11.13.2008

ON TOP OF THE WORLD

One of my favorite things to do when I travel is go for runs. I had time during my conference in LA to do two. One was a fairly prosaic jaunt through downtown LA. Because there are so many empty spaces, this run lacked the vitality you might find if you jogged through New York, Philadelphia, or Chicago. And if you're not careful, you might find yourself on a highway on-ramp with no place to go. So that run was a tad disappointing.

My other run, though, was simply sublime. I took the subway from near my hotel to the closest stop to Griffith Observatory. I emerged from below grade into a commercial district, which quickly gave way to a relatively run-down Hispanic neighborhood. I then reached the foot of the hill, and as I climbed higher, the houses got nicer and nicer, until I got to right before the park area, where the houses were really nice.

Once inside the park area, I climbed steeply until I reached Griffith Observatory. Having run myself out of breath, I was now out of breath on account of the view: a 180-degree panorama of the entirety of Los Angeles. I could even make out Long Beach in the distance. I stood motionless on one side of the observatory, taking it all in as the sun rose over the valley. I decided to walk around the perimeter of the observatory, and was treated to an up-close look at the iconic Hollywood sign not more than 1500 feet away. The run back to the transit stop was all downhill, and I was buoyed also by this wonderful discovery I had made. Painfully steep as it was, that was a run I wouldn't mind doing again.
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