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"Hey Lonewacko, how do you maintain your peerless physique?"

Thanks for asking. Hiking, and lots of it. And, that means gaining elevation.

Thankfully, we/you Angelenos have it good. Just five minutes from Lonewacko's spiritual home is Griffith Park, with 50 miles of trails and gains ranging from 500' to 1200' of varying degrees of steepness.

Just a few miles further out lie the mighty San Gabriels, topped by Mt. Baldy (highest point in L.A. County) at 10,064'. Hikes in the San Gabriels have elevation gains up to 6000', and 2000' and 3000' gain hikes abound.

On a sunny weekend, dozens upon dozens of people - Angelenos and foreigners alike - take the tourist trail from the Griffith Observatory (as seen in Rebel Without A Cause) up to Mt. Hollywood, gaining 500', some while carrying babes in arms.

The highest point in the City of Los Angeles is Mount Lukens at 5076'.

Truly, while Los Angeles has Rampart and South-Central South L.A., and it is indeed mostly either basin or valley, it is also a wonderland of elevation gain.

On the other hand, the highest point in Philadelphia County is just 440'.

The highest points in the next county up are under 1000'.

I spoke with Steve at the EMS store near the University of Pennsylvania, and, while he generously provided much useful information, he also confirmed my worst fears: in order to gain some elevation around here, one must drive a great distance.

So, starting at around 2:30pm, Lonewacko started on his journey north to Bucks county, in an attempt to get to one of the highest points thereof (as linked above).

I'll just cut a long story short. Lonewacko drove not a great distance, but it sure took a long, long time. Certainly, taking what looked like it might be a semi-rural highway but was instead a stop-and-go suburban street was a real bad idea. Taking the turnpike (and paying the tolls) would probably have saved a great deal of time. Lonewacko had already driven through Philadelphia's charming ghetto the night before, so this time he decided on a freeway route out of Philadelphia. Where in Los Angeles we/you have freeways crossing hither and yon, there was no freeway going Lonewacko's way so he had to go left, go up, go over and finally get on the aforementioned suburban street. (Some might cavil that other than the 110, the 105, and the 10, there is no freeway cutting directly across South L.A., which is similar to the case described above).

So, while Lonewacko considers what he's seen so far of Philadelphia to be rather attractive, the chances to gain elevation here are quite abysmal.

Was I going somewhere with this? Couldn't I at least try to make this a little bit interesting to your average reader? I need an editor.

UPDATE: Just to make this painfully clear, one would need to stack the highest point in Philadelphia County on top of itself almost 23 times in order to be as tall as the highest point in Los Angeles County.

Twenty-three times.

BloggingAcrossAmerica · Mon, 10/13/2003 - 18:49 · Importance: 1