Hiking for Us City Folks
I am a city kid. I spent most of my childhood riding the subway, slipping into movie theaters unnoticed, and scoping out the best pizza parlors. That was my idea of a great Saturday. It came to my surprise when I was taken to Runyon Canyon Park one Saturday by my parents (both out-of-town transplants, as well) for "hiking." Where I'm from, if you want nature, you go to the park in the middle of the island and look at "nature" while gazing upon skyscrapers and multilevel apartment buildings. Hiking is not something I thought I would ever do...until I came to EL-A.
The entrance I chose to Runyon Canyon is located off of Laurel Canyon and Ventura, down a street named Fryman, where the entrance is marked by a dirt driveway (there is actually an alternate southern entrance that I’ve never taken, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Runyon_Canyon_Park for details). If you're not careful, you'll wander farther down Laurel Canyon to a totally different street named Fryman which will lead you to a series of one way residential streets leading to "no outlet" cul-de-sacs. Despite this secret entrance, you know you're there once you approach a hill that might as well have a sign stating "at your own risk." Not because it's particularly dangerous with slippery rocks and hidden crevices, but God help you if you're on any heart medication or not in particularly great shape (which despite media images does exist in LA). It's definitely a challenge.
Okay, so you make your way to the top. And what's awaiting you? Spectacular views of the San Fernando Valley to the North and views of homes of the moderately-wealthy to extremely-wealthy to the South. I sometimes wonder what would make someone want to live on a mountain in an earthquake zone, but I digress...