Sometimes dreams don't come true, darlings. Sometimes that fountain of youth just ain't real. Sometimes, no matter how long you hike the hills- the damn "Studio City Lake" at the intersection of Mullholland and Coldwater Canyon just doesn't seem to exist(thanks Lance!). I was walking for over two hours searching, then I got lost and some of that time was spent scooting on my butt. Having done my typical Hadley shtick, I took the narrowest path possible, my legs stung by tall nettles, and when I came to a steep incline my rainbows were insufficient so butt scooting down the mountain it was.
Coldwater Canyon park IS right at the intersection of Mullholland and Coldwater and it is home to the other worldly and largely absent( I only saw one employee on the whole compound) organization known as the Tree People. The tree people are all about trees and water conservation and teaching city kids that there are other plants besides sick looking palms. They also want you to pee in the restroom for Christ's sake as the sign to the right attests(however they are dog on leash friendly). There are green houses, classrooms, very pretty paths that smell like Christmas and a small and very picturesque amphitheater funded partly by Steve Martin where they have shows at night.
My biggest complaint about most trails in LA is how dusty the dirt paths are. The dust clouds entice large flies that buzz around because of the shitty smelling dust. So I was thrilled that the paths Tree People maintain are covered in sweet smelling and all around cooling wood chips. It makes everything so much nicer and you don't feel like a buzzard. But alas, once you reach the serious hike and enter the Santa Monica Mountains the large, exotic trees go away as do the wood chips, and you are left with just another dusty Los Angeles hike, with outstanding views of giant houses you wish you owned and people (probably show biz people) having conversations you wish you didn't overhear.
The worst was the obscenely vapid looking dad with a "Hawthorne RN" shirt on, who kept trying to make his daughter do math problems on her I-phone or else it was "back to the workbooks." As she tried to do the division problem he gave her, he kept goading her to move faster so she tripped not once, not twice, but three times. He, and I quote, "didn't give a shit." He is probably an actor. We are a charming breed. When I asked a gnarled, faux mountain man(read: set grip or electrician) for directions to the lake, he chuckled and basically said "There ain't no water in the mountains, ya hear, if you want water you should go back to your neck of the woods, to Lake Hollywood. It's too dry up here for any water, ya see."
So after hours of hiking, focusing on the wind(I kept thinking it feels cooler, so I must be near the lake) and the pretty sky(I thought I saw the water reflecting off the clouds) and lush man made pools in the canyon below(I WANT THAT!), I finally gave up my search and headed back to my car. Since I had no clue where I was it was cool using a particular tree, or grove or mansion as a signpost for taking the right way. I felt very Jane Austen and pretended I was on a walking tour until two large writers talking about their "Ellis Island project" pulled me out of my dream. I was never more glad to get in my car, crank up some air conditioning and drive back down to my neck of the woods and my own personal lake, Mr. Bathtub.
Travel: A ( I was telling Mike and Dylan last week- there is nothing in the world I love more than driving on Mullholland, it's just so curvy and decadent and decaying- it is so LA).
Content: C( If you live in Studio City or Beverly Hills it's a great place. If you live on the Eastside forget it- just go to Griffith Park instead).
Subjective Coolness: B-
Directions: Take the 101 to the Mullholland exit. Go up Mullholland until you reach the aforementioned intersection. The address is 12601 Mullholland Drive. Parking at Tree People is free( beware, it is a sharp right turn).
Hours: Dawn till Dusk.