“Hitch Hiking” #11! Our Rattlesnake Encounter In Beverly Hills – Hiking Shocks And Hitchcock’s “Psycho”!

Time For A Hike – And A Rattlesnake Encounter!

For this latest edition of “Hitch Hiking”, my wife Alex and I had a SHOCKING brush with danger while hiking just miles from our home in Beverly Hills California!

Franklin Canyon is tucked into the hills just north of Beverly Hills, and offers incredible views of West Los Angeles and Santa Monica – like this one!

Throughout the hike, I will add more information provided by the official website for the park, beginning with this description:

“Franklin Canyon Park rests on 605 acres near the center of Los Angeles between the San Fernando Valley and Beverly Hills. Within the park boundaries are chaparral, grasslands and oak woodlands, a three-acre lake, an ADA-accessible duck pond, expansive picnic grounds, and over five miles of hiking trails. The lake and pond serve as permanent and seasonal home for birds in the Pacific flyway.”

Alex and I drove the short distance to the entrance to the park, and set out for a hike…normally, we’d head north, but this time we walked south past the lake:

As you can see, there are many unique trees and foliage all along the path, which parallels the lake as you head south toward the entrance to the “ranch” hike:

It’s here that you can really get a workout, climbing up from the lake to a place high up in the canyon, which take you to spectacular views of the city…here’s a look at the path – which you can see here cutting across the hillside:

As you can see, the paths get steep and include some wooden planks that form steps across some of the steepest terrain – but it’s worth it as you head upward, because after a half hour, you rise closer to the southern edge of the park, and Los Angeles stretches out in front of you:

At The Top Of Franklin Canyon – Or Not!

Lots of selfies ensued as we celebrated making it to the top, and then we looked north and saw that we could go even higher:

But it was all worth it, because the higher you go, the more of Los Angeles opens up below – and you can see all the way to Pacific Ocean as well:

While we were standing at the top, we noticed a lot of Monarch Butterflies also enjoying the view – here are a couple of shots showing them almost close enough to touch:

Speaking Of “Close Enough To Touch” – Our Rattlesnake Encounter!

After this great hike up to the top of Franklin Canyon, we enjoyed the relaxed walk back down…until we saw four people standing on the trail staring into the hillside shrubs…we got closer and heard it: a very loud, angry hiss and a RATTLE!

There’s a reason it’s good to keep your ears open, because you can barely see the snake in this shot, but he’s there, hissing loudly, rattling his tail and arching up in a show of aggression…look closely at the middle of the picture:

Talk About A Shock!

After I put my heart back into my chest, we backpedaled quickly – then I took these pictures, and headed to safety, which was alongside a small marsh created by all of the recent rains in Southern California:

Here’s a bit more of the story of Franklin Canyon:

“The park has a history steeped in the forces that created the bustling metropolis of Los Angeles—oil and water. In 1914, William Mulholland and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (DWP) began construction of a reservoir in upper Franklin Canyon to distribute water newly brought from the Owens Valley. The family of oil baron Edward L. Doheny used the canyon as a summer retreat and a place to graze and water their cattle. The Doheny family built the Spanish style home in lower Franklin Canyon in 1935.”

As you can see from these pictures, the park is surrounded by houses, because we really are just minutes from Beverly Hills and our house – and we are only a few houses away from where Janet Leigh lived – yes, this hike goes right past the star of Hitchcock’s shocking masterpiece:

Psycho!

Hitchcock broken so many rules when he released this low budget shocker – a film that was so controversial at the time for its horrific violence – most never seen on the screen!

Here’s the simple plot: a Phoenix secretary embezzles forty thousand dollars from her employer’s client, goes on the run, and checks into a remote motel run by a young man named Norman Bates, who has a very domineering mother.

Here is the six minute movie trailer, in which the Director takes you on a tour of the set – and some shocking teases to come:

Here is some great trivia courtesy of IMDB – let’s begin with the shocking shower scene:

Director Hitchcock originally envisioned the shower sequence as completely silent, but Bernard Herrmann went ahead and scored it anyway, and upon hearing it, Hitchcock immediately changed his mind.

That movie score is one of the greatest of all time, and no better utilized than in that moment. It was also unheard of for a lead character to be killed off in a film’s first half hour.

Anthony Perkins is brilliant as the tour bled Norman Bates AKA “Mother”.

When the cast and crew began work on the first day, they had to raise their right hands and promise not to divulge one word of the story. Sir Alfred Hitchcock also withheld the ending part of the script from his cast until he needed to shoot it.

That moment the film still shocks today!

For those who have been following along, here are the some of my favorite hikes I have posted so far, as well as the classic Hitchcock thrillers I talk about:

Hitch Hiking #6: London! “Frenzy!”

