If you walk on the Appalachian Trail long enough you’ll eventually hike to the top of Mount Washington in New Hampshire. It is the tallest mountain in New England and famous for its nasty weather. It once recorded a wind gust at 231mph.
If you take the Los Angeles Metro Gold Line to northeast Los Angeles and get off at the Southwest Museum stop, you can walk to the top of Los Angeles’ Mount Washington. Although it once had a 100mph burst of wind, you should find the weather to be excellent.
This past Saturday the weather was perfect, and I had the opportunity to go on walk led by Bob Inman through the Mount Washington neighborhood. Bob is the authority on urban wandering in Los Angeles. His book, A Guide to the Public Stairways of Los Angeles, is indispensable for the LA stair seeker. He is currently working on new book that will expand the stair guide to include paths and other pedestrian only conveyances.
Saturday’s walk began and ended at the entrance of the Southwest Museum and included both stairs and paths. In addition to being a workout, the walk was informative as Bob provided a narration of the architecture and other tidbits that we passed along on the eight mile route.
Bob leads walks quite often. If you happen to be in LA and would like to walk with Bob, you can find information on his upcoming walks at his book’s Facebook page, “A Guide to the Stairways of Los Angeles.”
Enough with the intros, let’s start the walk.
Very soon into the walk we passed this stairway with a recent mural.
When you go through the portal and up the stairs
You’ll notice a small shrine at the landing. Spotting the small details is one of the things that makes wandering special.
As we walked along we passed many interesting homes in all shapes sizes and colors.
We turned onto a street that said it was not a through street.
When we reached the end of the street, we kept going.
And found these stairs to descend.
We soon reached Eldred Street. The steepest street in Los Angeles with a 33% grade.
The roads on top followed the contour of Mount Washington.
Eventually we reached a road that was no longer a road and is now a path.
We might have spent close to half of the walk on trail. In the book The Gentle Art of Wandering I mentioned how creases and corridors allow you penetrate natural areas. They also allow nature to penetrate the urban core. The mixture of houses and undeveloped land allows for a perfect mix.
In addition to the open spaces and wonderful streets, we still had more staircases to climb or descend.
Our walk continued with some more ups and downs and ended where we started. Although I was tired, I couldn’t have asked for a better day. Thanks Bob! And thanks to all who came along.