Sinners and Saints alike put down your Bibles! It’s time for a Sunday hike to the depraved depths of Hell. Satan, Lucifer, Fallen Angel, or, that funny-looking geezer with really bad sunburn and oversized horns glued to his head, call him what you will but the Devil himself is hosting a meet-and-greet coffee morning, and the L.A. Hiking Group is invited. Don’t miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet the Prince of Darkness and perhaps get in his good books before Judgment Day is thrust upon you. Along the way we may encounter blood-thirsty vampires, werewolves, flesh-eating zombies, horrendous-looking gargoyles, Donald Trump’s hairpiece, banshees, bats, demons, ravens, and a variety of hideous monsters.
Naughty girls should probably avoid this hike but all devil worshippers are welcome. If you enjoy the sensation of sizzling, red hot flames licking your private parts, then this is definitely the hike for you!
Hike Organizer: Saint Paul
Hike Location: Angeles National Forest, Hell
Distance: 8 miles
Elevation Gain: 157, 000 feet (loss)
Hike Classification: 6/10 (moderate)
Time: Eternity (sinners), 6 hours (saints)
INTRODUCTION: That wonderfully upbeat and cheerful, not to mention completely credible Book of Revelation has this to say about Hell: "But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death" (Revelation 21:8). The rich vein of optimism continues with some Scottish bloke finding a mysterious trap door in his basement: "And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit" (Revelation 9:2).
“The sirens are screaming and the fires are howling Way down in the valley tonight
There's evil in the air and there's thunder in the sky
And a killer's on the bloodshot streets"
sang Meat Loaf, founder of the Los Angeles Hiking Group, and frequent visitor to Hell, in 1977.
HIKE DESCRIPTION: Whoremongers and bottomless pits aside, join me on a brisk day hike to the bowels of the earth. We will set out from Chantry Flat and follow the Winter Creek Trail to Mount Zion. After a quick prayer meeting and bible study at Mount Zion we pick-up the little-known Beelzebub Trail straight to the Gates of Hell (don't forget to bring your $5 entrance fee, Adventure Passes are not accepted) and on to the Eternal Fires of Damnation. After a short break here we continue thru Purgatory and on to the Malebolge. A hapless medieval Italian hiker stumbled on this place after taking a wrong turn at Sturtevant Falls, recording in his hiking journal that: "Many and varied sinners suffer eternally in the multi-leveled Malebolge, an amphitheatre-shaped pit of despair: Those guilty of fraudulence and malice; the seducers and pimps, who are whipped by horned demons; the hypocrites, who struggle to walk in lead-lined cloaks; the barraters, who are ducked in boiling pitch by demons known as the Malebranche. The simonists, wedged into stone holes, and whose feet are licked by flames, kick and writhe desperately. The magicians, diviners, fortune tellers, and panderers are all here, as are the thieves. Some wallow in human excrement. Serpents writhe and wrap around men, sometimes fusing into each other. Bodies are torn apart. When you arrive, you will want to put your hands over your ears because of the lamentations of the sinners here, who are afflicted with scabs like leprosy, and lay sick on the ground, furiously scratching their skin off with their nails (Dante’s Inferno). Doesn't sound like a very nice place, and I certainly wouldn’t fancy rolling around in my own poo, so if you suspect you might be a fraudster, seducer, pimp, magician, fortune-teller, panderer, thief, or, Heaven forbid, a whoremonger, you might want to turn back before this point. Saints and bible bashers should be ok though. From here it’s only a short distance to Satan’s place, the House of Eternal Damnation. Here we can spend a relaxing couple of hours sipping tea and chatting with Satan and his family. However, in case you are wondering "like a Bat Out of Hell we'll be gone when the morning comes." Or something like that.
WHAT TO BRING: Temperatures will be a bit on the warm side as we enter the Gates of Hell so a fire-retardant hiking suit is recommended. The swirling clouds of sulphur could also present a problem so bring a gas mask along for good measure. Bring all the silver bullets you can muster, and as many crucifixes and strings of garlic you can hang around your neck without cutting off the oxygen supply to your brain. And you will need at least 3 liters of Holy Water, snacks to munch along the way, and lunch. Satan will provide tea and crumpets, and a nice variety of cakes at our destination point.