Week 226: Los Feliz

December 27, 2020

 Weekend Sherpa—Shakespeare Bridge + Secret Garden, 4.5 miles. 

Overcast days are just right for exploring L.A. from the sidewalk up, and Barbara and I chose this Weekend Sherpa Los Feliz hike simply because we're drawn to anything "secret" about L.A. The walk ended up being a tour of a century of Los Feliz's water-bridge-garden/park history. We started at the dead end of Sunnybrook Drive in Atwater Village where a walking path led us up to the east end of the Atwater Love Lock Bridge over the L.A. River. The bridge linking Atwater and Los Feliz was built in 1929, and its love locks appeared in 2013, a sweet statement that drives bridge engineers crazy (the weight!) A brief side trip at the west end of the bridge took us to a little treasure called Sunnynook River Park, three orphaned and abandoned acres along the river bike path that were rescued and rehabilitated by LA Parks and Recreation in 2013. Another bridge over the 5 put us into the Griffith Park Recreation Center, our shortcut to the William Mulholland Memorial Fountain. Located at the corner of Los Feliz Blvd. and Riverside Drive, the memorial is at the edge of Griffith Park where the city of Los Feliz literally started in an old adobe house built in 1830. The Mulholland Fountain is an L.A. Historic-Cultural Monument, dedicated in 1940 to the man who, in 1915, completed one of the engineering wonders of the world —the L.A. Aqueduct. In addition to the fountain, the circle "sculpture" on the corner is a slice of the original L.A. aqueduct whose course is recreated in a walking trail around the fountain. Mulholland's aqueduct had a major effect on the growth and history of Los Angeles. No Mulholland, no aqueduct, and literally, no L.A. as we know it today. We left the Mulholland site and walked south on Riverside to Hyperion then up the 61 steps to the top of the Hyperion Bridge connecting Glendale to L.A. since 1929. Our next stop, Ettrick St. and the peaceful, "secret beauty" of the Rowena Reservoir, the oldest (1901) of the 10 L.A. reservoirs, and now owned by LADWP. We circled it to St. George Street, the route to our next L.A. Historic-Cultural Landmark: the Shakespeare Bridge on Franklin. It's a short little thing at 260 feet, but as Will said, "Brevity is the soul of wit." The gothic, concrete structure was built in 1926 to bridge the now dried up Arroyo de la Sacatela (Sacatela Creek.) Took some pix, turned around, and headed for Monon Street to find the little Shakespeare Bridge Gardens under the bridge, the last and most "secret" spot on the hike. The garden is sweet, well-kept, and a tribute to the neighborhood beneath the bridge whose homeowners banded together in 2003 and made an abandoned plot into a pretty, scenic spot. We retraced our steps back to the bridges and back to the car, fed with history and ready for the morning mocha. Our last hike of 2020—weeks of happy trails that kept us sane. "I can't hike wearing this mask" went to "Hey, this thing keeps my face warm." 





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