November 23, 2011

Photo Essay: Autumn in LA, Courtesy of Griffith Park

People have told me I would miss seasons while living in Southern California. But, I tell you, it is fall right now. I feel it as much here as I ever did in New York, maybe more so. I never really got to see the leaves change in that city...

On Saturday I was feeling particularly gloomy, perhaps from the rain the night before, or the rain that I knew would follow the next day, or the pervasive darkness of my office and my apartment, or the dark cloud that seems to have followed me from NYC.

So after a fair amount of wallowing, I went to Griffith Park.

I'd been wanting to explore some of the trails that lead out from around Travel Town, the historic train district in the northernmost section of the park.

Turns out they're mostly equestrian trails, making them extremely navigable, especially since they appeared on my GPS.

The main trail from Travel Town, the Skyline Trail, soon takes you up up up...

...and on that day, the elevation revealed a delicious combination of Magic Hour lighting and storm-threatening spookiness.

The signs of horses were everywhere: in the shoe-printed sand beneath my sneakers... the distance along the trail, sometimes passing by me...

...and in the rippling water of the trough from which they drink.

Up there, overlooking Burbank and North Hollywood, the landscape appeared as though in a painting, giving me a much-needed escape from my dire realities.

And thankfully, GPS in hand, I avoided getting lost. I looked out upon Griffith Park, and it no longer seemed such a mystery to me. I recognized Mount Hollywood, Griffith Park Drive, Mineral Wells. Its unmarked twists and turns - even though I hadn't been on that particular trail before - felt as familiar to me as the dark clouds above.

As always, at least lately, I was in a race against time, with only two hours before the sun would set and the parking lot would be closed and locked for the night, and only four hours until I had to work an event Saturday night.

Losing light quickly, despite my elevation, I headed back down the way I came to retrieve my car and give myself enough time to shower and change before heading to work.

I left just as the sun was painting a fiery hue onto the already-flaming leaves in the trees of the parking lot, giving me one last boost of beauty and nature before I had to return to my life.

Who says there's no foliage in LA?

It's just an autumn experienced amidst the palm trees.

And I wouldn't have it any other way.

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