Point Mugu State Park

February 13-15, 2010
Todd and I headed to the beach this weekend to celebrate Valentine's Day and his
birthday.  We camped for two nights at Point Mugu State Park which is at the
westernmost end of the Santa Monica Mountains.  The campground there is very nice
and situated just a short distance from the ocean up a shady canyon.  Our campsite was
underneath a huge California sycamore tree, which made us quite happy.  We have a
special affinity for these trees since we got married underneath one :)
Part 2 - the top of Mugu Peak and beyond
The weather was incredible...  70's during the day, 50's at night, sunshine and cool
breezes.  We took left our house about 12:30 and arrived a couple of hours later.  First
we set up camp and then we walked down to the beach to experience a peaceful sunset.

I love listening to the ocean.  The sound of the strong waves breaking on the rocky
shore, and then the clacking sound as the smaller rocks were pulled back out to sea
mesmerized us.  The hues of the sky were pastel then neon orange then turned pastel
again as the sun dipped below the water.  We sat there for a good hour or two just
absorbing it all.  I thought about Jeremy and how he loved the ocean and I closed my
eyes and sent a prayer to him, his family, and his friends.
New spring sycamore leaf
On Sunday we drove a short ways north to the La Jolla Canyon trailhead.  We hiked up
to the pretty unnamed waterfall in the canyon, which despite recent rain is still just a
trickle.  Then Todd turned back while I continued up the canyon.  I was thrilled to see
giant coreopsis in bloom.  These flowers only grow on the Channel Islands and a small
portion of the coast.  I also saw many other flowers in bloom including bush sunflowers,
morning glories, ceanothus, paintbrush, shooting stars, California poppies, sweetpea, and
wishbone bush.
At the top of the canyon I took the La Jolla Loop Trail west which connected shortly to
the Mugu Peak Trail.  Here the views of the ocean were spectacular as I climbed up the
high ridges to Mugu Peak.  It was a warm sunny day but quite pleasant because of the
cool sea breezes.  I ate lunch at the top of the peak and then made my way down the
very very steep Peak Direct Trail.  Then I kept on going down via the also exceedingly
steep Chumash Trail.   Both of these trails were so steep that I was cursing them by
the time I got down.  Thank goodness I brought my trekking poles - even with them my
knees were shaking having descended 1,250 in less than a mile.  Those aren't trails, I
told Todd later on!  They're cliffs!  No switchbacks, no following an easier ridgeline on
the way down.  Nope, they went straight off the side of the mountain.

Well, I found out later on that the Chumash Trail indeed isn't a trail.  It is rather an
ancient footpath used by the Chumash Indians as the shortest route between their
camps in La Jolla Valley and the ocean.  It was never built and has never been
maintained or improved in the 7,000 years of its existence.  Okay, so I forgive it for
being steep, and commend the Chumash for having good knees.  But I will never hike it
again, it just isn't my idea of fun :p  But the La Jolla Canyon Trail, that one I would do
again in a heartbeat.  It was gradual and much more scenic!
From cactus to ferns, just depends on if you're in
the sun or shade in this canyon
Native walnut trees grow in La Jolla Canyon
Bush sunflower
Giant coreopsis Coreopsis gigantea
Giant coreopsis shrubs look like Dr. Seuss trees on
the hillside
Blue Dicks
Wishbone Bush
California Poppy
Canterbury Bells
Indian Paintbrush
Sweet Pea
Views stretch to the Channel Islands
Bermuda Buttercup Oxalis pes-caprae
Mugu Peak ahead
morning glory