Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Jason in Hollywood goes wild in Griffith Park...

I awoke this beautiful morning to the sounds of chirping birdsong, so I hunted out my earplugs and was able to drop back off to sleep to about 9am, which is a much more sensible hour when you're not working!
Tattinger Champagne bottle
As is becoming customary, Charlie had left me a little note, luckily not saying "iron my shirts." We celebrated Charlie's birthday last night with a bottle of bubbly (the real stuff, not any of that sparkling Californian nonsense), hopefully when we're both back up to full strength we'll do something a bit more glamorous and adventurous, although Charlie tells me he's stopped counting the years!!

As I'd been inspired by my exploratory run up into Griffith Park yesterday, I thought I'd repeat it today, this time with my trusty camera (as the true photo-journalist of the blogosphere I am!) to document my adventure.

Unfortunately it wasn't as clear a day as yesterday, a fine (smoggy) haze lay over Burbank, but at least the dirt trails were quieter than Easter Monday and I wasn't having to constantly look out for horse riders.

A workmate of a friend who works at nearby Disney studios had suggested some possible running trails up into Griffith Park, which is the largest park with urban wilderness area in the United States, with over 4,120 acres.
Griffith Park Burbank entrance
For those of you not in the know, the park situated in the eastern Santa Monica Mountain range, was originally a part of the Spanish land grant, Rancho Los Feliz. The park was named for its former owner, Colonel Griffith J. Griffith. Born in Glamorganshire, South Wales (how spooky is that!?!).
Burbank view from Griffith Park
Griffith emigrated to the United States in 1865, eventually, making a personal fortune in California gold mine speculation.

In 1882, Griffith settled in L.A., purchasing a 4,071 acre portion of the Rancho Los Feliz. On 16th December, 1896, the civic-minded Griffith bequeathed 3,015 acres of his Rancho Los Feliz estate (equal to 5 square miles) as a Christmas gift to the people of Los Angeles to be used as parkland (us Welsh are a generous bunch!). Over time the Park has received further donations of land.
Griffith Park Lizard

So there's your history lesson for today. The Park is much easier to run in than the local streets with the non-existent pavements, even if you have to dodge a horse or lizard or two.

On Monday I even saw a hummingbird, at first thinking it was a big beetle, it was beautiful and I was hoping to snap one today, but didn't see one.
What I did see though after I'd been
running and rambling for about 40 minutes was this sign...

Being a former cub scout (oh yes indeedy - dib dib), you can imagine that my thoughts went straight to getting my wildlife badge or maybe more about getting out of the park as quickly as I could before I stood on any snakes or was pounced on by some beasty and eaten alive.
Beware of Coyotes sign
So following the stinky horse trail out of the park and over the bridge to civilisation, so ended my love affair with the great outdoors, for today at least.

It's funny really, yesterday this seemed like the perfect place to run with it's lovely views and leafy surroundings (aside from the steep hills and sandy terrain not making it ideal jogging conditions) and today, maybe not so safe.

What other news I hear you cry! Well, Charlie got his social security number yesterday which is great news, and was another reason for a sip of bubbly. This means we can start doing all the things we need to, like getting our Californian driving licences and looking for a more permanent place to rent.

It will be great to start getting more settled, especially as it looks like I Squirrel on driveway in Burbankwon't be Squirrel in tree, Burbankleaving the U.S. in the coming months whilst we sort out my visa. Luckily we've got a legal team on that, so fingers crossed it'll all go smoothly otherwise you'll be seeing me sooner than you think!!

I'll leave you now with some pictures of our friendly neighbourhood squirrels, there really are more of them than people around here!!

p.s. just in case you were wondering, I wasn't a very good cub scout - me and nature don't go well together and as you know I prefer a good boutique hotel to a tent any day!!

p.s. again - we are sooooo not getting a Chihuahua!!

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