“So do you want to meet for a walk? I found a great new place just a few minutes from here,” my friend asks.
“Sure, why not?”
This will be a slight departure from our regular meet up at a local restaurant like Kay n’ Dave’s or Native Foods. Rather than putting on a few extra pounds, we’re going to try and work them off instead.
Unlike many of the freeway-clogged neighborhoods of LA, my city, Culver City, has flat, tree-lined streets with wide sidewalks perfect for a pleasant stroll. And that is exactly the kind of walk I anticipate taking. A leisurely pace through the residential neighborhoods where occasionally you have to raise your voice over the sound of a lawn mower or spring out of the way of an errant sprinkler.
|Who needs the Hollywood sign?|
We start off, meandering through the back streets of our neighborhood passing yards full of trees heavy with lemons, oranges and avocados. But before long, we take a turn onto the busy and not so scenic Jefferson Boulevard where cars whiz by on their way to Target or In & Out Burger. Where are my tree-lined streets? Where is my wide sidewalk? I hug tightly to the edge of the road to avoid being side swiped by a reckless car.
Rounding the bend, I notice an entrance to a park I have never seen before. The sign reads, Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook and beyond the gate, a dirt path rises gently through tall grasses and a few spring wildflowers. Being in good shape from my daily Capoeira training, this path doesn’t look like much of a challenge. Before long I’ll be enjoying a coffee and a stack of pancakes at the local S&W Country Diner.
Then, as I turn the corner on the dirt path, I see it. Is that a mountain? And why are people summiting it? I tilt my head back to see to the top of it and I fully expect to see a sage, robed guru sitting at the top waiting to bestow advice on the meaning of life.
|One step at a time…|
“Why didn’t you tell me about this mini-mountain?” I ask.
Apparently she enjoyed the element of surprise. Even though I have lived in Culver City for 5 years, I never noticed this park or its massive hill.
So up we go, one step at a time. The park planners had fashioned roughly cut stairs into the side of the hill and then added a rest area about half way up for people to catch their breath. But not me – I am going for it. I get myself into a rhythm, lock my eyes on the step just in front of me and keep climbing.
Even with my regular workout schedule, my legs are rubbery when I reach the top. I shuffle over to the concrete ledge at the top platform and just lay there catching my breath. Eventually I begin to notice what was going on around me. A nearly 360 degree view of Los Angeles. To my left, I see the Pacific Ocean, to my right downtown Los Angeles and in the middle, the Hollywood sign. Thanks to a recent storm, the LA skies are clear and fog free. Not only has this walk surprised me by turning into a full on work out, but I also get a new view of the hometown I think I know so well.
|Photo Credit:Darryl Hardin|