Wednesday, May 13, 2015: Franklin Canyon

Today was not our most exciting hike but it was a super-exciting day anyway, because today the princesses were joined by our first guest hiker!

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Guest hikers are not allowed sunglasses

This is our friend Alejandra! Important things to know about her: she is also an actor, we met her in our acting class here in Los Angeles, she usually doesn’t have her cell phone, she’s very short, and her new hiking nickname is Sooky. Another important thing is that she lives near Shannon and is therefore the reason this hike happened, because Shannon’s car was in the shop and Allison doesn’t love her enough to come pick her up.

We decided to stick close to home today, because it was a last-minute plan and our guest had to work later in the day. Allison and Shannon have hiked a trail in Franklin Canyon before but we knew there was at least one other, so we tackled that today. We think it kind of ended up being a patchwork of the Franklin Canyon Loop and Chaparral Trail? We tried to follow the directions on the hikespeak page but tbh they didn’t always make all the sense. It would be easier if maps were available but nothing ever goes our way, it’s hard being us.

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That’s why we cling to each other for support

The hike started out pretty standard for a park hike in Los Angeles. Dirt paths, nice enough views as we ascended the hillside. The first bit of it had some of those plank stairs set into the dirt, which was helpful, because we’ve have to climb insanely steep dirt paths with no stairs or anything to give us traction and that did not go well in a lot of ways. We pretty much played catch-up w/r/t conversation on the way, since we don’t see Alejandra as often as we see each other. It gave us another fun excuse to recap Allison’s love life though, and that’s Shannon’s favorite subject, so.

The trail let out back on the paved road we had driven on to get to the trailhead and that was kind of where we started getting confused. We ended up following that road for a while as it passed by Franklin Canyon Lake, but we were separated from the lake by a half wall and some land. It looked like there was a trail down there too, but again, we were trying to follow the hikespeak page. Then again, if we hadn’t been on the paved road, we wouldn’t have come across the weird hut.

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We reacted really strongly to it

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Especially Alejandra, but then again she wasn’t with us last week when we found a Nazi compound

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Or maybe it’s because she spotted a lurker outside

And a little bit past the hut was an amphitheater! Well, you can probably guess what happened when three actors found an empty amphitheater.

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This was Joan of Arc. It was very moving, trust us

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This was Two Gentlemen of Verona. Maybe a little less moving, but by design

After our very inspiring Shakespearean monologues we walked on. Just a bit past the odd grass hut and the amphitheater we came to a little picnic area and big parking lot and we had to…cross the parking lot. It wasn’t the most adventurous or idyllic path we’ve had to traverse. But it led to another path and a very steep ridge.

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The iPhone lens might have gotten smeared a little with sunscreen again…so welcome back to Hiking Through Oil Paintings

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And in the very back you can see the picturesque…parking lot

The ridge was brief but took as a while to climb up. Officially the reason is that we didn’t want to break our guest hiker on our first time having one out. Really we’re also kind of lazy. The trail crossed another trail and then came to what is apparently a “false summit.” This prompted a lot of discussion about what makes a false summit and whether that is anything like a false prophet and whether it needs to be cleansed with fire. That would probably end up with all of L.A. burning down though and we all like L.A. a lot.

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Anyway, having a bench and a view made it a real enough summit for us

Maybe it was called a false summit because it wasn’t actually the top of the ridge? There was just a little bit of path left, so we followed it to see if it would take us to the actual summit just above us. But it wasn’t a summit. It was a helipad. We had hiked up to the fire station on Coldwater Canyon, apparently. It didn’t seem like it was a problem for us to be up there or anything either. Like, there were no helicopters or anything. In fact, there was a firefighter there talking to what looked like another pair of hikers, giving them the 411 on hiking back down. So we took in the views, which, tbh, were pretty much the same as they were from the false summit. And there was no bench on the helipad.

