Sunday, June 15, 2014

'Hood #38: Griffith Park... for More of an Encounter With Nature Than I Was Counting On

I signed up for quite a while back, and today I went for my first meet up: a hike in Griffith Park (the largest urban park in the nation, home to the LA Zoo, and also neighborhood #38 on my list). I was actually surprised to see that Griffith Park is considered a 'hood vs. just a park.

Other than the zoo, I've never spent any time in Griffith Park—and even that's been about 15 years.  I got there a bit early so I decided to go see the Merry Go Round (which opened in the 1930s and according to my  hiking guide later, is rumored to have inspired Walt Disney to create Disneyland).  I didn't have any money on me so could only watch vs. ride.  It seems like it could use a bit of "freshening" (couldn't we all?) but that also kind of added to the charm.

Then I met up with the group, about 20 or so people.  I know there are people out there who are natural minglers—I'm not one of them.  Still, as we set out for a 2-hour hike,  I would have felt weirder not chatting with people, so I trotted out the standard variations on "come here often?" and had some nice conversations along the way.

Some of the route was less then scenic (a long strip adjacent to the 134 Freeway interchange), but other parts were breezy, tree-lined and perfectly lovely.  It was mostly flat but the sections of uphill were enough to get my decrepit old heart pumping.  It's my understanding from the other hikers that there are hikes far more naturey at the park—but those fall into a more difficult range.  This was just fine for me.

Just as we were nearly back at the cars, something totally bit me in the ass! (OK, upper, upper thigh). Or, I'm guessing, stung me.  I'm putting my money on a bee sting.  All dignity went out the window as I jammed my hands down my pants, fishing around to remove whatever had done the damage. It hurt like crazy, and now as I sit here back home, I'm icing it.

Well, I wanted to find nature...but I guess it also found me.

Oh, and I keep saying this, but it keeps being true: I wouldn't have done this hike if it hadn't been for my challenge to visit all of LA's neighborhoods. I'd have been too lazy to make the drive and would have opted for something closer to home, but it was a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon (minus the sting).

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