Saturday, August 29, 2020

Switzer Falls Unfinished Hike

They say that experience is the best teacher.  We got lost  on the way to Switzer Falls.   I can now give some details after I do research after the hike. In every hiking, we always google first its difficulty or sometimes call for more updated info. Those details that I  gather usually slip off my almost overused memory before  I even get to the start. I shouldn't rely on GPS  as it is always a dead signal zone in the mountain, thus no maps to guide in the wilderness.   That's actually how I always do, outsmarting GPS and rely on my instinct.

We started our hike at 7am and  entered the burned area towards Bear Canyon. We already walked a few miles when we realized it wasn’t the trail to Switzer Falls and went back to the picnic area already exhausted and tired. We started again the trail, ascending and descending, scaling the edges of the cliff of the mountain, crossing the stream, snags and downed logs. We were almost like twenty minutes to reach the Falls but decided to go back as we were already tired.  

We saw a couple of snakes, lots of squirrels, different species of lizard, birds and skunk, well I didn’t see it but the smell gives a sign that there is. No bear surprised us, and we’re fortunate that no other wild animals showed up in the trail.  

Parking at Switzer Fall needs  an adventure pass. I have an annual pass, 'America The Beautiful Adventure Pass'  which I can use anywhere in the US (please check the website for more details) that I hang in my dashboard for all state parks we go in. Please check REI store and Big 5 Sporting Goods  stores for this pass. You can also get it from a gas station and other authorized sellers.  

I am uploading videos in one account for easy posting as I can’t keep up blogging anymore. Probably will vlog instead and revive my old Youtube account. Because, why not?  

My two daughters joined me on this hike. Made an intense trekking, rock climbing.
Made 16,345 steps / 7miles.  

We never reached the falls but we will be back anytime in unscheduled day this season.  

 How to get to Switzer Falls Trail will be in my next hiking adventure part two. Just hoover at my sidebar and click Switzer Falls  if this post buried in my archive.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Hollywood Dream, It's The Climb!

To hike in Hollywood sign is not on our list and this is just a random hike which we only made a call to check if they're open.   Looking from the hikers' website, there is an easy, moderate, and difficult trail.  All of which start at Griffith Park so when we saw the sign to Hollywood Trail, we proceeded the first mile of inclined steps. At 5:30am there were already lots of joggers and hikers.  After a mile of walking,  we figured we had the wrong path and couldn't find the  Brush Canyon that we're supposed to start.  Luckily we met a local and pointed us to the direction leading to the Hollywood sign. We then continue with our walk instead of going back to the starting point.  We just went forward connecting different trails, ended in a dirt narrow path with although short but challenging ascent,  some little rocks and nothing to hold descending and ascending from Hollywood Mountain to Mount Lee. 

There are some parts that are really narrow.   Bunnies, stinky beetle, and birds of different species kept us company.  We were very careful of rattlesnakes because all trails in California are their ground.  Luckily,  nothing showed up.   If mountain lion had only one reported attack in a hundred years,    300 rattlesnake bites are reported in California each year. 

I managed to take a short video from my cellphone and put it in my backpack. I know, I know.  Well,  I'm trained to walk inclined steps when I was a kid  even carrying heavier stuff than my weight.   

Seeing the communication tower at  Mount Lee where the Hollywood sign is,  kept us moving and we're pretty sure we're going the right way. 

Finally, above the Hollywood sign after a walk roasting under the scorching heat of the sun and my almost sunkissed skin, well sunburned if I was not fully covered of my SPF protected shirts. 

Taking a little break figuring the adventure we had.  It was totally exhausting but lots of fun. I swear it won't be as rewarding if you take a hitch ride or a shuttle bus up there. 

Taking more pictures at a 45-foot-tall aluminum letters reading  DOOWYLLOH  from behind the  HOLLYWOOD sign for I don"t know when I'll be coming back again, maybe some easy or more difficult trail if not a challenging one. 

Going back to Griffith Park, we figured we take another route but we ended in the wrong path again and found ourselves in front of Hollywood sign which added again another mile of inclined steps. It took us like 7 hours as we started 5:30am and back at 12noon with lots of rest and stops. 

Trails going back lead us to Mulholland Fire Road which is almost paved road and wider.  There's more hikers,  horseback rider and cyclist. My daughter joined us in this hike which I never doubted of her strength.  She's an athlete. 

Hollywood Sign rank from easy to difficult:  The Mount Hollywood Trail, the Brush Canyon Trail, Cahuenga Peak Trail, and there's more to discover.  The trail that we took is not in the above list as we just connected the trails from Mt. Hollywood to  Mt. Lee where Hollywood sign is. We reached Mt. Lee summit,  1,708-foot, above and behind the sign.   It normally takes 3 hours or more for a 6.4-mile hike if we headed the Brush Canyon Trail.  Checking my trail stats app,  it took us  9.2 miles and made  22,164 steps.  Not bad for my goal for the day.

Overall it was an awesome experience with a  little adventure.  Now we already knew where these trails are connected to, well a little bit. It's good to get lost sometimes and it's rewarding when you finally reached the peak. Truly the rewards pay off after the hardest climb, this time I made it to Holywood,  so very close to my Hollywood dream, literally,  I could even touch it,  only if there is no fence around it.

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