A few blackened trees still stood among the fast-spreading greenery, split open and ready to topple at the slightest touch. Tony kept up a steady stream of conversation, even in parts of the trail where we were practically vertical. "Laid off gives me all this extra time. I'm getting more done around my apartment. I think I'll paint."
"Hey, that's good," I wheezed. By keeping responses short, I could sound in better shape than I was.
A few more twists and turns and we were crossing a horse bridge. Hoof prints pock-marked the surrounding trails, signs that the horsey set liked riding the high country — almost as high as the Hollywood Sign, but not as high as a pop star.
Cresting another hill, Tony slowed. Suddenly, on a clear L.A. afternoon, we could see the Observatory, downtown Los Angeles, Century City, the Verdugo Hills, the ocean. Pretty cool. No wonder Tony likes it up here. Though off to the east, haze formed a Mordor-like smog wall. Still, I never got a decent view whenever family and friends were in town. Only haze and a few downtown skyscrapers poking up out of the gray.
(Photo courtesy of travelblog.viator.com/.../)
Our way back included trails both steep and slippery, where it didn't pay to look beyond your feet. I was winded and could feel hamstrings and glutes tell me tomorrow would be Sore Butt City. But a good hike overall and no knee pain. Tony appeared ready to hike the Rockies, but he had to go pick up his wife.