Friday, March 19, 2010

Photo Essay: Griffith Park Climb

After getting stood up by one meeting yesterday, having this morning's breakfast cancel at the last minute, and this morning's meeting turn into an afternoon one, I had a few hours of free time on my hands before I needed to head to Studio City for a business lunch. Having insufficient time to set up any additional meetings or reschedule anything from the afternoon, I put my business trip aside and did what I've been dying to do since I arrived in 80 degree California on Wednesday afternoon: go on a hike.

Since my business trip here last February, I've been dying to go check out the Griffith Observatory, famously portrayed in the James Dean flick Rebel Without a Cause, and situated high enough up a hill to provide breathtaking (albeit smog-ridden) vistas of the Los Angeles metropolitan area, as well as a good peep of the nearby Hollywood Sign. Although you can drive straight up to the observatory, we parked by a picnic area near the entrance to the park, and proceeded to climb bafflingly high elevations as the white domed structure towered above us, looming in the hills, but getting closer with every curve we rounded.

approach

orange



fence

The Climb

trees

Griffith Observatory

James Dean

Hollywood sign

telescope

Since the observatory wasn't open when we arrived (necessitating a return visit), we kept climbing.

wild animals

ravine

blue flowers



After two hours in the park, we realized we hadn't seen nearly enough. Since we had quite a climb back down to the car ahead of us, we turned around before reaching the Mount Hollywood peak and headed back down the sloping grade, which was steeper descending than we remembered ascending.

It's a popular spot for school groups, hikers, runners, and dogs, so it doesn't come close to the solitude that I experienced hiking every day for a month in Joshua Tree. But it was challenging, fascinating, green, floral and fragrant - a rare spectacle of wildflowers and the lush overgrowth of a rain-soaked LA, soon to wither and dry up and be consumed by brush fires in the hot, desert summer.

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