FORGET TRAFFIC jams and parking hassles. In the charming guide, "Stairway Walks in Los Angeles," authors Adah Bakalinsky and Larry Gordon share their enthusiasm for walking by exploring the heart of Los Angeles: its neighborhoods.
The book ($8.95) reports on 18 L.A. walks, each about two to 2 1/2 hours--covering landscape from the ocean to downtown and beyond--and includes illustrations, maps and a bit of the history of the community of the trek. The rating system is based on pieces of fruit needed to replace energy: a two-orange walk is a moderate walk; longer, tougher trips, up to four oranges and, sometimes, cantaloupes, tangelos, raisins and walnuts.
The downtown walk descends the new Bunker Hill steps, with a miniature river of bubbling water gushing down its center and shops and cafes on the terrace. The tour continues through the lobby and ground floor of the Biltmore, perhaps a stop for a spot of tea? In Franklin Heights, there's the nine-acre estate, Villa Giuseppi, to explore. And for those whose idea of exercise is a climb into a favorite armchair, the book makes for delightful reading for the voyeur hiker.
"Stairway Walks in Los Angeles," is available through Wilderness Press, (800) 443-7227; and at major book and sporting-goods stores throughout the area.