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VIDEO: Runyon Canyon Was Perfect for Seeing Endeavour—Even With the Hike

Climbing to the park's lookout pays off with a spectacular fly-over of the 747 ferrying the retired space shuttle.

I'm a regular at Runyon Canyon. For almost 18 years I've been going there from my home in Hollywood. On most Saturday or Sunday mornings my dogs and I hike the trails and enjoy the panoramic views of Los Angeles. It's a special place for us.

So when the Patch team was planning to fan out to the best viewing spots to cover the fly-over of the 747 ferrying the Space Shuttle Endeavour, I volunteered for Runyon. I had a feeling it would be a great place to be.

The hike to the "Big Bench" lookout felt hotter than the mid-80-degrees forecast. I had my backpack loaded with my video equipment and laptop, so by the time I got to the top my Patch T-shirt was soaked with sweat.

But the hard climb was worth it. More than 100 people also made the trek to the Big Bench, and I could see many others across the canyon at the other viewpoints.

When I asked several people why they had made the hard climb they all said pretty much the same thing: "I'm here to see history."

(A few, it turned out, parked on Mulholland Drive and walked in. A much easier route.) 

Before the plane arrived, one woman confidently told her friend, "This is going to be the best place to see the Shuttle."

She was right. First we watched the plane fly in from the coast and over the L.A. Basin, headed toward its downtown loop—and not all that visible through the haze. Then it circled back and headed south, shrinking to a tiny dot that faded from view.

But within a few minutes we were treated to a spectacular sight. The massive plane and its fighter jet escorts came over the hills and banked right above us. People's exclamations of "Wow!" "Wooo!" "How awesome is that!" were the perfect narration to a moment that took my breath away.

The plane then swooped to the east for its fly-over at the Griffith Observatory and disappeared toward the horizon.

"That was great!" a man near me exclaimed.

Indeed it was.

I shot the video above. If you were there and would like to share your photos or videos, click on the Upload button.

Chris Johnston September 22, 2012 at 09:44 AM
Hey, thanks for having me lead off your video, Richard! Quite an unforgettable day, wasn't it!
Richard Core September 22, 2012 at 06:01 PM
Hi Chris! How could I not share the views of a guy proudly wearing his NASA T-shirt? You provided some great perspective on the moment. ... And what a moment it was. Seeing the jumbo jet and Endeavour doing that long, slow banking turn above us will be something I'll always remember. I feel lucky to have been in that place at that time.
Chris Johnston September 23, 2012 at 04:17 PM
Yeah, our li'l hill seemed to be the pivot point of that turn, didn't it! We few, we happy few...
Chris Johnston September 23, 2012 at 04:21 PM
Oh, and check out Andrew von Gregor's excellent video! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HlBX8w2BxQ0

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