Saturday, January 8, 2011

Hike 5 Fryman Canyon

Today I visited the "Runyon Canon without the Runyon" otherwise known as Fryman Canyon. Off of Laurel Canyon, Fryman offers the hiker wide trails, decent upticks in elevation and also many side trails to really burn off Friday night's food truck run (and possibly Sunday morning's food truck run, what can I say, I am a fan!).

The Runyon reference relates to an infamous hike here in LA where people go to see and be seen, preferably in designer yoga pants and sunglasses. Fryman is positioned as an easy hike like Runyon without the attitude. However, there was plenty of sunglasses, scruffy little dogs and people with cell phones at the ready to make up for what I was surely missing at Runyon.

The trail starts off really steeply and then goes for a few tenths of a mile up a paved but cracked path. What I have found really interesting about hiking in LA-proper is that often, the trails start with steep inclines at the beginning and then once the trail reaches the ridge or a switchback, tend to be level. In the ADKs you really have to hike into the trailhead which then eventually makes it way up.

Climbing up the hill, you get really nice views of, like, the Valley as well as houses whose monthly heating bills probably cost more than my car.

Also nature, there is nature there as well, almost forgot (cacti counts right?).

About a mile or so in, you come across the Tree People. No, they aren't taller Ewoks, they are a great advocacy and actually-do-something group that are planting trees everywhere they can. They have a lot of land and a lot of stuff apparently going on but weirdly no one around to talk tree shop. They also have nice shrubberies. Ni!

Continuing on the trail leads to a nice overlook with some picnic tables and benches. I spent most of my time looking at the birds and anthropomorphizing them like "that bird is a punk" or "that bird is really asking for it from a hawk noisily rooting around for grubs like that".

The pluses of Fryman are obvious, you get to be outdoors with pine trees, birds and fat baby groundhogs (who are camera shy, you will have to trust me on this), moving those muscles Xenu gave you and marveling at the human habitat on display on the trails. The downside is the number of people on the trails and the $3 parking fee. However, it is definitely a solid B in my book (until I hike Runyon and then maybe it gets bumped up to an A by comparison).

If you are interested in hiking Fryman, here are some great sites to check out:

Modern Hiker's indepth take:
SMMC's trail map and directions:


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