Monday, May 16, 2011

Photo Essay: Bee Rock

I decided to hike to Bee Rock in Griffith Park not only as part of my attempt to conquer every trail the park has to offer, but also because it was going to take me past and through the old zoo grounds (stay tuned for my next post on those).

Climbing up and over the Merry Go Round and parking lot...



...a few winding turns give you your first glimpse of the looming rock.



You then bypass an unglamorous, industrial-looking "stream" (more of a trickle) - which following takes you to the old zoo - and head to a ravine. Shortly thereafter, the trail becomes very narrow, very steep, and pretty overgrown.



You're climbing up up up with a nice view of the park and the city below...



...until reaching a rusty fence which leads you to a chainlinked peak.



At the top, the view is breathtaking, though somewhat obstructed, and graffitied (as were the rocks on the way up).



It's not that far of a hike, but I was feeling a bit worn down from my Topanga hike the day before and was climbing slowly for my usual pace (at only two miles per hour). I was pretty dragged out - and in a rush, noticing the time - on my way down, and became disoriented, unsettled by vertigo, legs shaking. I tried retracing my steps and following reverse directions from the way I'd come up, but I made a wrong turn and started to scramble down an incredibly steep dirt path that required me to sit and scoot my way down. It was taking forever, and the steeper it got, with the increasing danger of me tumbling forward, I said, "This feels wrong." I always have an easier time climbing up than down, but this was getting ridiculous.

So I stopped, turned around, and tried to climb back up, realizing what a scramble it really was and how there was no way I'd come up this way. But would I even be able to make it back to the turnoff, or would I be stuck there, hands clawing into rock, feet giving out from under me?

Clearly I survived, with yet another hiking lesson under my proverbial belt: I should listen to my instincts. I returned to the spot where two paths diverged, took the other one, and immediately recognized the graffitied rocks I'd passed on the way up.

When something feels wrong, it's not always doubt out of fear, or insecurity, or inexperience. You have to know when to be brave enough to say you may have made a wrong turn, and go back.

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