First of all: Allison and Shannon need to get walkie-talkies. When planning a hike, we generally text about it the night before and try to narrow down where and when we are meeting as much as possible. However, pretty much all of these places are ones we’ve never been to before, and many of the trailheads don’t have cell service, so we end up hoping we manage to find each other. Today we each arrived to Malibu almost fifteen minutes early and started our hike fifteen minutes late because Allison arrived at the front parking lot right after Shannon figured out there was a back parking lot and drove back there, and we couldn’t find each other because we didn’t have any bars. Solution? Walkie-talkies. Allison’s birthday is in August, so someone get on that.
Since Allison had to be in Woodland Hills this morning anyway, we decided to try a new trail out in Malibu that Shannon had read about in an article: Solstice Canyon. It was a relatively easy hike; the hikespeak page said it could be done in flip-flops, which is maybe technically true but would be kind of a dumb thing to do, so don’t. On the way up the trail we passed the stone remains of a burned-down cabin; at first we thought this was the end of the trail (which would have made it a very short trail indeed) but luckily we figured out there was more to go, and also luckily Allison asked the nice lady with an adorable dog which way the waterfall was, and she knew. Allison is good at asking strangers for directions like that. Shannon doesn’t like talking to strangers. Shannon barely likes talking to Allison sometimes. We kept heading up the trail and passed a group who had caught a lizard, for some reason. The path was wide and fairly smooth all the way up, but very dusty in places, because if you haven’t heard California is in a drought. Another reason flip-flops would be a stupid choice. The trail has pleasant scenery all the way up but nothing special until you reach your destination: the remains of a burned-down mansion (seeing a theme here? only you can prevent forest fires, kids) next to a waterfall. The foundation of the house is still there, plus some walls and fireplaces. The fire was in 1982 so plenty of plant life has grown over it. We felt like Indiana Jones, only there were too many other people there (the trail wasn’t exactly crowded, but the parking lot was full and there were quite a few other hikers for a late Friday morning).
I shall discover everything about this unknown land, never before seen by human eyes WHO THE FUCK IS TALKING
We also found some graffiti someone apparently left just for us (L is Allison’s last initial, and L is Shannon’s middle initial that she has to use often because she has another friend named Shannon and it was her friend’s name first).
We really did find it this way. Not only would we not graffiti, our handwriting is way better.
The ruins are awesome on their own and would be an amazing place for a photo shoot tbh, but the crown jewel of this hike is the waterfall. Someone knew what they were doing when they built a house right next to it…of course, that someone also chose to build a house right in prime wildfire zone, so that may be a wash.
I’m the queen of the motherfucking forest.
It really was like a grown-up playground. There are a couple of signs warning you not to leave the official trail, but one of my favorite things about hiking in Los Angeles is that really, it’s on you not to die. There are no fences or anything stopping you from exploring, and we were far from the only people climbing all over these rocks like they were a great big jungle gym.
The majestic waterfall that we think might actually just be from someone’s garden hose that got left on.
As you might be able to guess (see above re: drought) the waterfall wasn’t exactly roaring. It was more of a watertrickle. But it was relaxing and pretty and made for a nice bright green oasis in what’s become a pretty brown state. Plus most of the rocks were pretty dry, which made them even better for climbing. We don’t know if you know this, but Shannon loves to climb stuff. Heights are not her favorite. But she will climb stuff all damn day if you will let her, and this was the perfect place, especially because you can climb not just up but down, and that made this probably even better than Eagle Rock, which we hiked a few months ago.
This is probably the closest thing to meditation Shannon will ever experience.
Allison climbed too, when she wasn’t busy eating chips. Shannon was not jealous at all. Shannon didn’t even want any chips. Shannon bears no ill will towards Allison whatsoever.
I WASN’T MOCKING YOUR FACE ALLI, I COULDN’T EVEN SEE YOUR FACE
We probably could have happily spent more time climbing and exploring the ruins and rocks had there not been quite so many people, and had we not been getting hungry. We headed back down the trail, and this time we turned across a bridge that took us to see the remains of that first burned house we mentioned earlier. This one had a fence around it to keep you from getting too close, which was a little strange because it seemed both way less dangerous and way less fascinating than the ruins of the mansion. Also the fence would have been super-easy to get past but we’re not those assholes. Instead we looked at flowers and Allison informed Shannon that some of them are edible but do not taste good so we left that alone.
These are not the edible flowers DON’T EAT THESE FLOWERS
And before long we were back to the cars! Allison wanted to eat lunch at Coco’s because Shannon has never been to one, but apparently the one by the 101 exit to Malibu is closed so we had delicious Mediterranean food instead. Shannon bought the spinach pies, Allison sprung for baklava, and there was hummus for errybody.
Wildlife? Well there were those people that caught a lizard, and not a terribly small one. We saw a couple more, and heard either a big lizard or a snake in the brush right next to us. A butterfly accompanied us on a section of our hike back. He was kind of stalking us for a while but then he got ahead of us so it looked like WE were stalking HIM, like we don’t know THAT trick.
Conclusion? A+ hike! It was worth the drive out to Malibu (especially since Allison was nearer than usual). The hike wasn’t challenging but Allison’s getting over being sick and Shannon thought she might be coming down with something yesterday so we weren’t really up for a trek up Mount Doom. It’s more of a destination hike than anything else, better for exploring than for views. The ruins and waterfall were a bit crowded since that’s the whole point of the hike; don’t know if that could have been avoided by going on a different day or at a different time.
We’ll be back next week! Wednesday we’re hoping to get all the way out west to go to the Grotto Trail.
Until next time,