A hike to the beautiful Griffith Observatory

July 25, 2017

Posted: September 27, 2016, 6:53pm

Completely absorbed in the bling and the jubilant parties that the welcome week had to offer, a yet another day of adventure and fun came by. I was fortunate enough to join a couple of friends from India who planned to undertake a hike to the beautiful Griffith Observatory. It was, by all means, a pretty eventful hike. I was still getting accustomed to the transport system in Los Angeles and the entire thing with figuring out the smallest of the practices here was a lot of fun. We started from the Vermont Avenue, which I believe happens to be the most preferred route. After miles of walking in the scorching sun amid the chlorophyll-drenched residential areas, we reached the point where we just had to hike uphill. The twists and turns of the rather rough and stolid pathways reminded me of my previous hikes and treks with my undergrad friends. Yet, this one was different. A little before our destination, we saw the famous Mount Hollywood, the closest view we had ever had! And suddenly Snapchat and the mobile cameras sprung to life. We took a lot of photographs there and then decided to continue. The observatory welcomes its visitors with a lush green park and a rather distinguished appearance in comparison to any other astronomical places that I had visited before this. A couple of scenes in Transformerswere in fact shot here. The legend has it that around 3,015 acres of land surrounding the observatory was donated to the City of Los Angeles by Colonel Griffith J. Griffith. His objective was to make astronomy accessible to the public, something that has been fairly achieved so far.

We spent a couple of hours there just taking in the exhibits and the shows. The observatory is cram full with dozens of equipment and arrangements that demonstrate interesting astronomical phenomena. The ground floor has ‘Hall of the Sky and Hall of the Eye’, a pair of complementary displays that focuses on humans’ relationship to the stars; a Foucault pendulum that is designed to demonstrate the rotation of the earth; the really handsome, high-tech Samuel Oschin Planetarium and several other thought provoking stations. Downstairs, accessible via the campy displays of space-slanted jewellery in the Cosmic Connection Corridor, there are a number of other new and informative exhibits. Every station had answers to our curiosity about the astronomical happenings. At the Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon Theater, we saw a short film about the history and resurgence of the observatory. Pieces of the Sky documents apprised us with the impact made on Earth by meteorites and other falling debris. A little later we gathered around the roof where we got a chance to peek through the telescope to view the several craters present on the surface of the moon. And then, there was ‘The Big Picture’ (Virgo cluster of galaxies) which actually happens to be the largest astronomically correct picture ever made. It was fascinating to be surrounded by such intriguing scientific phenomena and the accomplishments of human beings in their quest to know more about the universe. Griffith Observatory definitely is one of the most amazing and recommended places to visit in LA, whether you are into mainstream Science or not. It’s always amusing to find out the extent to which we can reach the skies! Especially when you get to do that proudly overlooking Mount Hollywood!

And of course, we ended the day gorging at the Subway close to the campus. Peace.

Such is the view of the city from up here.

Published on July 25th, 2017

Last updated on January 20th, 2021