Saturday, October 13, 2012

Hooray for Hollywood (Sign)

Today's my birthday and I've had a rip-roarin' time. I got some wonderful gifts - mostly book-based, which was excellent - and Matt and I hiked to the Hollywood sign down in...uh, Hollywood. Just like Stonehenge, you can't actually walk right up to the Hollywood sign or get close enough to touch it. In part I'm sure this is to keep vandals and souvenir-hunters out, but they say it's because the path there is too dangerous, with landslides and rattlesnakes and such.

Even getting to some cool views of the sign was (for my out-of-shape ass) quite a hike. It was a wide and well-kept trail most of the way, occasionally paved, but we were really crawling our way up and around the mountain that the sign sits on, Mount Lee, so we gained a lot of altitude in a relatively short distance. The views on the way up were goddamn incredible, though. All of central L.A. just spread out like a map.

Click to embiggen. This is the Hollywood Reservoir with the geographical district of Hollywood in the background.
Burbank is to the right and downtown to the left, neither visible. This was early on in the hike. 

I could see the smog like cotton wadding in between the buildings in downtown. If I'd known more about the area I likely would have been able to tell you the actual streets we could see down; as it was, Griffith Observatory was very easy to spot.

I want to go back again, because we went left instead of right and got this view of the sign:

No, that tower is not growing out of my head. 

Instead of this view (not my picture):

If you live in L.A. and want to do this hike, go here, where this picture came from.
We would never have found our way without that site.

I wanted to get that close, even if it was through the fence, to get an idea of how big the letters actually are. We were tired enough at elevation Tower-in-Head, though, and it was an even steeper climb around the back of the mountain. As it was, we could see that the H badly needed repainting. It was cool as hell to get even that close.

I don't know why all the other people we saw taking pictures were enthused about the sign. For me it's an emblem of an interest, a devotion, that's given me many hundreds (probably thousands) of hours of joy and intellectual stimulation. I can imagine living in sight of the sign and thinking of it at first as a symbol of what you want to achieve, what you're determined to achieve, and then, as the years wear on, seeing it bitterly or otherwise unhappily. It's sad for me to think about. At this time, I'd love to live in sight of the sign, but I can't imagine it ever being worth our while.

I scared the bejesus out of Matt when I spotted the sign through the windshield while we were on Beachwood Drive, on the way to the trailhead, exclaiming and squealing in joy. I was just about as geeky as I ever get. The geekitude of actually living in Los Angeles still hasn't faded, and it's been four months since I moved here. I still get a little thrill when I'm driving on a freeway and see a sign for, I don't know, Burbank or Santa Monica or the Hollywood Freeway. I'm actually here! goes my brain. I try to tell my brain not to be such a damn movie nerd, I live here now, just be cool. But it won't. Movies just matter too much to me.

There. Somewhat meaningless happy post = another piece of the Birthday Experience.


Denise said...

Glad you had a good time!!

Anonymous said...

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