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False summit one, helipad zip

At that point there was nothing to do but head back down the steep ridge. There was actually enough rocky surface that none of us even slipped. Then it was back across the parking lot, but we didn’t want to head back down the paved road because it was kind of boring and we couldn’t really figure out the instructions from the hikespeak page. So we kind of made our own way from there, which may very well have been the way we were supposed to go but at this point we don’t care, we’re rebels, YOU CAN’T TELL US WHAT TO DO.

So we came back to the weird-ass stairs that took us over the half wall separating us from the lake and the trail around it. Well, Allison and Alejandra took the stairs. Shannon climbed over the wall because it was barely even a thing and she didn’t want to validate it by implying she needed the stairs.

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PARKOUR

This turned out to be a good choice. We took the dirt trail much of the way around the lake from here. We got to be nice and close to the water, and watch ducks.

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And anywhere you find actual water in California is worth documenting

Also, every once in a while there would be a neat little alcove or something we could explore. And explore we did.

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We explored each other and ourselves a little bit too. We’re actors, we are free spirits

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We also practiced posing like female superheroes just in case we need to know how to show off our v feminine bodies

At one point we started a band with a guy we walked by. We probably won’t last long because we don’t really have any instruments, and because Allison and Alejandra don’t know how to pay the proper respect to the song “Mr. Brightside.” But in case we make it to our first album, we shot the cover.

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We’re called Intermittent Orange

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You get no explanation for this because there is none

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Alejandra seems to have picked up on our hiking style v quickly

As we came around the south end of the lake we ended up back on the paved road. Nice lake views from there.

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A reminder that this is technically Beverly Hills (we think)

We could have walked along it for a while but after we passed some artists painting the lake (which was pretty cool) we found another little gateway leading down, so we took it. It led to, like, a big slanted concrete thing? It was cool because it seemed like it should be off-limits but clearly wasn’t because there were staircases leading to it from both directions. We sprawled out for a little while — not because we were tired, just because we liked it. You want to know how not tired we were? We did push-ups.

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And then we earned our break

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Not that we needed to earn it because we ball so hard

There are lots of picnic areas around but tbh we think this would be a great spot to sit and eat. You could spread out really well and it has the best views of the lake, and it also kind of feels like you’re sitting on the side of the river where they had that drag race towards the end of Grease where (spoilers!) Danny beat Craterface.

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YAAAAAY, ZUKO!

From there we went back up to the paved road via the other stairs. We probably could have taken the dirt trail back to the trailhead and our cars, but we weren’t 100% sure it was the right way and we knew how to get there via the road so that’s what we did. We were also getting hungry. You know how you wouldn’t like Bruce Banner when he’s angry? Probably don’t let Shannon get hungry.

It didn’t take too long to get to the cars, and then we went to Lemonade for lunch and to Lucky Puppy Rescue and Retail for puppy snuggles. Yeah, be jealous.

Wildlife? Thin on the ground here. We saw two or three lizards, some vaguely rodential creatures that could have been squirrels? Or chipmunks? We don’t know, we’re city girls. And lots of bees. We are getting more and more certain that this whole to-do about the bees dying out and how we have to save the bees is some massively successful PR campaign on the part of bees, because we’ve seen a bunch of bees, and beehives, and also Shannon has to stop her dog from eating bees like every day. There were ducks in the pond too.

Conclusion? The hike was enjoyable enough but felt kind of patchworked and confusing. The views were nice but we sort of had to make our own entertainment along the way. The major advantage was how easy it is for all of us to get to Franklin Canyon, since it’s basically right between our homes. We’ll probably keep it in mind for days when we don’t have a lot of time for commuting.

Thanks for reading! We didn’t go rollerblading last week because of shitty weather and it looks like that will be the case again this Friday, so we’ll probably see you next week after our next hike. And if you have any suggestions for us about hikes to try, please leave them in the comments!

Until next time,

Skip&Bird(&Sooky)

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