This is not about the movie which was released in 19997 about the eruption of a volcano in Dante’s Peak, a small town somewhere in the USA. The movie was played by a pair of popular stars in Hollywood—Pierce Brosnan (the former James Bond actor) and Linda Hamilton (Sarah, the lady character in the Terminator movies).
For the past days, I’be been planning to run to the highest peak of Mt Hollywood at Griffith Park, starting from the house as part of my running workout. Finally, yesterday, I went out of the house bringing with me my Nathan Hydration Belt, some cash and identification card. It was 11:40 AM and the sky was covered with thick clouds and there was a 20% chance of rainfall as predicted by the Weather Report. The weather was cool at mid-60s and I wore my TNF long-sleeved technical running shirt.
From the house, I maintained an average pace of 5:45-6:00 mins/km while running along the sidewalk, facing the incoming traffic. The streets from the house to Griffith Park consisted of uphill & downhill terrain but there are times that I had to stop whenever I cross busy intersections. There are designated pedestrian crossing areas on the streets that you have to wait for that pedestrian light (a walking figure in white light) to glow while a blinking red light with a figure of a palm of the hand means that you are not allowed to cross the road yet! It is a simple street light in crossing a street but the people here follow the lights even without the presence of a police. By the way, do you wonder why there are no traffic aides or policemen here in every corner of the streets? The answers are: the traffic lights are there (very efficient) in every crossing and the citizens (drivers & pedestrians) are disciplined in terms of road rules and regulations. In the Philippines, we have those traffic lights, yet, we still have those traffic aides & PNP & Highway Patrol & LTO, but most of us do not follow those pedestrians lights and coss the streets along the pedestrian lanes!!! Very simple rule but it is hard to implement. Your answer is as good as mine.
After running for almost 10 kilometers, I finally reached the foot on the northern part of the mountain at the Griffith Park. I intended not to go to the trails that I’ve been into last year and I started to explore while I was on the road that goes to the Griffith Park’s Golf Course. While running uphill along the asphalted road, I saw an opening of a trail track on my left and I immediately went to it and started to run uphill. Yes, the small trail led me to a wider trail which is a part of those many trail roads/fire roads that snake up to the peak of every ridge at Mt Hollywood.
Even with the coolness of the place, my sweat, coming from the visor of my runner’s cap, started to drip to my legs and shorts and it was continous while my legs were taking shorter strides and my arms were swinging at a moderate frequency. It was a very challenging uphill climb where I had to brisk walk along steeper climbs along the way. I have to practice what I’ve learned in ultra trail running—“brisk walk” on those steep uphill climbs and “fly” on the downhill side in order to preserve my strength for the rest of my running workout.
After 15-20 minutes of steady uphill climb, I came up with a water fountain! I walked towards it and drank some water and took some pictures and later I was back on my run. Later, I was running on an asphalted road but it was a short distance. At the end of the asphalted road, I saw some people who are preparing for a buffet lunch in one of the vista places along the route and I realized there was a movie or TV “shooting” in progress within the vicinity. I did not dare to stop but just greeted the people I met along the road.
I entered Bridle Trail and that was the start (again!) of another more challenging uphill climb. Every time I reached a high part of the route, I would look up for another target to reach and study the trail that leads to it. That procedure had been repeated until I reached the highest peak of the mountain. I did not realize that the name of the highest peak is Dante’s Peak. It was my daughter who told me of the name as she already reached such place by hiking. I further “googled” it and I was able to see this website.
After taking some pictures at the said place, I was thinking of pushing myself to go to the HOLLYWOOD sign but after looking at my GF 305, I was already on the road for more than 2 hours! So, I decided to return here on my next running workout and be able to reach the said sign and retrace the route I’ve taken. So, Dante’s Peak became my turn-around point and I prepared for downhill run!
The traction of my TNF Arnuva 50 BOA trail shoes was very helpful on my downhill run as it gave me the needed traction on those steep portions of the route. My quads started to absorb the weight of my body and I started to feel some “burning” pain and my knees were starting to show some pain, too while trying to gain speed on those downhill runs. It was my mistake not to bring any GU/sports gels on this workout as I started to feel hungry. As I reached the water fountain, I drank more water and “peed” on the forested area. After a few minutes of running along the trails, I finally reached the place where I entered and then slowly jogged on the asphalted road until I reached the Los Feliz entrance of the park.
After running for another 3 kilometers on the streets, I entered Ralph’s Grocery Store and bought some cookies and sports drinks. I ate and drank what I bought while I was “brisk walking” along an uphill climb at Glendale Blvd. Finally, I resumed my running until I reached the house. I was able to run/jog/brisk walk a distance of 30.66 kilometers in 3:40 hours! It was a tiring “runabout” but it was refreshing to be out in the mountains and explore what I want to see.
From the base of the mountain, I thought of coming up with a test or survey on how or what the person/s I met or passed along the trails would react if I greet them or wave my hand to them. I usually greet walkers/hikers or runners along the trail with a simple “Good Morning” or “Good Afternoon” or just simply wave my left or right hand while smiling at them. This simple courtesy was a good lesson that I’ve learned and observed when I had those trail runs at Mt Wilson with my kids last year. I was able to count 24 people whom I met or passed along those trails at Griffith Park. Out of the 24, only 12 of them greeted me back, most of them ladies and couples (husband & wife) who replied “Hi” or “Hello” and they are “white”. I saw some Asians (I really don’t know if they are Chinese or Vietnamese or Thais or Koreans or Japanese) but they did not greet me back. Unfortunately, I did not see any Filipino!
After the run, I had a shower and ate a lot of food. Later, I started to cook for dinner while watching the NBA Finals’ Game #3. As I predicted, the Magic won this time.
I’ll be back for another run to Dante’s Peak and to the HOLLYWOOD sign soon!
And finally, my food (yes, I cooked them!) and supplement drinks for the past days!!!