No, we didn’t take an extended hiatus from hiking. No, we didn’t get the dates wrong. We’re just…way behind. We could give you reasons but let’s just call it Allison’s fault. It’s not true but let’s say it anyway.
Well! After our frankly terrifying trip to the Old Youth Camp, during which you may remember we were trapped in an ethereal and probably evil fog for long enough that we started planning which of us we would eat [Allison], we decided to go the opposite route this week. As far opposite as we could go. Yes, we braved the ever-popular and ever-crowded Runyon Canyon.
Trying to contain our excitement
Runyon is one of the most well-known and popular hikes in Los Angeles, and there are good reasons for that. It’s easily accessible — pretty much right in the middle of the city, really. It has nice views of the city, allows dogs, and is endlessly customizable w/r/t difficulty and distances of hikes.
Of course, the popularity of the park can also make it a total pain in the ass. Take parking, for example. Assuming you enter at the bottom of the park like we did, as opposed to the entrance up in the hills, there’s only street parking available. And since it’s in West Hollywood, even at 10am on a weekday, that parking was fucking scarce. This was the second week in a row Allison ended up driving right behind Shannon [stalker] but we got separated while trying to find any open parking within a reasonable distance. We ended up several blocks away and Allison saved Shannon a parking space with some stranger’s trash cans.
The entrance to the park is situated in a pretty nice neighborhood with some big ol’ houses, one of which had a tree crashed through the fancy fence they’d erected to keep the riff-raff like us out.
Further cementing Runyon’s status as the ultimate LA city hike, the entrance has a little cart with water and snacks which operates on the honor system. That just feels so very LA to us? Like, we can’t imagine that working in NYC? But whatever.
From the walk up to the park and into the entrance, there are people just everywhere. We had the hikespeak page pulled up on a smartphone like we always do, in case we get confused about the trail somewhere without reception, but it became clear pretty quickly that a) the description of the trail was even less coherent than usual and b) it was 100% not necessary. There were people everywhere so we pretty much just followed the crowd.
We are, after all, followers at heart
The initial climb was steep but not unbearably so, and not the worst we’ve done. We came to a lookout point where we could continue following the trail up and to the left, or could kind of veer off to the right where there were lots of people coming in and out. From there we could see some weird feature down in a valley that looked like Heimdall had opened up the Bifrost there or something.
How dare you trespass upon the mighty Thor
We decided to check out the detour over to the right, which took us to another outlook with some benches and some people chilling and stuff. We found some rocks to sit on for a quick break and practiced taking selfies so we could try out the whole normcore thing as long as we were here. We considered the idea of committing to being fully normcore for the duration of the hike, but we’re not sure we’d have had stuff to talk about, and more importantly Shannon wanted to talk about Sense8 because she had just finished it on Netflix and had no one to talk to about it since no one else she knows had watched it. Including Allison. Shannon talked about it for two hours anyway.
Also, as evidenced by this picture, we’re terrible at being normal. This was the best attempt of three. THE BEST
We headed back the way we’d come and this time took the continuing trail. There were a ton of dogs around this whole time, by the way, and many of them were off-leash. Parts of Runyon do allow off-leash dogs while some parts are on-leash only but basically no one gave a shit. All the dogs seemed pretty smart and well-trained, though, as opposed to Shannon’s dogs, who would immediately die if taken off-leash someplace like this. Immediately.
Speaking of dogs, we passed through a gate that had one on it.
This is normal right?
This part of the trail actually went right by some of the houses in the hills. And some weird trailers? IDK Los Angeles is weird. Then there was a section where there were a bunch of wooden boardwalks and staircases, which we don’t often come across in our hikes and tbh felt a little condescending. They gave Shannon some nice flashbacks of those old all-wood playgrounds in the ’90s that seem to have unfortunately all been torn down though.
This one was at least sort of useful but some of them had steps that were literally like an inch high like bITCH DON’T PATRONIZE ME
We passed by a radio tower next [is that what they’re ever called anymore?] as we approached what looked like a big rock we could climb, which, yes, we will always go towards one of those.
So we needed stairs to go an inch but then it’s like “here’s a radio tower just idk try not to climb it”
Just as we got to the base of the rock — which we could easily see people climbing, by the way — there was a sign telling us not to go any further. We laugh in the face of such signs. Also there was a group of girls coming back down that rock with their Cavalier King Charles and those things have pretty stumpy legs, so if he could do it we figured even Allison could.
First we explored the lower platform of the rock and sat for a minute again before trying the steeper climb.
Clearly we gave up on that normality thing
The steeper climb was a little precarious and we did have to use our hands a bit for balance and to get purchase but it wasn’t even the hardest climb we’ve done [that’s still reserved for our trip to The Grotto, where Shannon had to hoist Allison up by her ass].
Another sign trying to stop us [we assume] but no one tells us what to do WE ARE REBELS
A pretty pretty princess
From here we could see that rather than climbing back down the way we came, we could keep going. We weren’t sure how much further the trail would be passable before we might have to turn back but hey, one of the advantages of a crowded trail is that if there’s people ahead of you, you know you can keep going.
On and on you will hike, and I know you’ll hike far…
Another advantage of all the company is that you can find out if people have come from the opposite direction as you and find out what’s ahead. Also you can ask them to take pictures of you trying to both fit on a weird little cement stump.
It says Burbank but it’s not in Burbank so aliens are the only explanation?
We like to think of this progression of pictures as the guy slowly figuring out what we’re about
So we discovered we could keep going and our trail would loop around, but that it would be pretty steep. We’re not afraid of a challenge and going back is boring if there’s another option so we pressed onward.
We’re not going to say it was a mistake, but…
Well, let’s just say this is where the pictures stop, because the next half hour or so of our lives was spent descending about 600 feet [according to the hikespeak page, when we checked afterwards] very quickly and we were preoccupied with not dying. The dirt was loose and there were only sometimes enough rocks embedded in the trail for us to get good traction. And we’re in decent shape but by the end of that descent, our quads were shaking with every step we took. We did get to commiserate with some people who were climbing up in the opposite direction and told them what they had to look forward to.
After the trail evened out it was only a short time before we found ourselves back on the trail where we’d started and then back at the entrance of the park. Then we only had to walk like a billion miles back to our cars. ::shakes fist:: WEEEEEEEHOOOOOOOO!
Then we went to Chipotle because WE EARNED IT.
Wildlife? Pretty much zip. We saw hundreds of people and dozens of dogs, but the trail is too high-traffic for anything else to hang about.
Musical moments? Well there was the moment when Shannon said “feet, don’t fail me now” when she was trying not to pitch headfirst down the super-steep decline, which naturally led to a brief rendition of “Journey to the Past” from Anastasia. There could have been more but it’s been like a week and a half since then…?
Conclusion? Well, it’s certainly a good workout, and a fun one. And even with the pain-in-the-ass parking situation, the trail is more easily accessible than most. It was cloudy again that day but we still got some pretty good city views, thanks to the central location. Altogether it wasn’t as bad as we were expecting, since the trail’s popularity tends to make it an easy target for jokes about typical Angelenos. We still like our trails a little more deserted though.
Thanks for reading and for waiting patiently for the new post [except Shannon’s dad, who can now finally get off her dick about writing this]. We’ll be back in the next few days with another catch-up post about our trip to the Los Liones Trail in the Palisades last Friday, with the return of guest hiker Alejandra. Hopefully not too long after that we’ll finish catching up with our hike from this week, which isn’t scheduled yet but is happening, hot weather be damned. And if you have any suggestions for us about hikes to try, please leave them in the comments!
Until next time,