WALKING INTO THE SUNSET A BELOVED PARK RANGER RETIRES
It’s a rare treat to live out a childhood dream. Ranger Ernie Ybarra did just that. Serving the City Of Los Angeles’ Park Ranger Services for 27 years, Ranger Ernie is now retiring. Having spent most of those years at Griffith Park, Ernie was a public hike guide for the last 15 years, which is something he fought for because of high public demand. The hikes are free and allow early risers, by 7:30am on Sunday mornings, to enjoy a wonderful time in the wilderness by hiking for three to four hours. The day starts at the Ranger Station at Griffith Park where anywhere between 10 to 100 hikers will follow Ernie on a rewarding journey.
“There are many trails and much to see,” says Ranger Ernie. “Some are named Rattle Snake Trail, and Hogback Trail. Many trails go past the Observatory and continue onward. The entire 53-mile network of trails is open to the public.”
From his first hike he knew it was important to never leave anyone behind, so the hike goes as fast as the last hiker and everyone respects that.
“It is like being amongst friends,” Ernie says of his hikes. “Many people have become close friends; many come for every hike and one special moment for me was that I met my wife on one of these hikes. Now we both will be enjoying our retirement like true tree-huggers with a new home close to Yosemite National Park where we will wander often into the sunset,” a smiling Ranger Ernie explains.
So let’s wish Ranger Ernie happy trails. Stay safe, stay healthy and enjoy decades of retirement with your wife and family. You will be missed by many. Ernie’s last hike was a very emotional moment as he passed the baton to Ranger Tom who will take over the hike guide duties. You can find the schedule at the Griffith Park website or call the information desk.