Sunday, October 9, 2011

Runyon Canyon

A nature enclave in the midst of Hollywood?

In Tinseltown, anything is possible, even a place of blissful peace and quiet. 1,320 feet above the City of Angels lies Runyon Canyon, a 160-acre haven where you can stroll, observe a variety of wildlife (deer, raccoons, birds), and relish in the scent and sight of diverse plants (black sage, elderberry, wild buckwheat).

Yoga Classes offered daily on the grass in Runyon Canyon Park

Formerly called "No Man's Canyon" due to vacancy, rather than a gender restriction on hikers, there is evidence that this was a seasonal campsite for local Gabrielino Indians before being sold to a string of millionaires. There are still ruins of the former mansion, tennis courts, and pool-house where Errol Flynn once stayed. When you enter on Mulholland Drive, walking clockwise is the easiest path to the most incredible views stretching from downtown LA to Beverly Hills to the beach. With points named Clouds Rest and Inspiration Point you’ll wish you had HD eyes.

The Honor System Snack Bar at the lower park entrance even offers dog biscuits

Sweat your way up the steep, deserty trails. The highest point in the park offers a great way to get a free cardio workout, and stellar views of the city below. Dogs are allowed off-leash in most of the park. But the best part is the people watching: celebrity sightings are a daily occurrence and beautiful people sightings happen every two minutes.

I mean they were all there. Orlando Bloom with his dog, Derrick Hough getting a workout (and a tan), Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel wearing hats and looking serious, and Matthew Mcconaughey getting all giggly while his wife chased him down the hill. And there are many dogs. But did I get to go? No, of course not, I was left at the Chateau. Dad said I would get filthy on those dusty trails.

Dad hiked Runyon Canyon every morning very early. Hiking on the 2nd day, he noticed a simple trash can about halfway up the canyon just covered with stickers. Once he saw it, he knew he had found the perfect spot for our sticker. What could be better with all the dogs, celebrities and beautiful people who pass by each day. So on his way up on our last day in Hollywood, Dad stuck that sticker for the very last time on that trash can halfway up the trail at Runyon Canyon. Dad told me later that he could just imagine how those first astronauts must have felt when they planted that flag on the moon.