Research has been done on the effects of walking on the brain. When you have a problem and get stuck and someone suggests that you “go for a walk”, they aren’t just trying to get rid of you and your problems. Apparently there’s something about bipedal movement, like walking or cycling, that forces the left and right brain to work together. I figured that out a long time ago when I first moved to Manhattan, but now, out here in LA, I have a car and I “go for walks” just to walk and get my mind right.

When I lived in West Hollywood, I’d hoof it up to Runyon in my best gear, as there’s a lot of gear pressure up in Runyon Canyon. And it’s crowded, crowded with industry folk multitasking their workout and their calls. I don’t want to hear deals negotiated, as I huff up the mountain trying to bond with birds and nature. I like to hear the dirt crunch beneath my feet.

Then I moved to Silverlake and started doing laps around The Reservoir. It bothered me that the water was fenced in, like a water zoo. Just a bummer. Further, you’d think there was a funeral just around the bend, because everyone’s in all black and no one smiles. It’s like jogging with Danzig.

Now, I’ve shuffled further east into Echo Park, so now I am an Elysian Park regular. In Greek mythology it’s the final resting place of the gods and heroes. In Echo Park, it’s a dog’s paradise and a sweet trail. I’m there a few days a week, and it’s fast become my refuge.

I always went straight, but finally, one more adventurous day, I took a left. In dense enough greenery to mistake it for Hawaii or Big Sur, I came up on this:

I am positively overwhelmed with admiration. Primary color swings, where the rope matches the bench?! I suffer from motion sickness, another mid-thirties bullshit problem, but I will swing the fuck out in the park.

Swinging to the east, you have a view of the palm trees lining the backside of Dodger Stadium:

And to the south, the growing Downtown skyline:

It’s only February, but Spring is getting sprung:

If you go for a walk there you’ll notice you’ve gotta watch your footing, the whole mountain is swiss cheese.

These gopher’s are Echo Park locals through and through, and like my neighbors, they do not give a fuck. I ain’t no nature photographer, he just has no fear. There’s gotta be a million gophers, because there’s ten million wholes, and bits of the mountainside cascade down on you as the gophers happily burrow and munch on greens. Fortunately, there are at least four hawks who live in the park, and owls, although I haven’t seen one yet, only heard ’em. Haven’t seen any coyotes, or these gophers wouldn’t be so brazen.

The hummingbirds are out in full force. I swear I almost got lanced by one. Killed by hummingbird.

The trail wraps around the mountain facing the freeway and trains along LA River. I get jammed up with Angelino pride, all the trappings of the city, transit and commerce surrounding you, but you’re here:

This is my favorite tree:

Here’s a map, walk it out, pack a picnic, play on the swings, thump a gopher on the head: