Hike to the Hollywood Sign(ish)

This Friday, my brother Tom came to stay with me in LA for five days. He had only been to the US once before, when he was 5, so I was looking forward to doing lots of touristy things with him! My number one activity on my list of things to do was to do the Hollywood sign hike, as I hadn’t done it before and he likes physical activity. Plus it was supposed to be a lovely clear weekend – perfect views of LA.

I decided that we would try the really cool (if reputably trickier) Hollywood hike that goes right round the back of the sign, giving you the best possible view. So on Saturday morning, Yaz, Liz, Tom and I got up bright and early (like 10am lol) and Liz drove us to Wonderview Drive – the beginning of the hike.

It was LOT harder than I thought it would be! Climbing the hill where we parked the car was tricky enough – by the time we reached the hike path I was already dripping with sweat. It didn’t help that it was the hottest day of the year so far, hitting about 27 degrees, and we hadn’t brought nearly enough water with us to handle the heat!

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The route we took was pretty steep and very rocky. Frequently we’d slip because the rocks under our feet would give way. While Yaz and I struggled at the back, Tom and Liz hopped up the treacherous terrain like mountain goats, waiting for us whenever they realised we’d been left behind (which was frequently).

After about 45 minutes of, in my opinion, pure torture, we reached the Wisdom Tree…and discovered we weren’t even half way to the sign yet. The Wisdom Tree was pretty cool – a solitary tree growing on top of a high mountain, looking over both LA and the Valley behind. IMG_7159People leave notes at the Wisdom Tree – usually messages of positivity and hope, although some of anxiety or fear, asking the tree for advice. Quite sweet, really. We didn’t know this was a thing, so hadn’t brought pens and paper, but I enjoyed reading through the notebooks and signed my own name in one of the visitor logs. Meanwhile, Tom had fun writing rude notes underneath heartfelt messages of optimism and inspiration.

There was a massive American flag plonked right on top of the hill too (of course). The view was absolutely incredible. We sat admiring it for a while, then made the executive decision that perhaps this view was enough for one day – the Hollywood sign could wait! There was also the small issue of us not having nearly enough water to get us through the trek – a slight flaw in our plan. We stumbled down the mountain, half falling, half staggering, slipping and skidding on all of the loose rocks we’d struggled with on our way up. After about 25 minutes of continuous downhill movement, my right leg started trembling from the exertion – a fact Tom didn’t let me forget the rest of the time he was here!

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My advice to anyone thinking about attempting the Hollywood sign hike who hasn’t hiked in the hills before would be:
Bring water – LOTS of it. If you don’t, you’ll end up staring enviously at water-rich people chugging their gallons of H2O and desperately consider sticking your head underneath in hope of a drop.
Research research research the route you’re planning on taking – if I’d known how steep/twisty the hike we went on was I would probably have chosen another route!

I am determined to complete the hike one day. Maybe when it’s cooler one day and I don’t feel any pressure to move at a speed faster than a gentle amble. I’ll keep you posted.

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