Climbing Los Angeles One Step at a Time

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Walk #14: Magic Gas

Distance: 2.5 miles
Steps: 511
Difficulty: 3.5

"This is a rigorous walk up and down steep streets and even steeper staircases, with lots of elevation change and towering city views." Taken from Secret Stairs by Charles Fleming.

'Rigorous' is the correct word for this walk. It was only 500+ steps but I felt them. In addition to our regulars (Willie and Vlad) we met up at Magic Gas in Echo Park with Alexandra and Eric. They just returned last week from the UK and on their trip they managed an 84-mile walk across a portion of northern England. They are avid walkers and also love to explore so it was a special treat to have them along on this walk. I know that they will join us in the future. They actually walked to this walk! Magic Gas is a service station located on Echo Park Avenue - near Elysian Park and Dodger Stadium. It is a very old hilly neighborhood that lies just northwest of Downtown LA. It has always attracted creative, independent people. While still heavily Latino, this neighborhood is in the process of being gentrified.

Vlad, Willie, Eric, and Alexandra.

I've walked past Magic Gas several times and most recently when Charles and I joined the Big Parade on a portion of their walk across Los Angels yet I never noticed this 125-step staircase across the way. No time to warm up!

We encountered several 'walk street's on this one. This house lies between the top and the bottom of the stairs with no direct access to vehicle. Somebody asked "what happens when you have to move and you live on a 'walk street'?" Answer: Hire movers!

This street is near Dodger Stadium and here we see a fan of 'Dodger Blue'
We walked down this street only to end up on the Echo Park Avenue but that was the only way to connect the stairs so we do as the 'good book' says and follow the author's instructions. We soon found another stairway with 125 steps and multiple landings.

Another 'walk street' house
Given that Echo Park is so close to Downtown LA, views of the city center are plentiful.

Graffiti or art or both?

The house pictured below was designed by Silver Lake-based Tony Unruh. Right before the house on the left is what appears to be a driveway but is actually a not-very-well maintained alley. A very steep walk down before encountering yet another large stairway - this one had 129 steps to it.

We walked down a steep alley only to walk up this monster

Vlad is always decked out on these walks!

Not one of our staircases to walk..
Another view of Downtown LA
Because this neighborhood is so old, many houses have been changed so where there once was a possible harmony there is now more of an eclectic look with some very interesting results.
The Garbutt house - we'll get to it on a future walk.
Some people love their Lakers!
This part of Echo Park lies right where the 2 Freeway ends at Glendale Blvd. We were up on a hill looking down.

We went down this staircase only to go right back up the next set less than a block later.

The main street heading west is Alvarado Street. I only knew of Alvarado as a busy street and not this quiet part high above the city. To my right was a large self-storage facility. The property was once the home of Keystone Studios, built in 1912 and the first totally enclosed movie studio.

We would soon encounter the first 125-step stairway that we climbed. This time we descended it and that marked the end of our walk.

Delilah Bakery is always a great place to rest your weary feet after a long walk. Alexandra and Eric walked home from here and we look forward to hosting them again.

Feel free to join me as I discover hidden parts of Los Angeles and tackle the remaining 26 stair walks.

Steps walked to date: 7,468

Follow me on Twitter: @ClimbingLA

1 comment:

  1. Another great post about another great walk. Thank you, Robert, for leading us and for recounting our walks so well! I think I'm recovered and ready for the next one... :-)