Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Mt Lee Hike in Griffith Park - June 25, 2013

Griffith Icon Seldom does my job intersect with my hikes. But this week it did. At work I was facilitating four days of meetings. Many of our participants are from out of state. Awhile back I was exchanging emails with one of them and he asked if I had been on any good hikes lately. I told him about my hike to the Hollywood sign in April. He said he had always wanted to do that, so I offered to take him the next time he was here for a meeting. So we planned on it. With the meeting recessing at 5 p.m., and with the long daylight of late June, an after-work hike in Griffith Park was ideal. And a couple others heard what we were doing and wanted to come along. So at 5:48 we pulled out of the parking lot at my office in Echo Park and headed to Griffith Park (with one stop along the way). We drove up Beachwood Drive to the Hollyridge Trail trailhead below the Sunset Ranch stables.

6:40 PM - Begin Hike. There is a sense of excitement as John (Mexico), Loren (Kansas), Jeff (Kentucky), and I step into the warm sun and begin our walk up Hollyridge Trail. They had all attended college in Los Angeles but none of them had ever made this pilgrimage. Within a minute our cameras are clicking with our first view of the iconic Hollywood sign. Views soon open up to the surrounding hills and to the L.A. sprawl. The weather is ideal. Past the stables we climb the shortcut up the ridge. After a few minutes we reach Mulholland Trail and they decide that they prefer taking that route rather than proceeding up the ridge.

The conversation is enjoyable as we walk up the wide dirt road. I feel like a tour guide pointing out plants and landmarks and highlighting points of Griffith Park history. The weird thing for me is being in a setting I know well with gentlemen I know well, yet feeling the incongruence of two different worlds intersecting. Normally we are dressed nicely and sitting in a board room together. But this good! And they seem to be really enjoying it.

We soon transition onto the paved Mt. Lee Drive and follow the winding road to the north side of the mountain. The visibility this evening is quite good considering how hazy it was this morning with June gloom. We’re now looking into the sun as it is low in the sky. We stop to view the monument celebrating Cahuenga Peak, and I remind them that the real treat is just around the bend.

7:31 - Mt. Lee (1680’) and the Hollywood sign. Wow, this is great. It’s really enjoyable watching these guys getting such a treat out of this adventure. We take some pics then proceed to the very top. The setting sun illuminates the sprawling city with golden light. I point out our office building in distant Echo Park. We’re all thinking this is so much better than the stuffy dinner everyone else is attending this evening. We swap taking pictures of each other with other visitors. As the sun dips below Cahuenga Peak, we decide it’s time to go. We leave Mt. Lee at 7:58.

Our return walk is just as enjoyable. It’s dusk. Twinkling lights begin blanketing the vast metropolis below. It’s dark by the time we reach the trailhead at 8:48. We arrive just in time to avoid getting ticketed as a police officer is beginning to issue citations to cars still parked here (Griffith Park closes at sunset). We head to In-N-Out Burger for the best meal in town!

Epilog - What a delightful hike in the midst of a very demanding week at work! The weather was great but the company was even better. I’ve hiked to Mt. Lee many times but this was probably the best, sharing it with colleagues experiencing it for the first time. icon

Griffith Icon  See Hiking Griffith Park at Dan's Hiking Pages
  (includes links to my other blog posts for hiking in Griffith Park)

Boot Icon See Mt. Lee hike description at Dan's Hiking Pages
(Detailed trail guide including driving directions, recommended season, map, notes, links, and photos)

NEXT > Western Cyn to Mt. Hollywood & Mt. Bell - Sept. 12, 2013
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