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Malibu Creek State Park Malibu Creek State Park

10th August 2010

A Hike in the Agoura Hills to M*A*S*H Land and the Non-Existent Cabin, and a Meal with My Shadow

Mist Burning Off in Malibu Creek
    There was a cloudy, misty start to the day, so I hung about till it started to clear before heading off to the trailhead; I didn't want to hike in the mist, and I wanted to avoid the heat of the day.
    I found the creek enigmatic. I came across large, crystal clear streams with sizeable pools in them for kids to play in, then a short distance further the creek was all dried up, with indications that when it was in full spate, there would be a sizeable volume of water flowing down it.
Dried Up Creek
    It was good to be out hiking again and stretching my legs. I followed the trail up the valley, and I was not alone. When I started off at the trailhead, a coach load of kids also set off equipped with swim wear. When I came to the fork to the Rock Pool, I took a short diversion to investigate, and soon I could hear the whoops and cries of kids splashing about in water. I skirted the side of a huge wall of basalt with a slight overhang to it, probably about 12m tall. I thought that it would make a good climbing wall, and then I noticed the tell tale talc marks around handhold points, indicting that it was indeed used by climbers.
The Rock Pool - a Kid's Paradise
    I continued heading to the source of the sounds, and soon came across the Rock Pool, a sizeable stretch of water surrounded by large rocks, from which kids were jumping fearlessly into the pool. Rather them than me, I had no fear about jumping or diving into water as long as I knew it was deep enough, but I couldn't tell the depth of this pool by sight. I left them to their fun, and returned to the main trail. As I passed the basalt wall, a pair of ropes slithered down it, and I made out the faint voices of climbers high above, perhaps about to abseil down.
    As I headed along the main trail again, I caught up with a chap my age and his three sons. We got chatting and he asked me if I liked hiking in the Sierras. I recounted my hikes in Yosemite, and the Lone Pine, Big Pine and Mammoth Lake hikes on the eastern Sierras. The guy also enjoyed the eastern Sierras, particularly around June Lake which I had passed on the approach run to Mono Lake. They were not taking a long hike today, and branched off onto a shorter trail.
M*A*S*H Ambulance
M*A*S*H Jeep
    I made my way up to the M*A*S*H site, enclosed on all sides by a series of hills, which no doubt served to muffle all outside sounds during filming. The only signs in the clearing that anything ever happened there were two old rusty military vehicles that had been left behind when the set was demolished. The site contained a few picnic tables, so I rested my feet and tucked in to some beef jerky, trail mix, and water. The site was not on people's agenda today.
Water Lilies on Century Lake
    There was a fork leading off to Lost Cabin Trail which I also decided to explore. This trail also seemed to be seldom visited. It gained me elevation for a distance onto a saddle, before descending into a secluded valley. Eventually I reached a sign that said "Lost Cabin Site, End of Trail". I was expecting to find the remains of an old prospector's cabin, or something of that ilk, but there was nothing, no trace that anything ever existed here. I started to wonder if this was some giant hoax; the cabin was so lost it was non-existent. Still, it was good exercise, but a disappointment to be led on a wild goose chase.
    I headed back from the cul-de-sac and picked up a Forest Trail which took me alongside Century Lake, a stagnant looking lake with a magnificent display of yellow water lilies half way along it. The trail lead me to a dam which held back the lake, I presumed part of California's water conservation programme. There was no way across the dam, so I back-tracked and returned on the opposite shore of the lake. Indeed the whole area was full of trails with no indication of where they lead, if they were blind alleys, or whatever. I managed to navigate back to the trailhead having spent a pleasant few hours hiking in the Malibu Creek in the Agoura Hills.
    Chores caught up with me: banking, email catch up, and laundry. The guy running the launderette clocked off at 3pm, and asked me to put the stool I was sitting on in the restroom when I left, and to close all the doors, which I did. I had no idea what folk got up to in there after I was gone.
    I returned to the campsite for a shower, and had a chin wag with my new neighbour, who hailed from Memphis. He warned me about the pleasures of driving through Los Angeles. Earlier in the day I had been talking to a Swiss guy in the campsite who was still recovering from his ordeal in the city. Crumbs, this was going to prove interesting.
    In the early evening I drove down to Malibu Beach, made a few provisions, and headed north up the coast road. Here I found yet more endless sandy beaches with their retinue of lifeguard stations standing like sentinels.
    I called in at an Italian restaurant, and was asked to seat myself anywhere I liked. No sooner had I sat down when a waiter turned up with two menus, and immediately left. I chose my dish, and sat and contemplated the mysteries of the universe for an age. Eventually a young waitress turned up and asked if I would like to order or wait. "Wait for what?", I asked. "For the other person to turn up", she responded. The penny dropped, upon my entry, it had been automatically assumed there would be two people dining, hence the two menus, and they had been politely waiting for the other person to show up.
    The waitress seemed an intelligent girl, and I talked to her about the dilemma of singletons entering restaurants. She said that the protocol was always to assume at least two people so as not to make a singleton feel at unease because they were alone. Hmm..... there was a very thin line here. But hey, life was too short to worry about such trivialities. I left the girl a decent tip for her candid feedback.
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Malibu Creek State Park Malibu Creek State Park

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Last updated 11.8.2010