THE "TRAIL". 3 MILES OF THIS.
THE “TRAIL”. 3 MILES OF THIS.

Well, today I did the hardest local hike I’ve ever done.  Blistering Boulders Batman! At Everytrail.com I found an 8.2 mile route up Zuma Canyon returning via Zuma Ridge Trail.  Sounds great, right?  A nice challenging hike.  A great way to start the weekend.  The hike description was clear that it was to be a “strenuous” hike with lots of “bouldering”.  My imagination was totally unprepared for it to be a trail–less navigation of 3 miles of uninterrupted bouldering right up the center of the nearly dry creek bed.

Zuma Canyon was absolutely beautiful.  It was jungle-like and humid.  There were beautiful marshy pools of water dotting the creek bed.

Marshy pools of water in Zuma Creek
Marshy pools of water in Zuma Creek
Marshy pools in Zuma Creek
Marshy pools in Zuma Creek

But in order to see all of this splendor I had to literally boulder up the creek bed for 3 miles all the while doing my utmost to avoid the oceans of poison oak. I was already sore from a pretty tough workout I did yesterday and wasn’t physically or mentally prepared to do anything but hard walking today.  Climbing all day was not what I set out to do today.  What kept me sane was the audiobook I’m listening to.  It is the biography of John Muir entitled Son of the Wilderness.  Listening to descriptions of his rock-like muscles and ecstatic scaling of the highest peaks in the Sierra Nevada was both humbling and inspiring as I tracked and backtracked, picking my way around and over humble Malibu boulders.

I finally climbed out of the cursed creek bed torture chamber and started a long hot climb up the Edison fire road to Zuma Ridge.  Once I attained the ridge, however, it was a cake walk down the Zuma Ridge Trail with sweeping views of the Malibu shores and the backyards of the rich (I saw at least one backyard golf course).

From Zuma Ridge Trail
From Zuma Ridge Trail

The whole hike was 8.5 miles and it took me about 5 1/2 hours to complete. I had one friend who backed out of this hike yesterday and all day I was glad she did.  I would have felt terrible dragging her through this unexpectedly difficult ordeal.  I definitely won’t be guiding anyone else on this hike — unless they beg me, I can be convinced.

That said, now that its over, I’m glad I did it. I feel great. I love that exhausted, post-hard-hike feeling. It was a fun thing to have completed.  I’m glad I’m not doing it right now, but I’m glad I did it.  I know that any hiker reading this understands that sentiment.

I spent the rest of the afternoon at Zuma Beach with my family.  Ain’t life grand?

Zuma Beach in Malibu
Zuma Beach in Malibu

Other fun pics from today:

Really cool conglomerate rock.
Really cool conglomerate rock.
Although I'd been in a creek bed all morning this  was the water source.
Although I’d been in a creek bed all morning this was the water source.
No wilderness area was ever more secure than Zuma Ridge Trail.
No wilderness area was ever more secure than Zuma Ridge Trail.

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