Another place on my list of “Places I Can’t Believe I’ve Actually Been to” is a hike to the Hollywood Sign. Although, who would embark on this journey in nearly 40 degrees heat? That’s right; we would! Naturally, we rewarded ourselves for the 11 miles of walking with deep-fried-whatever-you-can-imagine at the L.A. County Fair on Labour Day!
To begin with, the hike, going up to see the Hollywood sign has been a dream of mine ever since I was little. As for me and my friend Becky (another exchange student from UAL and yes, she has good hair) we’re riding towards the beginning of the trail, we made a realisation – we were going to walk almost 4 miles to some spatial typography. Now, this probably sounds very irrelevant to anyone who has no idea of graphic design, but to us, it was ridiculously funny. We decided to take the Mt. Lee Trail, as the most famous one, the Hollyridge, is now closed. We actually started up at Innsdale Road which has a short trail going through Hollywood Park (I could be wrong about the name of the trail). There are several more trails but eventually they all lead to the Mt.Lee one. After that, we walked a bit up the road before reaching the beginning of the actual trail.
Here comes the fun part – we got lost. To be precise – we got lost a whopping three times. The thing with this trail is that it’s a mixture of actual dirt & ground trails and roads through houses. We started off by following the path which leads to something like a gate to someone’s backyard. We decided this is not the way, so we started going back. Halfway through, we encountered some people and asked for directions. Apparently, we were on the right track, so we went back. Having ended up in the same place, we thought that we’re missing something, although all the other possible routes we had seen were clearly marked with a big sign “NO TRESPASSING” + a big fine. We went back a second time and asked the parking enforcements how to get to the top of the sign. We were directed to go down the road, then up a very very steep road and finally up through a gate. It took us a good amount of time and a lot of sweat to take that detour, but we finally made it to the gate. The most embarrassing thing was that we realised we are exactly on the opposite side of the other gate we had previously been at. Now tell me how exactly am I supposed to know I have to go through someone’s back yard to get to the next part of the trail? Anyways, we were really happy to finally find the infamous picture spot and the beginning of the actual trail up.
As we were taking pictures, we overheard some conversations and realised that not a lot of people were willing to go all the way to top. Nevertheless, we continued on our journey to see the spatial typography that the Hollywood sign is. After another 30-40 min of walking, we started to get really close to the top of the mountain. On the other side, we actually saw the fires, which we later discovered were the biggest wildfires in the history of Los Angeles. I hope this doesn’t happen again in the near future, as it was very sad to witness such a sight and I imagine how many resources it took to take it down. We continued going up for another 5-10 min and finally saw it – the top of the Hollywood sign. Needless to say, the view was breathtaking. My mind couldn’t process the size of L.A. – it feels big when you’re going places, but nothing compares it to the scene we gazed at from the sign. And I thought London was big…
After taking the mandatory pictures and just sitting and enjoying the view, we started heading down. Here comes another story – we had absolutely no service, we had no water left, and it was dark. We started going down and down and down the hills through these expensive mansions, desperately searching for either water or an UBER. We ended up finding a shop, which was closed, but luckily there was a cafe right next to it with Wi-Fi (still had no service). Finally, our car arrived and got us back to USC. We crashed back in our beds for a well-deserved rest. Moral of the story – don’t leave the house with less than 1.5l of water and maybe pre-order an UBER to save you the stress.
Fast forward to Labour Day – no claaass! The International Office at USC we’re so cool to organise a USC Day at the L.A. County fair, providing students with free transport and free entrance to the event. Of course, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity. After all, a student’s favourite word is ‘free’. We set off in the early afternoon and spent the day exploring the fair. I had never been to an American fair before, so I was super excited. I had three main points on my to-do list: 1. Play a fair game 2. Eat something deep fried 3. Go on a ride. As we arrived, I realised how massive the fair is – even bigger than London’s Winter Wonderland! There were so many rides, a bazillion of games, flashing deeply fried food signs (‘graphic design is my passion’ style haha) and even a petting zoo. It took us a good few circles to kind of get an idea where everything was.
We started off by trying to play some games. I emphasise on trying, as we both miserably failed. If we had only seen that video on 9GAG of a dude giving a walk through on how to hack and win any game…oh well. After that, to make up for the loss, we indulged in some deep fried Oreos. At first, the idea of deep fried anything sounded gross to me, because I imagined something like an Oreo chicken nugget, but it turned out to be really good! It turns out the whole ‘deep fried’ deal is just like a Bulgarian ‘mekitsa’ (мекица) with an Oreo inside. There were more weird combos such as deep fried avocado, as well as deep fried chicken ice cream sandwich, but I stayed clear of that because all the gym sessions to come wouldn’t be enough to make up for them haha.
Next we headed off to the barn. I don’t know why, but I was super excited to go pet some goats and sheep. I think I miss my dog too much, so any animal interaction was welcome. Also, as many of my friends would say – me and the sheep are relatives, so it’s only normal that I paid a visit to my American sisters haha.
We decided that our ride of choice would be the ski lift kind of thing that goes around the park. It’s nothing extreme, but it offers incredible views of the fair and is especially beautiful to go on around sunset. Although I’m terrified of heights, this was so much fun that we decided to go on it a second time (there are two ‘routes’ you can get on).
We ended our trip with another food classic – a brick (yes, a brick) of curly fries. I could never understand how a single person can devour this when two of us couldn’t even handle half of it…
Anyways, I definitely enjoyed my long weekend, it was definitely busy, but we got to see and do so much stuff! I have no idea what I’m doing next, but be sure to stay with me to find out! Until next week!