Wednesday, October 04, 2006

HIKE: Paseo Miramar

Pasedo Miramar,
Pacific Palisades, CA

Ever think about the fact that hiking is really just walking? This is especially true when you are talking about the paved part of Runyan. Our quest for a more challenging walk brought us to Pasedo Miramar in Pacific Palisades.

The journey begins even before getting out of the car when you make the turn off Sunset, and drive about a mile up a narrow mansion-lined road. You will eventually hit a dead end next to a big modern, kinda ugly, blue house (see picture below), which aside from a small sign, will be the only real indication that you are in the right place.

The view is instantly spectacular, and only gets better. Also considered a bike path, it is wide and open and has a steady incline with no real sharp climbs. We found it challenging, but not killer. We were shocked to see someone actually biking up it, but he looked like he had just returned from the Tour de France which would explain it.

As you can see from the picture we took (above) it was a foggy day, but that's ok it was still really pretty. This is LA, chances are it will foggy when you go too.

All in all we found this to be a wonderful hike and will definitely go back.. that is despite 2 instances when we thought we were going to die. Allow us to explain.

Incident # 1 - Killer Birds
It must have been about half way through the hike when the incident struck. We were thoroughly enjoying ourselves, appreciatingthe light sweat from our hard work mixed with the spectacular view of the canyons surrounding us on either side. The path isn't completely desolate, but other hikers were few and far between. When we first spotted a black bird flying overhead, we thought nothing of it. It wasn't until we noticed that the bird was circling above us, then around us .. and then down and around until it finally stopped right in front of us. And hovered.

Panic and shear terror do not begin to describe how we felt in that moment. Our hearts were not beating fast, they had just all out stopped. We were both scared and confused. Were we just being crazy? Our instinctual fear in the midst of this uncertainty just made us feel more scared and vulnerable.

A pending bird attack (a la Hitchcock) that would leave us dead or at the very least maimed, caused our attitude towards this hike to quickly shift. What the hell were we doing here? We're New Yorkers. Faced with a weird guy on the subway - bring it, but put us out there in the middle of nowhere - canons on either side, nowhere to run or hide, no body else around and we were completely defenseless. We looked down at our bottle of “Smart Water” .. somehow that just wasn't gonna cut it.

The bird flew up and continued to circle above us, and so we made an executive decision abort this hike immediately and get the hell out of there. Slowly, so not to entice the now two birds eyeing us, we turned around and began walking back.

Luckily, moments later we saw a man walking towards us. Still near tears, we stopped the man and asked him if those birds were going to kill us.

"The Ravens?" He replied in a cute British accent. "Oh God no. They're completely harmless. They're just hunting"

Letting out a sigh of relief, out hearts began beating again. Well it had occured to us that perhaps we were over reacting - just a tad.

"Ah glad to hear they aren't hunting for us!" We shouted, as we turned back and continued our hike.

"It's just the rattle snakes you have to worry about," he added.

Incident # 2 - The Rattle Snake

Not a whole lot to say about this one, except that now three quarters of the way into the hike we looked up to find a large, hissing, slithering rattle snake right smack in the middle of our path. In order to continue would mean literally climbing over it. For those of you who don't trust our instincts anymore, let us assure you that it was indeed a rattle snake. Not a garden snake. Not a stick. A rattle snake. 100%

This time there was no moment of "what should we do" because clearly our hike was done, and it was time to head back. We passed a couple of hikers soon after and warned them about the rattle snake they were approaching. They continued on enthusiastically, taking out their cameras. As New Yorkers, we might not always know what to do when faced with nature, but we're no dummies.

** Through further research, it turns out that ravens are not known to hurt humans but do tend to pester them. They also tend to travel in large packs called a "murder" and enjoy feasting on dead flesh, including human. So while they might not have hurt us, they are definitely killers. **

Trail Information:
Level: moderate/ intermediate
Dogs: Not Allowed
Length: 5miles round trip to Mesa Overlook.
Time: Approx. 1 1/2 – 2 hours

Paseo Miramar is located off Sunset. Going West on Sunset it will the next RIGHT after Palisades Drive. Once you make the turn onto Paseo Miramar you will take that road all the way up to the top until it dead ends.

The address to the house at the top is 865 Paseo Miramar, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272 if you want to use your GPS.

There is street parking along Paseo Miramar.
Just be sure to check signs and do not park where the curb is red.
We suggest driving all the way up and turning around at the dead end so you know how far you are.. parking will be on the right side as you come back down the mountain anyway.

**Pasedo Miramar isn’t technically the name of the trail, but it’s what most people call it since it’s the street you turn up to get there. It’s part of the East Topanga Fire Road Trailhead, in case you care.