I thought I’d been getting well back into shape as I’ve made my every-other-day hikes through Runyon Canyon with ease. So when I decided to join my neighbors from around Council District 4 for Tom LaBonge’s annual Fall Equinox hike, I thought it would be breeze. Boy was I wrong.
Councilman LaBonge’s invitation to constituents reads, “Our hike will be lead by park rangers up the trail to Mount Hollywood, a gentle 1.5-mile hike.”
As Griffith Park’s highest peak (1,640′), thats not “gentle hike”. Sure, I was passed by a couple dozen elderly residents, but I’m guessing they were on steroids.
Apparently Sol Shankman (pictured) makes this hike every day, even at the age of 92, which has rightfully earned him the title “King of the Mountain”. (LA Weekly recently covered the City’s recognition of his birthday at the Observatory)
When I finally arrived at the peak, at least 75 others had congregated, including park rangers, “hot shot” fire firefighters, and infants. One guy cheated and drove a Segway all the way to the top (yep, I was jealous).
This also marked the first time I’d hiked in Griffith since the fires devastated it. Maybe it was because of the downpour earlier in the weekend, but the soil wasn’t as charred black as I’d expected. Of course, this same rain had left the sky clearer than it had been in months, allowing for a panoramic view of all of Los Angeles, including the San Fernando and San Gabriel Valleys.
This is the view from where I first pooped out. By the time I’d caught my breath, all these people were past me.
I think this is Tom LaBonge’s signature pose, as he always tries to get to the highest vantage point to get a snapshot of the constituents at his events. (I’m starting a rumor that right after this pic was taken, Sol Shankman knocked Tom over and took the perch, proclaiming himself once again, “King of the Mountain”.