I know some time ago I mentioned that I could probably do a blog just about hiking and I guess I really wasn't kidding. So, because a good half of my blog focuses on hiking, I thought I'd add the word "hiking" to the subtitle. Anyway, my husband had the last week off work and I got absolutely no work done, but, naturally, we did do quite a bit of hiking . On Monday, we went to Topanga State Park and hiked the Santa Ynez Canyon Trail. The trail starts out high up in the hills and gradually winds down into a heavily wooded canyon. Taking a left at a fork in the trail, the path leads to a waterfall. We strayed off the beaten path a bit and followed the stream, boulder-hopping to reach the waterfall. At one point in the creek, the boulders are just high enough that we needed to use some knotted ropes that had been left there to help pull ourselves up to higher ground. The waterfall was no more than a trickle just like every waterfall we've encountered this summer, but unlike the many creek-beds we've seen, this one did run with water.
Taking the same trail, we made our way back to the car. As we came over the crest of the last hill, the land opened out into dry, grassy meadows. We spotted a lone deer grazing not too far away. I tried to get as close to it as I could without alarming it, shooting pictures along the way. When that deer disappeared from view, we continued on our way, but stopped again shortly when we heard something sizeable crashing through the brush. Another deer came into view! And another and another - a herd of eight deer in all wandered out from the cover of forest into the open meadow. We shot many photos, but the deer were so well camouflaged that they are difficult to see in the photos. When they finally slipped out of view, we made our way through a live oak grove back to the car. We'd been so tired from the long hike, but after we paused and watched the deer for a while we felt energized all over again. It's so exhilarating to see wildlife in their natural habitat.
On Friday we went hiking again, this time we started out at the parking lot for Piuma Ridge. There seemed to be endless little side-trails that led to who-knows-where. We made our way north, entered into a smallish live oak grove, and got a glimpse of a water reclamation facility. After nosing around for a bit, we decided to try to find our way through Tapia Park and into Malibu Creek State Park, intending our final destination to be the Mott Adobe Ruins. We took a trail that seemed logical, but turned into a dead-end at a locked gate. So we had to double back, find a trail not marked on the map and carefully pick our way across a narrow strip of the creek. We had made it into Tapia and ended up hiking right next to a long road/parking lot which then ended abruptly at a camp. According to the map we had, the camp appeared to have been plunked down right in the middle of the road we wanted to take and of course it was gated, so the desirable road was completely off-limits. We were so lost we even asked for help. Unfortunately the person we asked wasn't all that familiar with the trails, so we took a guess at which trail to take. And we guessed right! We took a segment of the Backbone Trail that traversed up the side and over a mountain right into Malibu Creek State Park. Not too far into the park, we spotted six deer grazing on a patch of green grass. We were as close as we'd ever been to the creatures and shot a lot of photos. The buck seemed to become a bit unnerved by us and bounded gracefully away across the road. It was as if he was telling his herd that he wasn't terrified, but thought it best to move on. The rest of them seemed unperturbed, but gradually followed him. We did finally come across the Mott Ruins. There wasn't much left of them, save the chimney. It seemed a bit of a disappointment after spending much of the day being lost in trying to find it. On the way back we crossed a broad meadow were a whopping fifteen deer were grazing. This sight alone made the trek well worth while!
So then yesterday we went back to Topanga State Park and hiked Temescal Canyon Trail which is on the southern side of the park in Malibu. It was a really beautiful location, but it was just full of people - probably the most we've ever encountered during a hike. With all the people there was no chance of encountering wildlife. The trail leads out to a meager California waterfall and then loops back to the parking lot switch-backing along a mountainside. At the top of the mountain, there's a path that traverses the ridge and ends at Skull Rock. Usually look-out points in these various parks offer sweeping views of the ocean or more mountains, but this trail featured views of the city. Very pretty, but a bit too busy.
On a more artistic note, last night we watched the anime movie Tekkonkinkrete. Even if you're not really into anime it's definitely worth a watch for the backgrounds alone. They are just stunning. I would never in a million years have the patience to paint such amazingly detailed backgrounds. Wish we'd caught it on the big screen...