Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Hike 2016.012 -- Griffith Park, Charlie Turner, Bird Sanctuary, and Fern Dell

Hiked Sunday, March 6. It rained the previous night and early morning, and my initial goal was to try to get there before the clouds broke. I'm seen some nifty pictures of the Observatory, poking out above the clouds, and wanted to try to catch that. Alas, by the time I got underway (about 8:30am), the clouds had already broken.

So now I had no real plan. But I hopped in the car and drove to Griffith Park, anyway. I had figured out it only takes me about 25 minutes from garage to parking lot, which is as fast as I can get to the base of the San Gabriel Mountains. Weird, but true. Because I think I had previously noted that, growing up, Griffith Observatory always seemed so far away.
So I parked in the regular Observatory lot, and still had no real plan. Just up Mount Hollywood? Well, that's how it started, anyway. So off the north part of the lot, up the hill, over the Vermont Tunnel (which was soaking and muddy--good thing I had waterproof hiking boots on!

I went on up the Charlie Turner Trail, slowly gaining altitude as I walked to the west, and snapping many pictures along the way. Then I gained altitude while heading east. I snapped some shots of folks at the ridgeline, where the trail spits, with the choice of either looping around to the west or to the east, but either route giving you the option of reaching the top of Mount Hollywood.
Yet, as I reached this point, I had no real motivation to continue. My shot wasn't going to happen, since the clouds were already long gone. So I headed out to the overlook near this split. The trail goes on the ridgeline (where the folks I photographed were walking).
Snapped some more pictures here, then just continued on down. Eventually, I rejoined the trail that headed south from the junction, but that trail stayed to the west of the ridge. Probably an easier walk, but I didn't know they would meet, at the time I started.
At the meet, I could either continue on down the ridge, back to the Observatory, or take the trail that headed down towards the so-called "Bird Sanctuary." Not sure if I had walked this way before (I probably have, but couldn't remember, so it must have been a while!), so I took the trail down into the Bird Sanctuary.
That trail ends near the restroom, where Vermont makes a hairpin turn and begins a steeper ascent, up towards the tunnel.

I continued south, past the restroom. Initially, I stayed on the east side of the road. But I crossed over to the Greek side when I reached the wide but short paved road that runs immediately south of the Greek Theater.
There was a bird of paradise blooming there, which I photographed. Then I continued just a score or two score yards west on the paved road, and took the dirt fire road on up towards the Observatory. Where the unpaved road hit another paved road to a water tank, I turned briefly uphill, then continued when the dirt trail continued to the west.
This trail intersects with another, at which point you can either turn right and return to the Observatory, or turn left, and have two choices of how to get down to Fern Dell. I took the left route, which is more direct.
Walked on down to the end of Fern Dell, then retraced my steps back on up to the split, and returned to the Observatory from here.
I think I ended the hike at 14,000 steps. Probably 1,000 of those steps were from home, before I started the hike. I feel I walked about five miles, though, based on the step count, I should have been closer to six miles.
Some wildflowers in bloom. Spanish broom and common sunflowers were probably the two most common. Filaree also present, as were some Canterbury bell. Additionally, of course, in the more civilized section of the park, there was the bird of paradise, and lantana at various places. Oh, and morning glory. Also some leaves with raindrops on them, which I also photographed.

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