Climbing Los Angeles One Step at a Time

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Walk #5 : Mt. Washington

Distance: 3.2 miles
Steps: 466
Difficulty: 4.5

We encountered the Silver Lake Walker twice during our stair walks (see walks #18 & #22) and on many other occasions where we found ourselves in that part of LA. I saw him as recently as 3 weeks ago on our Coffee Table Loop walk and included the picture below in that post. Now he is gone. He died last Wednesday under a cloud of suspicion and the facts surrounding his death and a criminal investigation into his medical practice are not clear. Whatever was going on, I will always remember him as a local icon who made an interesting neighborhood even more so.

Dr. Marc Abrams, dead at 58.

I have not hosted a walk since July 4 as I've been very busy with school and we were in Catalina last weekend. I was looking forward to walking around Mt. Washington and had all the best intentions but this walk proved to be eventful! I woke up groggy as I did not sleep well at all and to start off I forgot my camera. Luckily, Charles always has a backup but he had given me his memory card last week so that I could upload some pictures and I had not returned it. I didn't know that we were working off of the very limited memory in the camera and I was only able to get 8 pictures! I forgot my camera once before on our LA River Walk and we hopped into the car afterwards to capture the lost pictures. I don't think that'll happen on this one. It would be very confusing to navigate the streets so I apologize. What I can say is that although a rough walk, it was completely worth it.
We were joined by our good-natured regular guest: Willie. He is always upbeat and makes us laugh and is not fazed by anything. He has enjoyed the walks so much that he bought his own copy of Secret Stairs and has done some on his own since we we took a break. We had done a walk that took us to the same neighborhood (Highland Park/Southwest Museum) but this one took us to the southern part of Mt. Washington. We started at Figueroa and Avenue 45 and quickly began a steep ascent.

Marmion Way, near the Gold Line Metro stop.

These stairs led to an empty lot - not part of the walk.

The area is rich in Craftsman houses so typical of Southern California and we saw many fine examples in this neighborhood.

Willie and Charles heading uphill.

The 2 structures with arched roofs are all that remain of a funicular that used to run up the hill from Figueroa to the former Mt. Washington Hotel. The buildings used to house machinery for the railway that ran until 1920.

This short, steep street led to our first stairway - 102 of them.

The hillside is filled with unique structures.

As we climbed and climbed we found ourselves in very quiet, secluded neighborhood. The area has a real friendly vibe and every single person that we encountered greeted us! We even ran into one jogger 3 times during this walk and she was quite helpful in giving us directions. It's the kind of place where you feel the community is very active and really cares. Our suspicions were confirmed when we walked by an elementary school and saw a bulletin board full of community notices and announcements.

The former Mt. Washington hotel is now the site of the Self Realization Fellowship Center. Some of you may have visited the Pacific Palisades location. It was closed as we walked by but I know for certain that I will visit it soon. If it's anything like the other location it will be beautifully landscaped, serene, and welcoming. The area where it's located (San Rafael Avenue) is stunning. The three of us all expressed a desire to move to the area!

As I said earlier, it's really confusing to navigate the area and at least twice I took us off-track. Both times we were able to recover but I got teased mercilessly by Charles as he is usually the one who leads us down the wrong path.

From Mt. Washington you get spectacular views of El Sereno, Downtown Los Angeles, and parts of Eagle Rock and Glendale. This is one LA neighborhood definitely worth exploring!

As we did the last time we walked this area, we had lunch at Chico's Mexican Restaurant at Figueroa Avenue and Avenue 50. Again, it was no-nonsense and delicious food served in a homey setting.

Despite all the mishaps of today's walk, we got our exercise on a perfectly sunny summer day, walked a great neighborhood, hung out with friends and laughed, and ate good food. That's what these walks are all about!

Feel free to join me as I discover hidden parts of Los Angeles and tackle the remaining 28 stair walks.

Steps walked to date: 6,283

Follow me on Twitter: @ClimbingLA

1 comment:

  1. Great post! They can't all be perfection and we survived the mishaps. The pictures you did take are wonderful. The walk was really nice even if you did get us lost (now you know how it feels!)