I recently watched a short video on YouTube that encouraged travelers to travel their own backyard. I thought about that and actually love that idea. Travel your own backyard, so simply yet so brilliant. So often we think we have to venture thousands of miles, across the seas and into beautiful foreign lands to nip that travel urge. Though it is always refreshing to see a culture and perspective than your own by traveling far, it is just as rewarding and renewing to travel your own backyard.
In the case of our backyard, this could mean anything from Santa Barbara up to Napa down to LA and beyond. With a quick few of my map, I was reminded how close we are to so many awesome adventures. Our huge coast is filled with nooks and crannies of gorgeous land that is just screaming to be explored. Summer is around the corner and our weekends are already booking up so we have to make sure we get out and explore our backyard as much as possible.
This past weekend our adventure consisted of a weekend escape in the dangerously lustful city of angels- Los Angeles.
The grey skies blurred the city in a distant fog as I peeked through my half open eyelids. Was it really already morning? It felt like we had just drifted off to sleep but now the sun was trying her best to wake me up through the guarded clouds.
Shifting on the air mattress we set up in Laura and Nick’s apartment, I nudged at Dave until his eyes fluttered open. “Ready to go?” We were embarking on one of the most cliché yet must do’s in LA- the Hollywood Sign Hike. This hike takes its travelers up behind the famous landmark for a view that includes the cityscape with the white letters in the foreground.
Laura, Dave and I sleepily left the Valley and headed toward the Hollywood Hills. The usual bumper-to-bumper traffic was almost nonexistent this early in the morning. The dewy air with the blanket of clouds covered the city as we drove by. It felt similar to a Seattle morning, cool, damp and sleepy.
As we drove through the sleepy neighborhoods, I did what I always do when I travel; I envision what a life may look like if you lived here. What would I be doing for a job? What would I be doing for a good time? What would it be like to wake up each morning, stretch and look out my window to the Hollywood sign? My mind is always running away with make believe tales and stories I create in my mind based on the city I am in. I easily fall in love with these visions and get lost in the dream.
The neighborhood below the sign quickly turned into a small, single lane, hairpin turns road. We drove up to the top before realizing we weren’t allowed to park here. Just as soon as we went up, we went down searching for the No Parking cut off.
We settled on a semi flat and even area, and parked the car as far off to the side as we could. The cool Spring air woke my tired eyes right up as we began our hike in the middle of the street. Because of the lack of parking at the trial, and our random neighborhood park job, we were forced to climb straight up the paved the street until we reached the entrance to the hike.
I couldn’t help but notice the apartments, condos and houses that paraded the streets, begging for our attention. They were fabulous. The outsides were just as you would expect, elaborate and fancy- dotting one or two name brand cars in the driveway or curved on the edge of the road. My mind again began to wonder and create characters that may live in these places and what their lives would entail.
When we reached the entrance to the hike, we could see a handful of others- eager to begin their Saturday with some fresh air and a hike. The road started off paved as we made our way around the over look. My heart began to race at the sight of a sign that read “Watch for Wildlife: Rattlesnakes and Coyote.” No thank you. Snakes are my biggest fear and the last thing I wanted to do was come across one on my morning jaunt.
The paved road led the way around the mountains. We were lost in conversation when we decided we weren’t exactly sure if we were headed in the right direction. AllTrails is a hiking app that provides maps for hikes and trails. We checked the app and noticed that we could take a trail straight up the mountain that would connect us with the correct route we were supposed to be on….
Wrong. The app was oh so wrong. Sure, there were signs that perhaps, long ago, this was once a path but it had since been over grown and littered with both wild life and trash. My heart began to race; I did not want to see a snake, whatsoever. Again, I somehow found myself scaling the side of the rocks as we did our best to hold onto the side and scoot to safety. The “off roadin’” path as I referred to it as, didn’t take long to conquer but still, I was terrified the entire time.
After what felt like an eternity in the snakes house, we made our way back to the real LA style paved hike and continued up the mountain to our destination. The air began to warm up some but the haze that usually kicks off the mornings in California had yet to burn off. Which is usually nice, for a morning hike so you aren’t so quick to over heat.
Making our way to the highest point, we could look out on the infamous Hollywood sign and the distant city. The clouds and haze only added to the scenic view, giving the city a mysterious and seductive look rather than the typical California sunshine vibe. The hike, though not hard, is a staple for anyone visiting the Los Angeles area. It’s quick and well worth the view from the top. Plus, you simply cannot be a tourist in Los Angeles without getting a snapshot or two of the beloved Hollywood sign.
Before climbing back down, I allowed myself to get lost in a daydream one more time. Imagining all those who have stood in this spot, dreaming of Hollywood, allowing it to eat them alive or using it to thrive. My head dances with the untold stories that tumble in and out of the City of Angles. Soon though, I’m back in reality, making my way back to the car for breakfast.
Keep daydreamin’ xo