The last few days have been incredibly clear around the Los Angeles area. It rained one day last week—maybe Thursday?—and since then all that uggy haze we have been dealing with has not re-appeared. When you can see all the mountain ranges surrounding the city you can understand why it is known as the Los Angeles Basin, as we are surrounded on all sides except, of course, for the ocean.
I took this photo on Saturday as I was on my way to walk up to the top of Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook. Ballona Creek is just a block or so from my house. Ballona Creek used to be a pretty, meandering stream until the 1930s when the U.S. Corps of Engineers saw fit to tame it inside concrete walls. Like the Los Angeles River, the creek had a habit of changing course in the rainy season and wreaking havoc on the adjacent neighborhoods, so at the time, this seemed to be the only solution.
In our more “enlightened” times there are many movements afoot to bring some green back to the creek. Maybe by planting the sides or the center (as we have seen in many parts of the Los Angeles River). But it is a slow process and takes money.
This view is at Duquesne Avenue looking pretty much northeast. The bike path you can see on the left runs all the way down to the Pacific Ocean at Playa del Rey. If you look up and a little to the left above the bicyclist in the red jacket, you can see the Hollywood Sign peeking through the trees on the side of Mt. Hollywood.
The highest point above that is Mount Lukens. If you look VERY closely you can see a whole lot of television, radio and cellular transmission towers on top. Mount Lukens is within the City of Los Angeles and caps out at 5,066 ft (1,544 m), making it the highest point within the city limits. According to Wikipedia, this gives LA the distinction of being the city that has the highest and lowest elevation (sea level) difference in the country.
As the crow flies, Mount Lukens is about 25 miles from where I was standing or about 30 miles and 90 minutes by car, depending on traffic. Yes, I have hiked up there on several occasions—in my (younger) hiking days I bagged quite a few peaks. Now I am content to do the half hour walk from my front door up to the top of Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook. I will be writing about that in another post very soon. For an older post, click here.
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