Hiking the Jack Smith Trail

Natalie Seaman

Some things are just sooo Mount Washington, and the Jack and Denny Smith walk is one of those things.  For the fifteenth year in a row, on the first weekend in May, we dedicated a walk though the hill to the man who put the Mount Washington neighborhood on the map of LA.  Mount Washington might have “arrived” anyway, but fact that the man who called it “the poor man’s Bel Air” told stories about this magical hill in the LA Times a generation ago, did its share to help with PR. 

We hiked up the hill today following Grackle markers – Jack said he sighted this bird (the Grackle) in Mount Washington and it has become the symbol on the signage that marks the walk. The story of the Grackle is probably not true; it is not a California bird. But it was a stunning day to be out – we thought we could see the ocean – no kidding – it was so clear. We saw the snow on the mountains and the twin towers in Century City. We had the usual Lemonade at the top of the hill provided by the Tribbles, who get the lemons from neighbors and make refreshments for the walkers. They have been doing this for 10 years – Thank you!

Carol Jacques was also there making sure that there were treats for the dogs that do the walk.  We had some great conversations and shared Jack Smith and Mount Washington stories.  We viewed Jack’s former home and also ran into Kim Ohanneson, who writes the column “The View from Jack Smith’s Street” for the Highland Park Mount Washington Patch, in her front yard.   As one of the regulars said, he didn’t know why more people did not join the walk each year; it is simply a great walk.


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