I was poking around in a canyon near Calabasas today on property known to be a major, ancient Chumash village site. On trail are bedrock mortar holes, but I wanted to see what could be found off trail. Mostly, I found poison oak. So much poison oak. And I was wearing shorts. In my defense I had not intended to take this exploratory walk. I was actually scouting a trail for an upcoming hike I’m leading, but I was overcome with “but what’s over there?” syndrome.
I was picking my way down through the bushes when I saw something large and silver at the base of a dry waterfall. I couldn’t tell what it was through the trees so I worked my way over to it and was surprised to find a whole car perched among the boulders. This canyon is quite steep and has a road that switchbacks up the cliff. Sports car and motorcycle drivers like to drive fast on that road while their nervous passengers enjoy the panoramic Santa Monica Mountain views and try not to envision their impending demise. Walking along the road I had already seen one discreet gravestone this day. Hopefully this crash wasn’t fatal, but it fell into such an inaccessible place that rescuers must have deemed it impossible to extract the car and just left it.
To put you out of your suspense, I did not find any bonus Native American village goodies, but it doesn’t mean they aren’t there. I just sort of ran out of steam and got hungry. I did see some other unexpected fun stuff though. An old hearth stove and a cool little birdhouse. Good ‘nuf.
On my climb back up to the road I determined that I was going to traverse over to the other side of the bluff to scout the access point to an outcropping of sandstone boulders I could see. It looked like there may be some interesting things to explore, including a giant split rock on the hillside. There was another guy there who was trying to do the same thing, but he was looking for some great photography shots. After doing a teensy bit of innocent trespassing to get to the sandstone hillside, we realized that there was going to be quite a bit of climbing and scrambling to get to where we wanted to go and neither of us felt like launching that whole adventure at that late hour. He was eager to move on to some other places he wanted to hit today and at 3pm lunch had already been calling my name for several hours. We bagged it and went our separate ways.
Sometimes its enough of an adventure just to have tried. There’s always tomorrow.