One of my favorite fast weekday-friendly hikes in Los Angeles is Runyon Canyon. (It’s also the go-to hike for half of the rest of everyone who lives here, but whatevs.) I figured that hiking Runyon Canyon with a stroller was essentially possible, though every time I went alone, I assessed: Would this part of the terrain support a stroller? Can you get from here to there pushing wheels? Just how much harder is this hike when you’re hiking for three?
Yesterday, I finally got up the chutzpah to try it.
Like many things I try with infants, I assume: “This will either make me feel like a huge success, or end in total failure.” But I am damned determined to push those boundaries. (The shut-in method of parenting is not for me — no thanks.)
I loaded the twins and the Bob Revolution SE Duallie double jogging stroller into the car. We drove to the park entrance at approximately Franklin and Fuller in Hollywood.
It was an auspicious beginning when, thanks to just-ended street sweeping hours, I found a parking space with a driveway behind it so I’d have room to maneuver. I unloaded a few baby essentials; my water, keys, and phone; and the two babies, one by one.
If you’re keeping score, that’s 20 pounds for each baby, plus a 35-pound stroller… equals 75 pounds of cargo. Just getting the couple blocks up to the gate entrance was, shall we say, a better workout than usual!
Inside the park gates, we began the trail by veering off to the left, past the dog park, and up that dirt path to the paved road, where we began to wind up the hill.
It was close to 80 degrees, and no easy task. Right off the bat, though, my cheering section emerged: Three women, walking together, all raised their fists in the air simultaneously when they saw me.
“Where there’s a will, there’s a way!” one of them said.
“You got the coolest mom ever!” said one of the other women, the one with the French press tattoo, peering in to smile at the babes.
I felt so inspired by their support, I knew right away this was no trial, and we would make it up to the top. (In fact, I was so touched, I tried to take a photo of those three, but iPhone mysteriously failed me.)
As I pushed those babes up, up, up, I guess I was pretty conspicuous — maybe even a symbol. I got more warm-hearted smiles and cheers. It was like I was runnning a marathon, and these were my supporters along the route.
“You’re so impressive!”
“Wow. And Happy Mother’s Day!”
(I remember each of these in sequence, because I wrote them down. I was so moved by the spontaneous outpouring of support, mostly from women.)
On my iPhone, I was listening to the Snoop Lion song about kick-ass mamas:
Look how hard mama work just trying to get by…
Just keep on the hustle cuz we have to stay pon the grind/
Don’t give up on your dreams, cuz you know the sun will shine…
Does it sound like I’m dramatizing? Well, I am. But there are a lot of metaphors in pushing a heavy load to the top of a mountain.
By yourself. In particular when that load contains your children. Whom you also carried inside your body.
In about 45 minutes (it typically takes me 25), we had winded around to the east, and approached that famous bench up at the top — Hollywood sign and Griffith Observatory off to the left, the skyscrapers of Downtown L.A. front and center, and the airport and beach off to the right. It was a clear day, and the first time my babies were getting to see that particular million-dollar view.
We snapped a triumphant photo and headed down the same way we came. (Obviously the steep stairs that would complete the loop in the same direction are not suitable for a stroller.)
Here’s where I warn any Runyon Canyon jogging stroller pushers: Even the paved way down is steep — more than I ever realized when I hiked it solo — and 75 pounds is a lot to carry in front of you down a hill. So I wore the wrist safety strap and hung onto it fiercely.
Back at the bottom, I felt like a million bucks. It was just the inspiration — the physical challenge, the feeling of accomplishment, the show of support from strangers — I’d needed.
And then, with calves and glutes making their exertion known, it was time to lift that 35-pound stroller back in the car. No sweat, right mamas?