This is Mt. Washington, stair walk #5 in the book, “Secret Stairs,” by Charles Fleming. It’s a two-hour stair walk, the longest in the book, and one of the most difficult– a 4.5 on a scale of 1 to 5. However, it didn’t seem that difficult to me, maybe because I’m in better shape now than I was when I first started the stair walks. It’s a nice walk with a lot of trees and beautiful homes. We talked with a woman standing in her driveway and she pointed out that on the hill below her was a garden planted by the monks at the Self Realization Fellowship.
After climbing the first set of stairs, 102 steps over several landings, we reached Canyon Vista Drive. From here it’s a steep climb up. Maybe this is why Mr. Fleming gave it a 4.5 difficulty rating.
Turning right onto San Rafael, my friends and I came to Sanitorium Park Drive and went through the gates of the Self-Realization Fellowship. The old Mt. Washington Hotel was sold to the Self –Realization Fellowship and opened as a meditation and teaching center in 1925.
We saw some followers of Paramahansa Yogananda walking past us in their yellow robes. I asked a few of them if I can take their picture but they said “no, that it was their day off.”
My friend Lili told them she wanted to live here and one of the women said, ”That’s nice. You should go over there and meditate,” and she directed us to a meditation garden. There are some very nice areas for meditating and relaxing.
After we left the gardens, we met a man named John. He was using two walking sticks and has lived in the area for 30 years, so he was quite familiar with the route we wanted to take.
He led us on the remaining portion of the walk and was very friendly, amusing us with his stories. Lili commented that this has been the most fun of all the stair walks she has taken. As we approached another set of stairs, a dog began barking at us, probably telling us to not come any closer. However, he appeared to be harmless and we kept walking. This staircase took us by some homes that are only accessible by the stairs.
Our last set of stairs was a railroad-tie staircase which went through what seemed like private property, but isn’t. John told us he has never been down these stairs. I was glad we were able to introduce him to something new.
We ended our walk at the Southwest Museum of the American Indian and said good bye to John. We will check out the Museum another day, when we do stair walk #7.