Monday, March 07, 2011

So close, yet so... far away...

I’ve lived in Los Angeles for over five years and it may surprise you that I’ve never hiked up to the Hollywood Sign. I’m not a hiker although I’ve always thought about doing it more often because it’s so good for you and so goddam fun, right? But it’s more work than stepping out your front door and just running. You have to research the trail, look up how to get there, drive there and then walk endlessly up and down hills under the hot sun. Oh and carry water and granola and wear sunscreen and hats and special socks and protective Chapstick. This past Friday it occurred to me to go ahead and get it over with and I drove down Franklin to Beechwood Drive to get to the Hollyridge trail.

First, OMG the houses on Beechwood. Second, OMfuckingG the houses on Beechwood.  Third, that’s the one thing about living in Los Angeles that I hate the most.  Envying what others have.  It will poison your body from head to toe.  Other than fear, it is what drives people in this town. Envy.  Envy will make you forget who you are.

I arrived at the trail and had no problem finding parking.  I decided my water bottle was too heavy and burdensome to carry with me and that I would be okay without water. It wasn’t that hot and it was highly unlikely I’d end up like Sally Menke.  Now that I think about it, she probably thought the same thing.  A couple of German tourists asked me how you got to the Hollywood Sign.  I pointed at a sign that said “Hollywood Sign That Way” and said “that way three miles up.”  A dude that was sitting inside his car said “Are you serious? Three miles?”  I told him that the website I checked said it was a three mile hike.  He asked me if there was another way to get there.  I shrugged I don’t know thinking what a lazy ass that dude was and got on my way.

I got hot right away and wondered if I should go back and get the water bottle. I didn’t.  I just kept on going while tourists on horseback passed by me.  Looking at so much horse ass made me realize how wrong it is for humans to use horses for work and recreation.  I used to ride in another lifetime and up until that day, I really missed it.  I know, that’s a very PETA view from someone who used to jump fences wearing a fancy, red tailored jacket, but we all have the capacity to change, don’t we?

I swore I would never take a picture of a rock. Well, here it is. A stupid rock. I think I was just nervous and scared there was no one around.

I kept on going and saw The Valley.  It doesn't look any better from far away. I noticed that you wouldn’t have any problem shooting on this side of the hill. I didn’t see one single person or horse. It’s a perfect location for the slasher genre and I started to write the script in my head.  Then, paranoia and fear set in.  I moved away from the bushes.

When I got to this water tower my imagination took over. Would they ever find my body if I got murdered up here?  You see, I'm pretty stupid about these things. I never think the worst until I'm deep in it.  I didn't really care if I put myself in danger before I got my dog.  My death would never have affected anyone until now.  It would take a while for people to notice that I was gone because it was the weekend and while my body decomposed behind a bush my poor pooch would be at home starving.  It never crossed my mind that hiking alone would be dangerous.  Still, I thought I was on the right track and decided to continue on my quest when...

...I turned around and saw the view below.  The Hollywood sign is in front of that tower.  Okay, so maybe I wasn't on the right path after all.  I turned around and went downhill back to where I came from.

I finally encountered some more horseshit and felt relieved.  The fact that I didn't see any on the path where I wandered off to should have been a signal that I was on the wrong track.

This is where I should have u-turned and gone up the hill, instead of going straight around the hills.  I looked at the clock. I had been hiking for 1.75 hours.  I was tired, hot and very hungry.  Still, I went up to investigate, saw that the Hollywood Sign was still very far away, and turned around.

After another 15 minutes, there it was and there were the tourists taking photos.  I felt like a failure and I was craving red meat and I was cranky and fuck it.

This is how I celebrate failure: with a meal from Mexico City in Los Feliz.

My ass is still sore three days later but at least I got a good workout.  I'll try to climb up to the sign next weekend. If I don't have anything better to do.


ByronDesignProd said...

Estupido turisticos!

ByronDesignProd said...

Estupido turisticos!