Pret-a-Reporter

All the L.A. Hiking Stereotypes That Showed Up at Runyon Canyon Reopening

Courtesy of Tupaia123/Wikimedia/CC BY-SA 3.0
Runyon Canyon

Three selfie sticks spotted before 9 a.m.

On Tuesday morning at dawn, Runyon Canyon park officially reopened after a four month closure due to maintenance on a water pipeline. 

The grand reopening kicked off with little fanfare — there was no ribbon cutting, massive group selfie or press line at the trailhead that at times can look like a Hollywood athleisure red carpet. Although nearly every celebrity in town has been snapped here over the years (Taylor Swift, Channing Tatum, Amanda Seyfried, David Beckham), there were no boldfacers, just hikers enjoying the damp, foggy air, which was a welcome reprieve from the recent L.A. heat wave.

That's not to say, however, that there wasn't plenty to see. By 7:45 a.m., the trail was a people watcher's paradise, brimming with every L.A. hiker stereotype under the sun.

Spotted on the trail? The conspicuous selfie stick users; the sweaty shirtless men (one rocking a half-up, half down man bun); the gaggle of teenage girls walking arm-in-arm; the messenger bag man with venti Starbucks iced coffee in hand; the bro in a backwards trucker cap; and, of course, that not-so-rare bird, the insanely fit, overachieving young mother pushing a fully loaded stroller up the hill while her child dangles from her chest in a baby Bjorn. 

Aside from a man who asked a younger bro-type (identified as such thanks to a muscle tank, red baseball cap, gold chains and over-sized shades) to take a photo of himself holding his mid-size mutt with the Los Angeles skyline in the background, the people — a conservative estimate would be in the hundreds — pretty much kept to themselves.

"This actually isn't very crowded at all," noted an older couple, who identified themselves as local residents and regular Runyon hikers. The description was hard to believe, considering the commuter sidewalk vibe coming from joggers, bikers and fully made-up walkers staggered every 20 yards along the winding trail. "I mean, it's more people than used to come here years ago, but this is not a lot."

Karen Mendoza, founder of the Facebook group "We Hike Runyon," echoed the sentiment. "I've been here since about 7 and this is about an average amount of people, maybe less," she told Pret-a-Reporter while setting up a meeting station for her group's 9 a.m. hike.

In terms of Runyon Canyon style, looks ran the gamut. From flashy neon workout gear (Lululemon and Victoria's Secret Pink) to flannels tied around the waist, to a Louis Vuitton crossbody saddlebag (for real), there was no single hiking uniform that dominated the scene.

Almost as diverse as the people, however, were the dogs. There were labs, Huskies, pit bulls and mutts aplenty, as well as a surprising number of chihuahuas — including a blonde haired pup whose turquoise vest matched her owner's cap, top and shoes, natch.

Even a tiny teacup sized Chihuahua (seen below), perhaps the smallest dog this reporter has ever seen, kept pace with its jogging owner. (Many dog walkers ignored the park's advisory to keep their smaller animals on leashes, despite warning that Runyon's population of coyotes and rattlesnakes may have spiked during the closure.)

And yes, for those avid Poke trainers out there, Runyon Canyon is filled with Pokemon awaiting capture. But be warned: the aforementioned regulars have little patience for players that stop in the middle of the trail in pursuit of a wild Paras. Glares will not be held back.

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