ImageFrom where we live in West Hills, our backyard is the Santa Monica Mountains Range.  Upon realizing this, the first thing that crossed my mind was, “On the other side of those mountains is the beach.  I wonder if I could walk all the way from my backdoor to the beach without using roads or freeways?”  This became my obsession and I started applying my detective skills to State Park trail maps, AllTrails maps, EveryTrail maps, and Google maps.  I have pieced together a beaded string of trails that runs through at least four different nature preserves.  I completed 7.5 miles of the trek earlier this month. This day I hiked the next 8 miles or so.   I would have gone on but my neglect of buying proper supportive insoles of my shoes was crippling me.  (The next day I made my way to R.E.I. for a foot consultation and rectified my lack of support with a pair of insoles.)

Phantom Trail

This day’s hike was mostly from Liberty Canyon, near the northwest boundary of Malibu Creek State Park, to the southeast boundary.  It linked together the following trails:
The Phantom Trail

Cistern Trail

Cistern Trail & Lookout Trail

Lookout Trail

Crags Rd

Waycross Dr

Tapia Park (today’s terminus)

and an especially lovely trail that connected the Malibu Creek Group Camp to Tapia Park to the Southeast.

I wanted to go further, I really did, but I couldn’t make my poor aching right arch do its job.  It was begging for help.

Chimney bonus

Along the way I took a path that I thought was going to be my ticket to the beach, but it turned out to dead end at a private road.  (Imperialists!)  However, I was rewarded by finding the site of an abandoned homestead, the chimney of which was still standing in tact and beautifully crafted.  I need to do a little research to find out whose homestead this was, but it brought me a little jolt of joy and made making the mistaken side trip more tolerable.

Another small moment of ecstasy on a hike that involves crossing a mountain range is reaching the top of an assent and admiring the view behind and ahead of you.  Both trails lead downhill!  This is the trail’s way of offering its congratulations.  It says, “You’ve accomplished the hard part, now here’s your reward.”

Looking back down the mountain you’ve just climbed.
Looking down the trail you get to descend as a reward.

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