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Mount Hollywood, Griffith Park

Brigid, Dave, David, and Esa participated on this hike.

With David, Brigid, Esa aboard, and myself captaining, my little red Honda deftly wended the streets of Hollywood to the Fern Dell Drive Griffith Park access off Los Feliz. We drove north for about 1/4 mile, blew a stop, then parked.

The morning was brisk and bright. We hiked north along the access road for another quarter mile or so, then onto a broad dirt trail that ascended and snaked us quickly into something resembling wilderness.

Early on, we, and a pair of fellow hikers marveled over a thin sheet of ice that partially covered a very small lake.

After a half-hour and a hundred or two feet of elevation gain, the woods and escarpments broke into our first south-facing view of Los Angeles. The panorama is nearly 180 degrees; hills eclipsed the west -- we could not quite see where we believed UCLA should be.

With a little more hiking, to the west, standing legibly despite the foreshortened angle: H-O-L-L-Y-W-O-O-D in giant white letters.

Closing in on the modest summit, the path forked: to the north-west, and to the north-east. We chose the latter. We passed fairly heavy growth, and a small thoroughly shaded rest area, and were all slightly aback when, emerging we stood north-facing and looking down at the sprawl of Burbank and North Hollywood. The fixtures of the city, a golf course, buildings, roads, power lines -- in Esa's poetic words, “stuff” -- seemed oddly near, crisp. With the right rock and a good heave, one could damage something that a human had crafted -- or so it seemed. This was in stark contrast to the views of L.A., which portrayed the city as unending, ever-distant, unreachable, partially submerged in its own haze. Such was the south-facing summit. Basking in this view, Esa kindly shared with me a granola bar; Brigid ate some sort of bar with an Umlaut in the name. We four briefly debated the healthfulness of various types of granola bars, but didn't reach any conclusions on the matter.

Our descent was quick. Our safe return to where we had started was assured by the veteran hiker of our group, David, who, for this outing, marshaled his vast experience, instincts, and resources (some pamphlet he carried with him).

We capped our excursion with a leisurely drive along Santa Monica Blvd, through the colorful and impeccably manicured city of West Hollywood.

Summary composed by Dave.