The greatest pleasure in my life is leading the Wild Women Hiking Adventure Club. I love the Los Angeles trails so much that it simply isn’t enough for me to hike them alone. I have a passion to introduce others to the beauty and trail history that you can only experience on foot. I really feel it as a calling to expose women to this sport of wilderness hiking that can feel scary to undertake on one’s own. Snakes, coyotes, strangers, and unfamiliar trails all seem threatening to someone who doesn’t have any experience with them. I guide every hike scheduled for our club which guarantees that if even only one woman shows up to hike, she has an experienced hiking buddy at her side to guide the way and provide encouragement and moral support.
I feel incredibly humbled by the trust these women put in me and it makes me want to be better. It definitely encourages me to keep exploring and learning more about our local trails and Los Angeles’ rich heritage so that I may share that richness with others.
Today I scouted a hike that was completely new to me. I’ve known of it for a long time, but I’ve never been. It is a hike that starts in the shady cool canyon of Fern Dell in Griffith Park up to Dante’s View, which is a mountaintop garden oasis tended by volunteers.
I chose a route to approach Dante’s View that would pack a lot of bang for the buck. First of all, to park in front of a delightful cafe, called The Trails Cafe, next to a public bathroom is a wonderful way to both start and end a hot hike up a shades mountain trail.
The path traverses the hillside toward the Griffith Observatory and past a creek with an intriguing water feature which is now dry. I look forward to returning on a rainy day to see the creek in full flow and water flowing around the sculpted rocks.
Most of the hike is in full view of The Hollywood Sign and actually ends higher up than the Hollywood sign. There was even a crow flying at eye level with me. When this happens I feel like a badass who can hike really high to the top of things. Simple pleasures.
In mid-century 1900’s Dante Orgolini, a Brazilian journalist and artist, who lived in and loved Los Angeles worked with other outdoor enthusiasts and park rangers to build a mountainside garden oasis in Griffith Park. It was a labor of love started with only Orgolini, a pick, and a shovel.
Two memorial plaques overlook a lovely stand of palm trees and wildflowers. According to the markers, Joe Goldman “Liked This Park” and he “Always Promised [his wife Golda “Sally”] A View”.
There are lots of interesting benches to rest on along this route.
Griffith Observatory opens at 12 noon and admission is FREE, but parking is a zoo. I couldn’t believe how many school busses were parked there on my way back down the mountain. It may actually be worth it to try to hike up to the Observatory rather than try to find a spot in the lot. Chances are you’ll end up parking so far down the hill you’ll have to hike anyway. I remember trying to come here one time with my family and after driving around the parking lot for an hour decided to bag it.
I get to hike up here with the ladies next week. I’m so looking forward to it.