California trip day 3: Hollywood Sign Hike

California trip day 3: Hollywood Sign Hike

Day three was departure day from Hollywood to start our trip up the coast. Jessica and I had planned a hike up to the famous Hollywood sign but weren't sure how far we'd get judging by comments made by other people who tried it. The mountain is just a few miles from downtown, so it was a short drive. At first, we got lost because the roads are winding with many intersections, and the GPS would go in and out. Finally, we reached our destination as far as the road would go. There was very limited parking, because the sign is not an "attraction", although it should be. The area where you park is in a residential neighborhood. We walked up the street to the end and entered the paved path beyond a gate marked do not enter. We could see many people beyond the gate and going through the gate, so we decided it was okay to go that far. Just through the gate, you have a great view of the sign, but we wanted to see it up close. We continued down the paved path up the mountain.

We saw people walking their dogs as we continued up the steep, winding incline. There was an intersection that wasn't marked, but we got lucky taking the path to the left leading us in the right direction. By this time, it seemed like it was only us on the path now, but up ahead we saw a couple people parked and talking with the hood up on one of the vehicles. We continued on our forty-minute hike until we came around the bend and saw the big "H" of the sign.


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We were elated that we made it to the top. We took pictures of the back of the sign from behind the fence.
Then we noticed that the gate was unlocked which led down the hill to the big letters! It looked like there were people working on the sign. In fact, they were repainting it. Taking the dirt path down to the sign was risky. The dirt was loose, and we slid down part of the way ... All the while wondering how we were going to make it back up the hill to the road. Once we got down to the "H", we heard workers talking. Apparently, they were on their lunch break. They saw us and inquired if we were working with the paint company. We replied that we were there just to touch the sign and take pictures. He asked if the gate was unlocked, and we told him it was. He then informed us "LAPD gonna come get you". I was already standing next to the sign and told Jessica to come on down the rest of the way (about 10 feet) and touch the sign. We touched it and then got out of there!
Quickly scanning the area for the best way back up the hill, we found ropes that the workers used to navigate the incline. Using the ropes to climb up was like mountain climbing. It was almost a vertical incline where the ropes were hanging. After arriving at the top, we got back through the gate and proceeded down the hill, retracing our steps, thinking we were lucky not to get into trouble. Just then, around the corner comes a LAPD vehicle. Jessica immediately went into panic mode exclaiming "We're going to jail!" over and over again. I told her to keep calm and keep walking like nothing was wrong. Seconds seemed like minutes. As the officer passed by, I gave a friendly wave. The cruiser proceeded up the hill. I thought if he was there to take us to jail, he would have stopped and questioned us. We thought about running after he disappeared around the corner, but there was nowhere to run... and it would have been suspicious. Another vehicle passed us on it's way up the hill. Jessica said the driver was glaring at us. He was probably the painting foreman or something. We knew word was getting around that we were up there as we continued walking down the hill with our hearts racing. Finally, we saw the first gate that we passed through - Our pass to freedom and blending back into the crowd. We took a couple of final pictures after we got outside the gate and walked briskly back to the car. We finally made it with a story to tell future generations.