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Our rambles described in the preceding chapter were confined mainly to the coast side of the city, but there is quite as much to attract and delight the motorist over toward the mountains. Nor are the mountains themselves closed to his explorations, for there are a number of trips which he may essay in these giant hills, ranging from an easy upward jog to really nerve-racking and thrilling ascents. Remember I am dealing with the motor car, which will account for no reference to famous mountain trips by trolley or mule-back trail, familiar to nearly every tourist in California. Of our mountain jaunts in the immediate vicinity of Los Angeles we may refer to two as being the most memorable and as representing the two extremes referred to.

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Lookout Mountain, one of the high hills of the Santa Monica Range near Hollywood, has a smooth, beautifully engineered road winding in graceful loops to the summit. It passes many wooded canyons and affords frequent glimpses of charming scenery as one ascends. Nowhere is the grade heavy-a high-gear proposition for a well-powered car-and there are no narrow, shelf-like places to disturb one's nerves. The ascent begins through lovely Laurel Canyon out of flower-bedecked Hollywood, and along the wayside are many attractive spots for picnic dinners. At one of these, fitted with tables and chairs, and sheltered by a huge sycamore, we paused for luncheon, with thanks to the enterprising real estate dealer who maintained the place for public use.

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From Lookout Point one has a far-reaching view over the wide plain surrounding the city and can get a good idea of the relative location of the suburban towns. The day we chose for the ascent was not the most favorable, the atmosphere being anything but clear. The orange groves of Pasadena and San Gabriel were half hidden in a soft blue haze and the seaside view was cut off by a low-hanging fog. To the north the Sierras gleamed dim and ghostly through the smoky air, and the green foothills lent a touch of subdued color to the foreground. At our feet lay the wide plain between the city and the sea, studded with hundreds of unsightly oil derricks, the one eye-sore of an otherwise enchanting landscape. Descending, we followed a separate road down the mountain the greater part of the distance, thus avoiding the necessity of passing other cars on the steeper grades near the summit.

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Near the close of our second tour we were seized with the desire to add the ascent of Mount Wilson to our experiences. We had by this time climbed dozens of mountain roads and passes and had begun to consider ourselves experienced motor mountaineers. We had often noted from Foothill Boulevard the brown line of road running in sharp angles up the side of the mountain and little anticipated that this ascent would be more nerve-racking than Arrowhead or St. Helena. We deferred the trip for a long time in hopes of a perfectly clear day, but perfectly clear days are rare in California during the summer time. Dust, fog, and other conditions combine to shroud the distance in a soft haze often pleasing to the artistic sense but fatal to far-away views. The Mount Wilson road had been opened to motor cars only a short time previous to our ascent. It had been in existence some time as a rough wagon trail, constructed to convey the materials and instruments for the Carnegie Observatory to the summit. A private company rebuilt the trail and opened a resort hotel on the summit. The entrance is through a tollgate just north of Pasadena and the distance from that point to the hotel is about nine and one-half miles. As the mountain is about six thousand feet in height, the grade averages ten per cent, though in places it is much steeper. The roadway is not wide enough for vehicles to pass, but there are several turn-outs to each mile and when cars meet between these, the one going up must back to the nearest passing-place.

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Entering through the tollgate, we ran down a sharp declivity to a high bridge across the canyon, where the ascent begins; and from that point to the summit there is scarcely a downward dip. A narrow shelf, with barely a foot or two between your wheels and the precipice-pitching upward at a twenty per cent angle-greets you at the very outstart. The road runs along the edge of the bald, bare cliffs which fling their jagged points hundreds of feet above and fall sheer-not infrequently-a thousand or more beneath. Every few rods it makes a sharp turn, so sharp that sometimes we had to back at these corners to keep the outer wheels from the edge-a difficulty greatly increased by our long wheel base. Our motor, which usually runs quite cool, began to boil and kept it up steadily until we stopped at the summit. A water supply is found every two or three miles, without which few cars could make the ascent. It will be low-gear work generally, even for powerful motors-not so much on account of the grade as the frequent "hairpin" turns. And we were more impressed that no one should undertake the climb without first being assured that his car is in first-class condition throughout-particularly the tires, since a change would be a pretty difficult job on many of the grades.

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As we continued our ascent we became dimly aware of the increasing grandeur of the view far below us. I say dimly aware, for the driver could cast only furtive glances from the road, and the nervous people in the rear seat refused even to look downward from our dizzy perch. So we stopped momentarily at a few of the wider turns, but we found-as on Lookout-the blue haze circumscribed the distant view. Just beneath us, a half mile or more downward, stretched a tangle of wooded canyons and beyond these the low green foothills. Pasadena and the surrounding orange-grove country lay below us like a map, the bronze-green trees glistening in the subdued sunlight. Los Angeles seemed a silver-gray blur, and the seacoast and Catalina, which can be seen on the rare clear days, were entirely obliterated. Not all of the road was such as I have described. About midway for a mile or two it wound through forest trees and shrubbery, the slopes glowing with the purple bloom of the mountain lilac.

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