I never suspected an urban thru-hike would be in my future, even as little as 3 weeks ago. I first heard of such an endeavor from 2 other thru-hikers, Snorkel and Bobcat. Snorkel embarked last April on a first ever recorded urban thru-hike of Los Angeles incorporating the Inman 300, series of historical stairways situated in the city to connect neighborhoods, pedestrians, and commuters with the pulse of the city. Then, in June, Bobcat tackled an urban thru-hike of San Francisco that incorporated historic stairways within the city, across the Golden Gate Bridge, and up into the Marin Highlands. A few weeks back, I met Snorkel in person at the ALDHA-West gathering where we chatted into the wee hours of the morning about speed hiking, record breaking attempts, and her urban hike of L.A.
|Snorkel flying off a hidden staircase in L.A. on the Inman 300|
|Bobcat at Casa de Luna fresh off the PCT|
Things seem to fall into place rather rapidly. After about 2 weeks of consecutive work I suddenly had about 2 1/2 weeks off. I was dying to hike somewhere but with the limited timeframe I had to find something of a moderate distance in an area with agreeable weather that would provide me with a challenge. I called up Snorkel telling her of my intentions. She responded back with enthusiasm for my ambitious endeavor. Within hours after our conversation she sent me maps of the Inman 300 and blasted out an email to some of the main characters involved in the stair community of L.A. I had less than a week to plan the route but I was determined to make it happen.
Right off the bat I received feedback and support from the stair community, however, after a 3 day hike in Utah, then piecing together a route, I had little contact with anybody. Scrutinizing a route together proved to be mind-boggling as the maps and the 100's of waypoints were extremely tough. Two days before the L.A. Basin Thru Hike I really did not know why I was doing this. I felt an extreme unknown factor creep up on me. I was more nervous for this than my 3,500m Vagabond Loop!
I figured the Hell with it, I am going anyways, if just for the pure pleasure of walking. I would figure things out as I went along using my gut and head to navigate through a megalopolis all the way up to the wilderness of the Basin of L.A.
*City to Wilderness
And during that flight, knowing that I would commence to follow my goals, I felt a serene sense of calm. I now knew where I would start: I would just walk straight out of the damn Los Angeles International Airport!