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Where Locals Pretend to Hike

L.A.’s many hills offer rugged trails where people can experience a temporary sense of seclusion high above the din of traffic. Then there’s Runyon Canyon—an unimpressive three-mile loop that somehow remains one of L.A.’s most popular hiking destinations, filled with every Angeleno archetype imaginable. Here’s what you can expect to find, as observed one April afternoon:

1. Scarce—and largely permit-only—parking. Try finding a space on Hollywood or Franklin instead of the side streets.
2. Guy hiking backward downhill; there’s no challenge he can’t make “challengier.”
3. Packs of muscular, wild, shirtless men and their tiny domestic dogs.
4. Woman incorporating weight-resistance training by carrying (and reading) her audition sides for a TV pilot.
5. Guy covered in sweat, running full speed uphill, as if to say, “Runyon, you are a metaphor for Hollywood, and I intend to conquer both of you.”
6. Brooding Mexican teenagers with chain wallets, killing time before the 1:30 p.m. showing of the latest Saw movie at the Arclight.
7. Young woman wearing ripped fishnets, smeared makeup, and a miniskirt, looking like she’s doing the walk of shame after a one-night stand with a mountain lion.
8. A small home with a fenced-in yard where a horse and goat are living together, possibly in sin.


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