I love the feel of the crisp air and the distant sound of the city going about its business when I run at night in Griffith Park. Hearing the coyotes, watching a large skunk waddle across the path, and discovering new trails is exhilarating when done after the sun has gone down. I pack my ruck with water…and bricks (for Good Livin’ – see previous posts on this topic) and I am off into the hills lit only by the moon.
“There is delight in the hardy life of the open.”
~ Teddy Roosevelt
Griffith Park is one of the largest urban parks in North America at just over 4300 acres. It is larger than Central Park in NYC…and with more untamed character than its Big Apple counterpart. For me, it is an oasis in the midst of the concrete jungle that I can easily and quickly escape to at a moments notice (since it is only 5 minutes from my apartment). Yes, there is Runyon Canyon in Hollywood (also a few minutes from my doorstep) but who wants to go to THAT dust bowl of dog poop and crowded humanity (especially on weekends). And let’s not even talk about the street parking nightmare. Fryman Canyon? Not bad…but it’s on the other side of the hill and not quickly accessible. Santa Monica Mountains, you ask? Great hiking, great views…c’mon, it’s next to the ocean! But, alas, not a last-minute decision type of place when living in Hollywood. Griffith Park on the other hand has the Hollywood Sign, the Bat Cave (!), the Observatory, remnants of the old LA Zoo (lion cages like in the Bugs Bunny cartoons!), a carousel, golf courses and, the best part…miles and miles of great trails to run. It is also never crowded even at peak days and times. And free parking is plentiful.
Last night I ran about 7-8 miles with my buddy Louis. We bushwhacked up hillsides, ran windsprints up steep inclines and blazed up and down trails with only the moon and our headlamps to light our path. The air was chilly but we worked up a considerable sweat as we ran past dog walkers, other runners and Sierra Club hiking groups. A few hours later we were back at our cars…a good sore creeping into our legs as the cold air hit our wet shirts and chilled our backs. Nothing like a great night run in Griffith Park!
Ruck On. Stay Muddy.