A few weeks ago, on one of our night hikes in the Verdugos we stumbled upon a small cemetery and series of hand-constructed damns in a canyon near Jascha's place. The canyon closed off at one point and we ended up scrambling up a crumbly dirt bank for several hundred feet before bushwhacking back to the dirt road. At one point we passed a trail heading off left back down the canyon, so we knew that there was likely a better way to go. When we got home (after washing off the poison oak) we went online and found out that the cemetery belonged to the Brand family. On this same blog we pulled up information on the abandoned zoo at Griffith Park and it immediately went on our "must see" list.
We woke up Saturday morning feeling unmotivated to follow through on our usual weekend activities of climbing or embarking on some death march, so we decided to use the opportunity to do some local exploration. First we headed over to the old zoo, which we had read had been fenced off after the 2007 Griffith Park fire. We arrived to find a surreal scene, with families picnicking on green lawns adjacent to easily accessible cages. We crawled inside one of the largest ones through an opening in the fence. The cage was a maze of steep staircases, narrow passageways, and small rooms. Graffiti and poster artists had decorated the walls and the floors were covered with broken beer bottles, but amazingly, it didn't smell like an outhouse. We exited the cage through the roof, walked around a bit more, then headed down to Cafe Tropical for pumpkin pie and guava cheese puff pastry. Outside the cafe the Silverlake Obama volunteers were hard at work reminding folks to vote and offering rides to the poll. Thanks guys.
Next we returned to Glendale for an encore visit to Brand Canyon. Before long we were back at the Brand family cemetery, which is dominated by a large pyramid. Graves were as recent as the late 80s and per the city of Glendale website, include the family dogs. Photographs of the individual graves are cataloged here. We continued up the canyon, amazed at the amount of work that went into building the series of rock dams, some as high as 25 feet. When we reached the point where we had previously gone up the sketchy dirt chute we instead went left up the canyon. We encountered a series of class 4ish water polished solid granite falls (now dry) interspersed with sandy stream bed. The canyon became more brushy as we continued up and we turned back after Jascha ended up with a face full of poison oak.
That night we went to see the Swedish film, Let the Right One in (Lat den ratte komma in), a satisfyingly dark tale about a pale, spindly misfit boy that falls for his undead neighbor. The frigid Blackeberg, a suburb of Stockholm, is the perfect backdrop for this bleak story.