How Dodgers fans built a gigantic community of L.A. hikers

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Early Sunday morning, hundreds of hikers and Dodgers fans gathered successful a parking batch successful Griffith Park. They were decked successful blue, huddling successful groups and dancing on to energetic euphony to shingle disconnected nan predawn chill. As much group arrived, nan oversea of jerseys and shot caps licked nan edges of nan lot.

They telephone themselves nan Dodgers Blue Hiking Crew. Among nan team’s ardent fanbase, they definitive their passion for nan crippled successful an particularly Angeleno way. Rather than tailgate aliases shape watch parties, these devotees ringing successful each Dodgers play by hiking a steep 6.5-mile loop done Griffith Park’s peaks.

The eight-year-old contented began pinch Carlos Bérruz. In 2011, nan 43-year-old Eagle Rock autochthonal climbed to nan apical of Mt. Hollywood and had an epiphany.

Hiking was caller to him then. Bérruz, a runner, had precocious injured his near broadside successful a upland motorcycle accident. Forced to slow down, nan man who believed “hiking is for group who can’t run” recovered himself huffing and puffing up a highest successful Griffith Park. What greeted him astatine nan apical — nan sun mounting complete nan city, pinch nan South Bay and Catalina Island successful nan region — planted a seed.

Throngs of hikers from nan Dodgers Blue Hiking Crew transverse a span connected nan measurement to Mt. Hollywood.

Throngs of hikers from nan Dodgers Blue Hiking Crew transverse a span connected nan measurement to Mt. Hollywood.

Hikers are reflected successful Dodger instrumentality Juan Peregrina's sunglasses.

Hikers are reflected successful Dodger instrumentality Juan Peregrina’s sunglasses during nan hike.

“As I stared retired into Los Angeles, I thought to myself, really galore group unrecorded successful this metropolis and really galore group person really seen this view?” Bérruz said. “I thought to myself, ‘I want to stock this.’”

At first, doing truthful meant organizing biweekly hikes pinch an friendly group of friends. Then news spread, nan hike became play and abruptly friends of friends were showing up. Bérruz met nan increasing request by creating a hiking nine called Everyone’s Hike successful 2015. Soon after, personification asked him to big a Dodgers-themed day hike. It was truthful celebrated that Bérruz began offering 1 each play for a mini group of friends. In 2017, he opened nan hike to nan nationalist and Dodgers Blue Hiking Crew was born.

In its first twelvemonth of existence, nan Dodgers hike drew 300 group to nan hills of Griffith Park. The adjacent March nan group’s size much than doubled, Bérruz said. He has since stopped counting, and has occasionally been forced by unforeseen circumstances (such arsenic nan pandemic) to skip nan yearly event. But connected nan years they do clasp nan gathering, he said that nan turnout continues to beryllium overwhelming.

This twelvemonth proved nary exception, pinch much than 300 fans successful bluish flooding Griffith Park’s still-green trails, guided by Juan Adams, a erstwhile hiking leader and local. Adams was subbing successful for Bérruz, who was incapable to make nan travel from his caller location successful Sonoma County this year.

Throngs of hikers including nan Dodgers Blue Hiking Crew make their measurement crossed a bridge.

Throngs of hikers including nan Dodgers Blue Hiking Crew make their measurement crossed a span connected nan measurement to Mt. Hollywood successful Griffith Park.

Vicente Morales of Los Angeles sports a wig and pom-poms connected a hike pinch nan Dodgers Blue Hiking Crew

Vicente Morales of Los Angeles, sports a wig and pom poms connected a hike pinch nan Dodgers Blue Hiking Crew.

Hortencia Barajas cheers connected hikers arsenic they make their measurement up to Mt. Hollywood successful Griffith Park.

Hortencia Barajas cheers connected hikers arsenic they make their measurement up to Mt. Hollywood successful Griffith Park.

The hikers were successful precocious spirits contempt nan early hour. As they started up Fern Canyon Trail, group chatted pinch those adjacent to them. When nan way looped backmost connected itself, fans stopped astatine its edge, shouting encouragement to nan hikers below. “Let’s spell Dodgers!”

Adams, a self-proclaimed slow hiker, hung adjacent nan back. As he walked, he checked successful pinch attendees who‘d stopped to gulp h2o and shed layers.

“How are you doing?” he asked a female wearing a Mookie Betts No. 50 jersey. “Take a breather, there’s nary rush,” he reminded a mother and her son.

At nan tail of nan winding crowd, a fistful of hikers swept nan crushed for litter to guarantee they near nary trace behind.

Over a decade aft organizing his first group hike, Bérruz said his champion memories travel from watching nan translator group spell done connected nan trails.

“When you spot personification struggling, they can’t spell immoderate further but they excavation heavy down inside, pushing their measurement to wherever our destination is — whether it’s a waterfall aliases a acme — and they get there, you tin spot their eyes change,” Bérruz said. “They opportunity convey you for not giving up connected them.”

Many of nan hike’s attendees commencement retired pinch small to nary experience, Bérruz said. They deterioration nan incorrect shoes aliases don’t battalion capable water. But galore instrumentality pinch it.

“Some group did their first hike pinch me, and now they’ve done Mount Whitney and I haven’t moreover done that,” Bérruz said. “It’s really inspiring. There’s a quote that I for illustration to use, it says ‘We emergence by lifting others.’ That’s what it does. It motivates maine too.”

A hiker wearing civilization Dodgers Blue Hiking Crew merch takes a break to peel a tangerine snack.

A hiker wearing civilization Dodgers Blue Hiking Crew merch takes a break to peel a tangerine snack.

A hiker climbed to get a bird's oculus position of Dodgers Blue Hiking Crew attendees.

A hiker climbed to get a bird’s oculus position of Dodgers Blue Hiking Crew attendees.

Attendees for illustration Yacxiri Leiva, who started hiking pinch Bérruz successful 2022 arsenic a New Year’s resolution, person made lifelong friends and formed their ain hiking crews.

“I joined because I wanted to do hikes that I didn’t consciousness comfortable doing connected my own,” Leiva said. “Now we person our ain group chats connected Instagram. We’ll get up astatine 3 a.m. and thrust retired to Death Valley aliases Mammoth.”

Whatever nan individual takeaways of attendees — whether it beryllium a workout aliases a consciousness of organization — nan streaks of bluish snaking done nan hills each March make 1 point clear: Everyone is location for nan Dodgers.

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Source latimes
latimes