Monday night, an anonymous group of artist built a small Japanese inspired teahouse in Griffith Park. It was made with reclaimed wood from the 2007 Griffith Park fire. You can read more details here. The entire story is very interesting. The project was clearly well planned and executed. I saw pictures of the teahouse on LAist and read that it was most likely going to get demolished because it was not permitted. If beautiful, guerrilla architecture was not enough reason to go, time was now of the essence! I grabbed the girls and off we went for a hike!
Usually I strategically plan these things out to account for most beautiful time of the day to photograph coupled with toddler peak hiking time. However, I was afraid to wait one more day. We started our hike at noon! It was blazing hot! I didn’t think it was going to be THAT far. I knew with a 3 and 7 year old it would take longer but not that long. Distance is not so much the problem as is two curious minds who want to explore every little pebble and bush! We’ve done big hikes in Big Sur. But yesterday heat was a huge factor. It took us 2 hours to get there and I have to say it was well worth it. Thank the Lord God for kind hikers who offered directions without even being asked. It’s like they saw me with the two girls and thought “Oh we know where that nut is going! She needs help!”.
The hike was gorgeous! To the southwest is the Observatory with downtown Los Angles in the background. To the northeast is the Hollywood Sign and in all directions are the Los Angeles neighborhoods. I highly recommend this hike to anyone visiting Los Angeles for the first time. Wear comfortable shoes when you visit the Observatory. You can kill two birds with one stone because the head of the trail is right off the parking lot.
We hiked across a bridge and zig zagged up a hill and made decisions at forks in the trail. I had to bribe the girls to keep moving. It really was hot! Fortunately Dante’s View, an oasis in the “armpit” of the mountain, came up just when we really needed it. The trees, water and wind gave us a much needed break from the sun! We ate snacks and rested for 20 minutes. The girls got their second wind and we got back on the trail. Just as we rounded the mountain we saw the teahouse in the distance! Eureka! They ran the rest of the way there!
The house is quite beautiful! I know something about woodworking. I’m definitely not an expert but I know when an expert’s hand was in play! The details are divine and it smelled of high quality oil stains! This sign is to the right of the door.
Inside are wooden pegs with wooden tags where you write your wish or prayer for the city and then you ring the bell. A jar with dried tea leaves was left for visitors to help themselves. The attention to detail tell you this was done with thought and expertise. The tags have a logo wood burned into them. The sign has the same kind of high end craftsmanship. The house was built on a pre-existing concrete slab. Other hikers who were there said the house was a much welcomed change to the dangerous slab. Many of them used the slab to stretch but they said it was not ideal. Rebar and other pipes were poking out. Now you can sit in the house or out of the deck in front of it.
Something about the house brings out the best in people. It’s tiny and yet everyone is conscientious of each other’s space and allowing each other to fully enjoy it. One person said “we all look like tourists” as every single one of us snapped away with our phones. And another replied “but isn’t it nice that we get to be tourists in our own city?”. Everyone hopes the city doesn’t take it down. I think it would be cruel. I think it would be a slap in the face by the Mayor to all the artist and craftsmen of Los Angeles, of which there are many thanks to the film industry. The teahouse inspires and it’s brought something beautiful to an otherwise abandoned area. There’s a spirituality to the place that I doubt was there before.
MAYOR GARCETTI, PLEASE DONT TAKE THIS HOUSE DOWN!
You can visit this link to sign the petition to keep the Teahouse standing!
The entire hike up and back took us a little over 3 hours. Yes! My 3 year old did a 3 hour hike and I didn’t carry her once. She was unbelievable! We’ve done some steep trails in Big Sur but none this hot or this long. She is a champ!
Both girls were phenomenal. P was not only a stellar hiker but she also gave her sister pep talks and enthusiasm when she needed it…..when I needed it! I packed lots of snacks and water which if not nutritionally needed definitely helped to motivate. Dante’s View was a beautiful spot to eat and take the city in. I feel very fortunate to have children who are up for adventures! It’s such blessing they are capable to do all we do and I never take it for granted. The entire way up I was thanking God for allowing us to take all of it in. It was a very special day!