On this blog a great deal of attention has been paid of late to the goings on about re-working Colorado Boulevard. And that is certainly a worthy goal.
However, pedestrian advocacy is not the sole purpose of this blog. We also celebrate our own two feet.
So I took a walk.
Using as a guide the book Secret Stairs I took a walk through back stage Eagle Rock, the part that has always endeared this place to me, the part that I live in.
The book has, as a starting point, Townsend and Colorado, but he’s giving directions in case you’re coming from elsewhere. I started with the stairs at Figueroa and Eucalyptus Lane and headed up hill.
Back in the days when I had knees and ankles I used to run along the ridge paralleling Oak Grove. You can work your way over almost to Occidental before you have to cut down to Coringa to get all the way back to Townsend or, on an ambitious day, Eagle Rock Boulevard.
I didn’t really notice the houses back then; I was working out, no time to sight see.
This time I made up my mind to just amble along. I had a larger goal of getting to Trader Joe’s for a few things, but it was definitely more about the journey than the destination.
The houses along this route are each a treasure. Some grand, others not so much, but each of them unique, with real character.
But, you have to work for this reward; the stairs and the first block or so of Eucalyptus are steep. Now I remember why I didn’t notice the houses: when you run a slope like this the only thing you can think about is your next gasp. Older and wiser, I just slowed my pace and enjoyed the view.
As I made it down Nolden to Avoca headed for Yosemite I thought of the loss of the Eagle Rock Eclectic Home Tour. We got to see a lot of great houses on those tours, but there are so many more to be seen.
In any case I just enjoyed my own tour.
After shopping I took the scenic way back and found the stairs that run between Holbroke and Linda Rosa, had to take them.
I don’t know if this book is a big seller, but I doubt it: stairs are not for the faint of heart, literally. And while it was heartening that eighty-, ninety– percent of the people I met were downright neighborly, it was disappointing that there were so few of them out there.
And I can’t point the finger, either. I took another of these stairway walks up and down the hill connecting Pasadena with Eagle Rock. It’s great work out.
But I went with a friend recently arrived from New Mexico who was incredulous that I had lived within blocks of such a great walk, full of great houses, wonderful trees and had not know it was there. I didn’t have an answer.
Of course there is an answer. Mostly I drive through my neighborhood and few of the stairs are easily visibleev from a moving vehicle. Even when walking, you have to pay attention.
We all just drive through. It’s not a crime, we’re working.
For our ancestors the pace of walking was the natural the natural one; for us it’s fifty miles an hour. For us stopping to smell the roses means slamming on the brakes. It’s an effort, at least at first, to walk our neighborhoods.
That we are strangers in our own land is the odd thing.
I feel the fool for having left this resource unmined. I started this blog with Jane Tsong to learn by doing. I wanted to find my feet again. Turns out my feet were there waiting for me all the time.
The street use issues are important. Just as important is using our streets.