overlooking Bronson Caves

Hiked Thursday, March 5. This may be the longest hike title I've ever written. ;D

This was also my first, "off at my regular time, but hiked after work" hike of the year. Sunset just prior to the shift to daylight savings time was not until almost 6pm. For hikes where I knew I'd be fine even in the hour after sunset, this is plenty of time for an after-work hike.

Now that we've shifted to daylight savings time, this'll be even more true.

One odd thing I have slowly come to realize is that, from my current work location (Monterey Park), Griffith Park is actually the hiking destination I can get to most quickly and easily. It always seemed "across town" for me, yet it's really just 30 minutes or so from my work parking lot to the base of the road up to the Observatory.

On this afternoon (March 5), this was also supposed to be the 'mini-moon" day. This was Griffith Observatory's answer to the silly "Super Moon" thing that's been going on the past few years, where somehow it has been determined that if a moon occurs near the moon's perigee (closest point to earth in the moon's elliptical (non-circular) path around the earth. When that happens, the moon is slightly closer and appears slightly larger than when it's further away at full moon. By "slightly closer," we mean about five percent closer.

These events also coincide with the also-recently invented "King Tide," when high tides are slightly higher than normal (because the moon is slightly closer to the earth than normal.

So, by contrast, a "mini-moon" would be when the moon is full as it nears apogee, when the moon is slightly further away than it is on average. Then, the moon appears slightly smaller than "normal."

I parked on Vermont Avenue, across the street from the Greek Theater. From there, I headed south a bit, then headed very briefly up the paved stub of a road that heads west from just south of the Greek Theater.

From there, there's a broad, bulldozed dirt road or dirt path that begins on the paved stub and heads north, towards Griffith Observatory.

It climbs steeply but briefly. After probably 1/4 mile, the dirt road intersects a paved road. Head up hill about 40 yards, then turn left, up the dirt road that continues on the "left" side of the paved road. (The aved road heads to a water tank).

After another 1/5 mile or so, this dirt path reaches a junction. Straight or left would send you down towards Ferndell. Right takes you up to just east of the Observatory.

After maybe 1/10th of a mile, there's another split. Stay to the right; the left path dead ends just ahead, and strands you at a place that you can not access the Observatory.
It's about 6/10ths of am mile total from the start of the trail until you've reached the Observatory area.

From there, I headed north, crossing the lawn, then crossing the parking lot and reaching the Charlie Turner Trailhead. A tree in George Harrison's memory once again graces this trailhead. Perhaps more about that on a future post.

I followed this trail about 1/2 mile, up to where it makes the hairpin turn from west to east. An informal trail (that you probably should not normally use, but was the easiest way for me to get to where I wanted to get to) connects the Charlie Turner with the Mount Hollywood Road paths. Somewhere around here, I passed a large paw print, which I have since determined to be canine rather than feline.

Once on Mount Hollywood Drive, I continued very briefly to the east, before going off the road and along a ridge that trended to the south.

As noted earlier, this was the night of the mini-moon, so I wanted to get a shot of the rising moon above the Observatory, which was to the east. Ideally, I'd have liked a spot where I was exactly due west of the Observatory. But my ridge route would drop altitude rapidly before it reached such a point.

I could just fit both Observatory and moon at 70mm, but the contrast in brightness made a decent picture impossible. In real-life, you'd want to try for this shot when the moon rises maybe 20-40 minutes before sunset, so the Observatory would still be somewhat bright as the moon rises above the domes. I may try to take such a shot in the future.
I waited on my lonely ridge for about 15 minutes, as I was now a little below the Observa-tory's elevation, and it took longer for the moon to rise above the domes. Stayed and took my shots even after it became obvious the moon wasn't going rise relative to the Observatory where I wanted it to rise (it was too far to the north), and that the contrast would make taking a good picture impossible. Then returned to the Observatory via Mount Hollywood Drive, then walked up the sidewalk along West Observatory Drive. Somewhere around 5 miles for the afternoon.

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