on saturday rick, tyler, andrea and i were planning on hiking in hollywood but we nixed the idea after we realized what little time would be left to explore andrea's heaven on earth, the griffith observatory. so we took took lots of photos in front of the hollywood sign and ate at the crazy chicken. i read online that you could park and hike to the observatory instead of driving to the LA zoo to take the shuttle. whoever posted that information said the hike would only take 15 minutes. this information would have been accurate had it not been pitch dark outside and had we seen the entrance to the path we SHOULD HAVE taken. also, we would have not hiked over 2 miles uphill on this road (our path is in red):
despite tyler and rick (mostly rick) complaining about my "bright" idea and telling me not to believe everything i read online, it was an adventure. andrea (who is used to my crazy ideas) appreciated the fact that we were not following the normal procedure. thank goodness we didn't hike in hollywood, otherwise we would have REALLY been exhausted. we were still pretty exhausted but the hairpin turns and buses and groups of cyclists with headlights on their bikes kept us on our toes.
when we FINALLY got to the observatory (all hot and sweaty), we had a good time seeing all of the exhibits, discovering our weight on other planets, taking lots of silly photos with Albert Einstein and looking at the moon through the GIANT telescope. and since it was the first saturday of the first quarter (who knew), the Los Angeles Astronomical Society and the Los Angeles Sidewalk Astronomers were gathered outside with their telescopes, showing us the moon and an interesting "stick man" star cluster.
and then it was time to attempt to get back to our car. at this point, the santa anas were in full-force, causing VERY strong winds so the plan was to see if a friendly shuttle driver wouldn't mind dumping us off at the bottom of the hill... but no luck. the shuttle driver wouldn't even let andrea finish her sentence. we asked someone in the parking lot if he wouldn't mind driving us. he told us he wasn't leaving yet, but to ask one of the park rangers. we explained our situation to a guy with a walkie-talkie who advised us to take another path down. the park ranger was equally as useless.
walkie talkie guy: do you guys have a flashlight???
walkie talkie guy: well then, you should be alright. the moon could be your light.
he then proceeded to tell us there hasn't been any reports of mountain lion attacks in griffith park in a year. the observatory employees seemed concerned but didn't offer a solution. the park ranger gave us some BS excuse as to why he couldn't take us and the guy and the walkie talkie started to explain where the location of the mysterious alternative path. i muttered "assholes" under my breath and went outside to catch one of the few vehicles left in the parking lot. luckily i found couple who belonged to the Astronomers Club who were willing to drive us down in the back of their pickup. when we got to the most drastic hairpin turn (almost there!!), a ranger stopped us and told us the road was closed. so the Astronomer Club folks had to drop us off there, turn around and drive back up the hill. we were MORE than thankful to have gotten a ride to that point as we gladly walked the rest of the way (less than a half mile).
lesson learned: either take the shuttle or bring a flashlight... probably better off with the shuttle.