2011 Nov 13 | Hiking to the Hollywood sign with Jenny

To get to the Hollywood sign, you drive north from the intersection of Franklin Avenue and Beechwood drive on Beechwood. Then there is a little parking area. Most of the spots were taken and a lot of people were parked on the side of the road farther away, but we found this spot here. Actually used 4WD to get up the little incline here.

Ooh, horses, that sounds fun.

You can see the sign from here. Once you start hiking, though, you almost never see it; only the tower behind.

Some people riding horses up from the little ranch.

Which means this is along the trail.

"Walk faster! We cannot let this old lady outwalk us!"

Another group of horseriders.

Aw, a cute little pony.

There weren't nearly as many people there as I had expected. This was about the most we ever saw.

A view looking back down the trail.

Hey, there aren't supposed to be vehicles on this road.

There were a few splits in the road, and we didn't really know which way to go, so we just followed these people on horses, which turned out to be a bad idea.

Here, they kept going to the right, but that path curved a long ways away and down. Jenny wanted to take the shortcut, so that's what we did.

A giant cricket with some ants hitching a ride.

We had a really good view from up here. This is looking from west to north to east, with the tower for the sign on the far left and downtown on the far right.

A stone marker at the top of a hill.

A view to the south.

Saw a snake on the path. I thought it was dead but it was only badly injured, so I decided to put it out of its misery.

When I first saw it, it was upside-down and the tail was tucked underneath it. I flipped it over, then noticed the pattern on its back, and only then did I push its tail out to see the rattles. At that point my heart started going a bit faster and I stepped back and watched it a bit before getting close again to make sure it wasn't more active. It didn't even cross my mind that a rattlesnake would be in the middle of the city of Los Angeles, let alone a western diamondback. Lucky for me it wasn't more active; if I would have been bitten, I'm not sure how long it would have taken to get help, especially because I didn't have a cell phone signal here. I think they're one of the prettiest snakes, though.

Our shortcut across the top of the hills.

A view of the observatory overlooking downtown. It was really pretty up here.

The shortcut was a bit more treacherous than the regular path; there were a lot of areas we had to slide down.

We made it!

I'm not trying to show off my amazing body; I had taken my shirt off on the path to keep it from getting sweaty and it must have gotten caught on a branch at some point because I didn't have it any more. We had taken a wrong turn somewhere because the hike is only supposed to take 45 minutes and it took us over 2 hours. I liked the shirt, but not enough to backtrack the whole way again, especially since there was a chance somebody had grabbed it and I wouldn't find it anyway. But Jenny really liked the shortcut, even if it was longer, because it was much more interesting than the regular way, which was basically just a boring road.

The trail only goes behind the sign; you can't get to the letters themselves or in front of it. However, people do, as you can tell by the crawl spaces beneath the fence.

A couple of guys scrambling down there.

Jenny on the wrong side of the fence.

I'm not sure how strictly this is enforced, but I know there are a lot of cameras there, and we decided we didn't want to risk getting arrested and fined.

If you go down a bit to the right, you get this view of the sign. We actually thought this might be the shorter way down, but it ended up in a gated community, so we had to hike back up a bit.

Hiking down we saw the horse ranch, which made me really happy because I just wanted to get back to the car in a reasonable amount of time by now. We took another shortcut across this hill to get down there. When we were following the horses, they went right a bit after the ranch instead of left, which I think was where we went wrong.