Week 186: Fellowship Park pt. 2

September 08, 2019

Secret Stairs Walk #17, Fellowship Park, 2 miles, 148 steps

Tucked in the hills of Echo Park above Sunset Blvd. between the 2 and Elysian Park, is a small, enchanted neighborhood so private and magical that Barbara and I came back to hike it again. It's not easy to find (Charles Fleming provides a simple map in his book,) but that was part of the fun and a large part of the workout, beginning with two of the steepest streets in L.A.: Fargo and the dreaded Baxter. We huffed up parts of both, connected by our first staircases, one up to Preston Ave. and another down to Baxter. It's been a long time since our last "staircase" hike and my legs and lungs did a WTF as we climbed streets built in the 1920s, before there were laws about just how steep a street can be! Our next staircase, 25 steps up from Vestal Avenue, led to a sloping path up to Lemoyne St. Turning north, we headed toward Cerro Gordo Street and the lineup of garages for homes in the park's walk street. The water storage reservoir for locals loomed above, marking the border of Fellowship Park—according to Fleming, a "chunk of hilltop land founded by a religious group in the 1900s." Another staircase, bordered by bougainvillea, led us up into this magical neighborhood of charming homes on a walk street with a brook, hammock, and rope swing. More stairs took us down to the path through the hillside woods. Hard to believe we were in the middle of LA, yet, as we hiked in silence, our view included the 2 freeway below, and the Hollywood sign and the Observatory on the Santa Monica Mountains in the distance. Along the path, old homes hidden in the oaks and tucked on the side of the hill presented a rural feel, detached from the surrounding metropolis. The path ended at a staircase to Lake Shore Avenue. Back to Cerro Gordo St., with views of DTLA, up then down to Echo Park Avenue—and coffee at Pollen. Barbara and I have done our share of breathtaking mountain hikes, but you can't beat Fellowship Park for a quick escape and the old staircases of early 20th-century Los Angeles for a heart pounding workout! 

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