As I mentioned in my last post, I managed to get myself into Los Angeles over the weekend for a walking tour of the Echo Park neighborhood. I highly recommend that locals and visitors alike check these walks out. It’s a great way to see a part of the city that you might otherwise totally miss.
What happened to be extra special about the walk that I went on is that it was led by Dan Koeppel, who, in addition to being the guy behind the Big Parade and a general font of information on all things to do with being a pedestrian in Los Angeles, is the author of THE BOOK on bananas. Banana: The Fate of the Fruit that Changed the World is the story of how bananas are a monoculture, why they came to be that way, and how the crop is currently threatened by blight. It is a fascinating read, and Dan is a super-friendly and interesting guy to talk to, and I basically think that everyone I know should buy the book, read it, and then find Dan for a walk. It is an enriching experience. Especially if you are reading this blog because you care about farms and biology and such (and are not, say, in it just for the killer pics), this book is for you.
Another really wonderful aspect of these walks is that they are not monetized in any way. Dan just loves the stairs, the meeting new people, and the community. And although he documents the walks extensively on social media, it seems to be for the purpose of actually helping people join him rather than shameless self-promotion.
Despite the walk being advertised for “beginners” it was plenty enough workout for me. Because I guess if you aren’t used to climbing a zillion stairs every day, it’s not the sort of thing you can just easily jump into? Those of you who may have been discouraged from attempting it by my last post about injuring my low back, I suspect that I managed most of that damage at work. You almost assuredly probably will not hurt your back on one of Dan’s walks.That is to say, everyone else seemed to be just fine.
Here’s how to learn more:
- The Big Parade LA Facebook Page – check the docs section at the top for events other than the big parade
- Echo Park Historical Society
- Stair Street Advocates – more cool people leading walks
- This woman has a whole blog (!) about these sorts of walks