I will be going to the Annual Bloggers Bash in June and plan to retrace a few of Hitchcock’s steps from his thriller “Frenzy” – you can see more of that film here:

https://johnrieber.com/2018/09/19/a-historical-urban-hike-through-london-my-hitch-hiking-series-6-alfred-hitchcocks-thames-river-swim-to-promote-the-provocative-frenzy/

I also shared an amazing hike I took at the Grand Canyon:

Hitch Hiking #9: The Grand Canyon! Hitchcock’s ONLY Best Picture “Rebecca!”

Yes, that was an all-time favorite experience, and led me to the ONLY Hitchcock film to win best picture – see more about both here:


https://johnrieber.com/2019/01/26/hitch-hiking-9-hiking-to-the-bottom-of-the-grand-canyon-plus-alfred-hitchcocks-only-best-picture-the-psychological-thriller-rebecca/

Let me know your most shocking encounter!



Categories: Action Films, Cult Movies, Exotic Travel, Film Fight Club, Great Films, Hollywood, Horror films, Los Angeles, Memoirs, Movies, nature, Pop Culture, Talent/Celebrities, Travel, Travel Adventures, Travel Memoir, Uncategorized

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29 replies

  1. Ah, I know the lure of yet a higher summit well. There are always better view to be had! I think I would have had a heart attack seeing a rattler, not sure I would have stuck around long enough for a snapshot. Looks like you have a lovely place to wander in your backyard, John!

  2. Absolutely spectacular photos John, although I could have done without to one of the snake!

  3. A lovely hike, great scenery and a fabulous view. What more can you ask for? That rattlesnake was a bit of a shocker though. We had them on the ranch in southern Alberta and as kids were warned to keep an eye out for them. Are they common in your part of the world?

    • Darlene, it’s surprisingly rugged in parts of Los Angeles, and we have wildcats as well as snakes, and even some mountain Lions and Bears come out into neighborhoods at times…there are plenty of signs to warn you, and they usually stay away from people, but not this time!

  4. Beautiful landscape and photography. Aside from LA in the background, you could be walking a trail in Greece.

  5. Hi John, what a great view you got from up there. Well worth the climb, I think (says I from the comfort of my chair!). As an Australian, I’m not sure about the rattlesnake – are they deadly? We’ve got a lot of snakes in Australia, some deadly, some harmless – it’s important to know the difference! Thanks for sharing your photos with us – magnificent! Visiting from Esme’s and pinned. 🙂

    • Cheryl, thanks for the comment, and yes, the rattlesnakes in Southern California are poisonous…not too far from us, in the desert golf courses, they have advice about retrieving your golf ball – “let it lie if you hear it rattle.”

  6. OMG, I love to hike but hate snakes. This post brought you to Hitchcock, but reminded me of Indiana Jones and, Why did it have to be snakes.”

  7. Stunning photographs, John, as always. And I learned something new — had really only thought of LA as a concrete jungle before. It’s quite nice to realize there’s greenery and some interesting and aerobic hiking to be had.

  8. What an awesome and inspiring hike, but you can keep the rattlesnake, I will pass on that one thanks John

  9. Good camouflage so it was even better you heard the warning rattle in time. Ages ago, when I was attending LACC, headed up to the nearby Griffith Park and walked a trail with a girlfriend between classes. Was winter and the temps were cool, so it was startling to find a snake splayed out in the middle of the path. We thought it dead, so still it what was. That is till I (idiot twenty-year-old) nudged it with my foot and its rattler dashed the thought quickly away. 😉

    • HA! Yes, people don’t realize that these canyons house lots of creatures…we also love to hike at Will Rogers state park, where there are mountain lions and bobcats that you can come across if you get too far out into the dense growth!

  10. What a beautiful hike John. Those views are just breathtaking!

  11. Looks like a great hike with stunning views. Glad you were able to back pedal fast enough. I’ve been stung by a scorpion. It was a tiny thing but my goodness it was painful!

  12. I like the look of that hike, John. I regularly see Adders on my walks with Ollie, but they are nowhere near as dangerous as a Rattlesnake. I once got a small brown scorpion caught in a flip-flop I was wearing, but I just kicked out and flung off the sandal, with the scorpion still clinging to it. 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

  13. Fun hike in Franklin Canyon. Thanks for letting us join you and Alex. Always a “shiver to the bone” when one hears the rattlesnake. I’m glad you heard it–makes me wonder about today’s trend for many to wear buds.

  14. Mine was probably a big black scorpion heading across my office floor…Luckily my daughter in law was around to guide him on his way outside apparently they are protected here…Great images especially some of the trees 🙂

  15. Glad you survived to tell the tale! I found a rattlesnake in the yard one time. Thought it was a bullsnake since they mimmic rattlers. As soon as I realized it was the real deal, I ran in the house for my camera, but it slid away. Good thing it wasn’t aggressive! I’m a bullsnake charmer, BTW. Lol! Loved the photos and will have to take that hike the next time I’m in town!

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