It’s summer and all my kids are home. I’m going nuts because they are just playing video games and eating all day. I need to get out of the house and do something. I’ve been hiking in my area trying to get ready for my big hike to the Hollywood Sign. I’ve been reading about it for weeks but there are so many ways to hike it and it was hard for me to find the exact locations to start. I asked my kids if they wanted to go and only one of them wanted to go. I wasn’t going to force them to go because they love to complain. When I go hiking, I like to hear the nothing. My youngest son who is 13 agrees to go with me.
I drove two hours from my house to get to Hollywood. My destination is to the Observatory, where the reviews stated that you can begin the hike. Due to traffic, we arrive there until almost 1 pm. I had to park on the street, which was free, but we had to walk up the hill to begin our hike. We walked probably a mile uphill just to commence our Hollywood Hike.
We get to the first sign and it says .4 mile to Hollywood sign. I was confused because we had just walked about a mile up and we didn’t see the sign, so we decided to follow the Mt. Hollywood Summit trail. I was super excited that we were so close, it was only 1.2 miles. We begin walking and about 1/4 mile into it, my son stops. He begins to complain that he is tired and that he can’t do it. He is really hot and that I’m going too fast. I begin to laugh and I tell him that I’m just walking at my pace that he is just out of shape. I begin to pour water on him and tell him to just take a break. I promised him that I will walk slower and I will take breaks in between.
He struggles to walk and I had some snacks in my bag so I give him some to eat. There is no shade so he looks extremely hot. I keep pouring water on his head and he walks very slow. I felt horrible that I was forcing him to do this with me. Obviously he is not in good shape. I had been training for this hike so I was more prepared but he is so much younger than me, so I assumed he could do it. We get to the second sign and by this point we’ve walked at least a mile and the distance hasn’t changed on the sign.
I would go ahead and then wait for him when he was getting too behind. I was determined to complete this hike, no matter how long it was going to take me to complete. We finally get to this point where there are some stone benches and you could see the Hollywood sign but it was still far away. The sign was wrong, we were not even close to it.
The third sign finally says we made some progress, we are only .4 miles away. But it has two options to get there. We decided to go left around the mountain.
We stopped and took some pictures and kept going up. We kept going slow since my son didn’t want me to walk ahead of him. We finally get to some shade. One little tree with some comfy rocks under it, it looked so refreshing. There were two other hikers already there chilling under it but we squeezed in and took the other two rocks to sit on.
I asked the hikers if they had seen the sign already and they just laughed. The said that they walked and walked so much and that they were not even close so they decide to turn back. I was shocked to hear that they had walked so much and didn’t even get close. They explained to me that they were from London and they were definitely out of shape. Both hikers had very cute accents when they were talking to me so we kept talking about London. I told them that my goal is to go there one day.
I shared with them that my son was also struggling to keep up. I was in better shape than him since I had already been hiking other mountains to be ready for this one. They begin to share that where they live is completely flat, they have no hiking trails so they definitely could not prepare for this one. Our break was over and I wished them luck and to continue to have a safe trip in California.
We continue walking and come to another sign that says that it’s .7 distance to the 3 mile to Hollywood sign but there was another trail that said .7 distance to another trail. We decided to take the .7 hiking trail that looked like it was heading towards the sign. The 3 mile trail looked as if it was going downhill and away from sign. As we kept walking, the trail now suddenly begins to decline behind the mountain and starts pulling away from the sign. Something was wrong but there was no one to ask, when finally see a hiker that is coming towards us and we ask her. She explains that this trail leads to a street down to the city, it will not take us to the Hollywood sign, we must take the 3 mile loop trail. The signs are extremely confusing and by this time we are extremely disoriented.
Now, we have to turn back and we just walked about a 1 mile down this wrong trail and now have to go back up another mile. I feel horrible that my son is barely being able to walk but I’m determined to complete my hike.
We finally get to the sign and go toward the 3 mile loop hike. As we walk, we see a couple of people walking back. So many times I wanted to ask if they made it but I was to shy. We continue to see the signs to keep going and the distance to the Hollywood sign was declining as we kept seeing the signs.
We finally came across a small street and there some benches with lots of shade. I wanted to go sit there and eat a sandwich but we didn’t bring food, just some snacks. My water was running low on water and my son was very tired. We took a small break under the shade to reenergize. As we continued our hike, I noticed a bunch of bikers on this road going uphill and downhill. We continued out hike on this road until it detoured us back into the dirt road.
We went back to the dirt road and continued our hike. Suddenly, I noticed a lot more hikers on this side of the trail. The sign now stated that we were 1.1 miles away. I hadn’t seen any hikers for the last 2 miles and now I came across a few of them coming back. I even came across family horseback riding the trail, they were coming back so I figured I was almost to the finish line. The next sign, says we were only .3 miles away now. It was giving me hope that we were almost there.
The hiking trail meets with a paved road again and I continue my hike on this very small road that’s on the edge of the hill. It’s so small that one car could fit. We noticed a gated community and the hiking trail continues alongside it. We finally get to the end. I see all the people taking selfies and group pictures. I’m so tired that I don’t have the energy to take the picture. I found some small shade and sat down and drank the some water. I tell my son that I’m proud of him, for not giving up. Once I’m refreshed, we began taking pictures like everyone else.
We sit down again on the dirt and my son begins to tell me that he doesn’t feel good, that he wants to throw up. I tell him to throw up in the bushes and he does. I had to take a picture of him doing it because it’s a memory that I know he will cherish later. I asked if he was okay and he said that he feels much better now. I gave him the little bit of water I had left and told him to go to the shade.
As I’m walking down, I noticed two hikers that were behind us in the gated community. It looked like they were buying water. I notice a hand written sign by the tree, to go into small gate to purchase your waters. I immediately told my son, that we needed to go buy some water. We go into the gated community and there was the man in his chair sitting down selling waters and sodas. The two other hikers where there sitting down in the chairs drinking their waters too.
I shared with them what had just happened to my son. They started laughing but congratulated my son for making it. Our feet were tired and we were drenched in sweat. We had been hiking for the last 3 hours under the sun. I bought my son a lemon soda for his stomach and we bought a big giant for both of us. The couple gets up and they said that their ride was here. They called an uber because they figured that they were not going to make it back. I began to laugh and wished them luck.
We sat there until we felt better in going back the way we came. I was relieved that we made it but by this time it was almost five o’clock. We were both exhausted and almost wanted to call an uber too. I checked my log of how much we had walked and we had over five miles of distance already within four hours of time. We did make it back to our car and drove to eat. If I ever go again, I know a short-cut now and I’m definitely going to be more prepared with food and water. The first paved road that we came across, is where our car was parked and it’s called Mount Hollywood Drive. This road is closed for normal traffic but not for pedestrians or bicyclist. If we would have just came up that road, we would have avoided the extra 4 miles we walked roundtrip. We live and learn and if you ever come to California to hike this trail, you know now.