Author: Isabella

The Hollywood Hills

The Hollywood Hills

How you can tell it’s fall in L.A., according to a guy from Vermont.

That’s what John Dehlin, a professional hiker and outdoor photographer, decided to do when he found himself in the Hollywood Hills on a recent autumn afternoon.

Dehlin, who has trekked more than 1,100 miles across 20 states and counting, didn’t realize he was in the midst of fall. He had come to see his friend, a local filmmaker, who had invited him to be part of a film crew being assembled for an upcoming documentary about hiking and camping in the hills. He had been in the hills for years but never had a formal hike.

Dehlin felt he was close to the hills, but couldn’t quite put a name to them. “You look up, and you see the trees,” he says. “But then it’s difficult to say what you feel is in the woods from that height. There’s a magic to it.” He had no idea that when he got there he would be staring at a rare, perfect autumn afternoon in what is generally one of the most overcast parts of the U.S.

“I could have been in Paris,” he says.

It’s an October day in the Hollywood Hills: foggy, overcast, with temperatures in the 50s and 60s, and gusts of wind to kick up. A group of men and women with backpacks and cameras head up a trail, going where it was once a forest. They are headed over Malibu Hill and down to Malibu Creek, following a dirt road called the “Backroads” marked with a blue sign but not much information about it, and the occasional pothole filled with puddles of water that seems to be the only indication it’s there.

A man in a hoodie and baseball cap walks across the dirt. He wears the same clothes every week, he says, for work.

“I want to start a business,” he says. “When people can buy homes and sell them on a profit, the economy should be better, not the opposite.” When he does not understand something, he says, “I look at it as an opportunity.”

At least that’s how he sees the hill itself. He sees a collection of houses that stretch as far as he can see. There’s the iconic Getty House in Malibu, along with

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