Dan Koeppel credits The Great Los Angeles Walk as one of his inspirations for starting the Big Parade LA, now in its sixth year, and I was happy to finally be free this year to walk/climb/hike part of the two-day event.
My hat's off to Dan, he's put together a fun event and done a great job organizing it into a bunch of mini-bites -- so you can truly do as much or as little as you want. Some are more strenuous than others; most of them boast guest speakers giving a bit of a history tour along the way. I joined in last Saturday afternoon to experience the "signature" part of the Big Parade LA: The staircases of Echo Park. It was quite a workout. But also quite a blast. Here's how Dan describes it:
SUPER STAIRWAYS/MAIN LOOP OF THE DAY (aka Loop Four) ECHO PARK, 5 miles, 19 stairways.
The classic, Big Parade loop. Start/End: Chango Coffee Shop, 1559 Echo Park Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90026 (at Morton.) Stairs, old neighborhoods, beautiful houses, and more stairs. Echo Park is the heart of stairway-rich Los Angeles, and the heart of the Big Parade.
Thanks to Dan for also letting me speak a bit about the Great LA Walk. (More to come on this year's route!) Here are more pics from Saturday:
Strenuous! But fun.
Although yes, by midday, the Big Parade LA participants do smell a bit ripe.
Quite a few beautiful homes and cottages tucked away on the staircases, which are technically considered "streets" by the city. Dan notes that these homes were once valued less, because they were harder to reach. But the popularity of events like the Big Parade LA and all of the stories and books written about L.A.'s staircases have actually helped increase these homes' value.
Heading down Dan's favorite staircase in L.A.
More of that staircase.
Some fascinating homes up here.
A relic of the WPA era: "Park Boundary."
One of the more narrow staircases, plus art!
Yep, a lot of stairs.
Deadly street incline!
And still more steps!
Heading back to the starting point for this leg, near Chango coffee shop in Echo Park
Spray painting in Echo Park
L.A.'s real official food: Bacon-wrapped hot dogs!
The House of Spirits
One of many murals along the walk.