Sunday, May 31, 2009

adventure to griffith park

If you follow me on twitter you know all about my adventure yesterday...

Saturday I had planned to go on this hike at Griffith Park, this giant park (over 4000 acres) up by Hollywood. I found out about a free hike hosted by these people who run some kind of exercise "camp" type thing, and I wanted to go on it. I thought it'd be a fun adventure and I could meet some people, that sort of thing. So I got directions via bus ( to there and back. I needed to be on the first bus by 6.30am, so I got up at 5.30 and packed everything up and headed out. I caught that bus just fine. It took me to the stop at Rosecrans & Avalon and I got off. Then I realized that my directions were telling me where the next station to get on was via compass directions. So I got off in the SE corner and I needed to be in the SW corner for the next bus. I do not have a very good sense of NSEW direction (although I do have a VERY hard time getting lost based on other things), just ask Melissa, so yeah, definitely got on the bus going in the wrong direction. So that threw me a little bit. But it was all okay because the bus driver was really nice about it and let me off where there was a stop on the other side that I wanted. So I grabbed that bus, which came just after a couple minutes (nice, if you're used to having to wait at least 30 minutes). That one was supposed to take me all the way to Vermont & Hollywood.


It took me to Vermont & Wilshire, which was its last stop so I didn't have a choice & I had to get off, which is kind of a shady part of town. Kind of is a little understatement. Actually, most of where I was while I was traveling to Griffith Park was super shady. Everything looks run down and gaudy and ugly. I probably should have been more nervous about where I was than I actually was, but to me everything is just one big adventure and I don't worry about things too much. As long as I keep paying attention to everything and keep my bag connected to me, I should be okay. 

So I ask the bus driver how to get to Vermont & Hollywood, and he says he doesn't know, but to call this number 1-800-COMMUTE, and they should tell me how to get there. It's already almost 9am and I'm supposed to meet this hiking group at 9.45 & Be On Time!. I had scheduled the trip so that I would get to the park about 9am so I would have plenty of time to find the group. Yeah, that didn't happen. Stupid telling me the wrong thing.

So I call this number, and the lady tells me to get on the 204 and ride it to Vermont & Santa Monica, then hop on the Hollywood Dash, get of at such-and-such, walk 2 blocks west and 1 block north and I'll be there. I didn't have a pen, and you remember about my NSEW failing. So I just rode the 204 to Vermont & Hollywood like I had originally planned and got off there. By now I was in a much nicer part of town. I started walking up Vermont and saw a Bank of America, so I decided to stop in and get directions. They didn't know where the entrance I wanted was (we were supposed to meet at Los Feliz & Fern Dell Dr), but they said if I just kept walking, the top of the hill would be Los Feliz and I could figure out where to go from there.

Apparently that is a very big hill. 

So I walked & walked and I definitely wasn't going to make the 9.45 time. So I called the lady who was running the hike and let her know, and she was really surprised that I was walking. She told me the route they were going to hike and I thanked her. (I never did find them.) I finally made it up to Los Feliz Blvd and saw an entrance to Griffith Park. I tried asking some people where Fern Dell Dr is and they didn't really know (how can you not know??), but they thought I should turn left. So I turned left and walked for a very long time and eventually gave up. So I turned around and asked this guy who was walking his dog. He was super helpful and told me that Fern Dell Dr was pretty far away, but I could take the entrance on Vermont and get to the observatory and all that pretty easily from there, and then he told me how to get to Fern Dell Dr from there.

So I just went hiking by myself.

It was actually really nice. I could stop whenever I wanted and take pictures and all that jazz. I actually really love being by myself so it didn't bother me at all. I got to see this guy laying across the hood of a car video taping the people driving. And I got to see the observatory. There is a working Tesla coil in there, and it was AWESOME. And I  got to just walk around the park for a little bit. At this point I was pretty tired (I'd been up for almost 7 hours already) and hungry, since all I had been eating were some snacks like granola bars. So I decided to head out of the park and start my adventure back. I got to Fern Dell Dr and then found some people who told me how to get to the bus stop I wanted. I got on the bus and thought everything was great & it would take me to Crenshaw Station. Nope. It end-of-the-lined 4 stops before Crenshaw, so I had to wait for another bus to come take me there. That end-of-the-line was in another shady part of somewhere. And it was kind of chilly. Anyway, it all worked out and another bus came eventually and I got to the station. I had never taken the rail before in LA, and it was pretty awesome. Just like a normal metro that you think of in NYC or Europe. (I wish the LA bus system was this nice.) The rail was the first time I had seen another white person take the public transport system with me, and I had probably seen several hundred people that day on various buses. Yeah.

The rail was fast and it took me to Aviation Station, the LAX hub where you can get to the airport or from the airport and that sort of thing. I had an hour to wait for my bus, the Beach Cities Transit, so I called my mom and talked for a bit. Then these two guys started talking to me. I couldn't tell if they were drunk or high and at first I thought this one guy was Australian because I thought he had an accent (later I realized it was just because his teeth were weird and he couldn't talk right because of it). Anyway, that was nice & exciting. They talked to me the whole way until I luckily could get off the bus. They told me about their band and their cooking and all sorts of crazy stuff. And they called me Emily. Haha.

I finally made it home after about 8 hours of public transportation round trip. Yeah, it was pretty insane. It took me 4 hours to get to Griffith Park, and about 3.5 to get home (granted, a huge chunk of that was waiting for various buses). But it was definitely a fun adventure! I was dog tired when I got home so I took a nap (definitely not a long enough one), and showered, and got ready to go out to dinner with one of my friends out here, Andrew.

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