John and I have been going on lots of walks lately, and this past week, I took my camera along with me. I used the following series of photos for a class, and there are a whole lot more to break up into a couple of blog posts. There is SO MUCH to explore in my ‘hood, you guys.
I came across my first set of secret stairs while out on a run. I was at the base of a hill, and the road ended at tiny cul-de-sac. But instead of turning around, I decided to see what was at the top of the nondescript stairs just to the left of a house. It was a long way up, but that could only mean there was a view at the end. Not only did I get that view, but I got a great workout.
Not long after that, we were at Stories Books & Cafe in Echo Park, and I picked up a book that not only explained what these stairs were all about, but it also had complete maps of all the stairs in the city with suggested routes. (Turns out, the book Secret Stairs was written by a professor at USC. Hi, Charles Fleming—I’ll be looking up your classes now!)
So John and I checked out a few more. If my consternation in the first photo wasn’t telling enough, those staircases are intense. One near us consists of 137 steps. I’ve been working my way up to running the whole thing without a break. I’m not there yet.
These stairs were originally constructed in the 1920′s as a way for people to get from their homes to transit lines at the bottom of the hills. When it became a car city, though, the stairs were mostly obsolete. Now, they’re just a great way to explore and quickly get to the top of a hill on foot. Plus, they help facilitate my endless need to spy on all my wealthy neighbors. (I’ll have a post dedicated to the homes in the hills for you soon.)
Turns out, there are a lot of other people interested in trekking up these staircases. There’s a meetup dedicated to hiking them all.
And, of course, there are the views. It’s hard to capture without a zoom lens, but you could see for miles in every direction from the vantage point below. The gorgeous rolling mountains, the houses nestled in the hill across the way, the tiny cars below (seriously, we were so high up). Totally worth the climb.
If you come visit me—and I recommend that you do—this is where I’m taking you first. (And then we’ll head to the grilled cheese shop on Sunset afterward.) So bring your walking shoes.