Monday, February 15, 2016
A day off from work to celebrate Presidents Day was an ideal time for a hike in Griffith Park…my first one for this year. I had to go into my office in L.A. for a few hours so I figured I would do a short hike to begin the morning. As I headed west on the 210 and 134, I pondered what trails I might cobble together. I decided that the two peaks at the east end of the park would be good.
I exit the I-5 at Los Feliz and take Crystal Springs drive to the large parking lot near the merry-go-round. Lots of cars in the lot and lots of walkers, hikers, and runners.
Across the canyon to the west, Glendale Peak, Baby Bell, and Mount Bell define the skyline. It’s disheartening to see that someone has torn out all the young wild cucumber vines along the way. Why would someone destroy native plants? After a few minutes the steep path mellows out and I can see the summit of Beacon Hill. Soon the route gets steep again and at 9:27 I reach Upper Beacon Trail, a wide dirt road. I turn left (east) and climb the final steep pitch to the summit.
I encounter my first humans of the hike. Of the two routes that head west toward Vista Del Valle Drive, the one on the right has a sign that notes that the trail is closed 0.25 mile ahead for a construction project to expend the water recycling system. It will be closed through June 2017. Two gals head up that road, so maybe they know of a way to skirt the construction.
I top off my water bottle and continue west, now on paved Vista Del Valle Drive. A couple minutes delivers me to the construction project, which occupies a large area on the knoll adjacent to the Vista View Point (helipad). I have views west now toward the grand observatory and Mt. Hollywood. The L.A. basin sprawls out on the southern panorama. Lots of people on the trails today.
The first time I encountered this obstacle was in August 2010 on my six peaks hike. I had left Glendale Peak heading east thinking it was a short-cut, only to be stopped by this cliff. So I turned back. But today I stand here looking at the obstacle and think, you know, I can climb that thing. So up I climb, carefully negotiating each step, each handhold, summoning the nerve to keep climbing. At about half way I look down and realize that one slip would have horrible consequences. I dislike hospitals, so I will myself safely up. Wow, that was exhilarating! What a relief. The narrow path now leads me comfortably up the ridge five minutes to the peak.
There has been very little in bloom today: some wild cucumber, everlasting, deerweed, ceanothus, tree tobacco, and the typical weeds of mustard and filaree. I ponder my return route and think I’ll climb down from the bridge to Vista Del Valle Drive. When I reach the junction it appears to be awfully steep and perilous. But I’ve done it up and down before, so I know it is safely doable. So down I go (starting at the point directly behind the Henry’s Trail sign). It is somewhat precarious, but I negotiate it safely. It’s certainly not for the faint of heart.
The area is rebounding nicely after the devastating fire of May 2007, but some dead trees still stand as a reminder of the raging inferno.
11:17 - End hike. It’s about 87 degrees. Good for 8,539 steps on my Fitbit.
See Hiking Griffith Park at Dan's Hiking Pages
(includes links to my other blog posts for hiking in Griffith Park)
Relevant trail descriptions for this hike at Dan’s Hiking Pages:
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