Monday, July 5, 2010

Happy July 5th!

Today definitely fit my definition or idea of a "perfect day", although I have had several of those recently. For instance, being lazy on Saturday, with the exception of going to the gym to watch the Paraguay/Spain match. That was a pretty perfect day (the trip to the gym was followed up by left-over tacos and an awesome nap). I believe that I took another nap yesterday. It seems that the simple things in life can make me quite happy.
While today involved a bit more planning and energy, it also involved an element of simplicity - hike to/around a beautiful spot and enjoy being outside. It seems fitting that Michael and I 'bagged' Mugu Peak this weekend, seeing as our last failed attempt was on Memorial Day. This time around we did not invite a friend with dubious hiking skills to join us but woke up on the early side for a holiday Monday and headed west. We arrived at the coast amidst a thick cloud of "June gloom" which has seemingly extended into July! On the plus side, it made for a cool (temperature-wise) hike which we both appreciated and hiking in the mist and tall grass made me think of Wales and the moors, even though Southern CA cannot possibly share much flora or fauna with that part of the world! On the minus side, we could not take advantage of the awesome 360 degree views that the Mugu Peak supposedly offers because we had a very limited visual range thanks to the gloom.

Still and all, it was a most enjoyable hike, presenting a butt-kicking challenge the first .7 mile as we ascended about 850 feet. Once we survived the initial upward trudge, the trail leveled out and we were walking on a path that cut through high grass. We looped around the valley and then headed up to Mugu Peak. The description from the blog Modern Hiker describes the experience from Mugu Peak in this way:
"When you reach the top of Mugu, you’ll be rewarded with 360-degree views of some of the most beautiful parts of Southern California — the Channel Islands, Boney Ridge, Mugu Lagoon, the Great Sand Dune, and all of the meadows you just wound your way through. All this, and an American flag to boot. Cue the patriotic music and you’re all set."

We did feel triumphant once we reached the peak, and the flag certainly added some patriotic flair to the hike. That, and the knowledge that Pt. Mugu, the naval base, was right across the way ('the way' being PCH, the Pacific Coast Highway, also known as "the 1" or "the One"). Sadly, we did could not reap the visual rewards of the peak after our hard work. Shrug. It will give us a reason to return, and that is never a bad thing! The descent was, in a few areas, a bit trickier for me with my knee. Although I am fairly strong, I still lack in confidence what I don't necessarily lack in strength, so that made a few places a bit of a challenge. Nothing that I wasn't up for, however. Ultimately, I was psyched about the hike: 5.2 miles in under 3 hours, 1255 elevation gain.

Before heading back east, we decided to take advantage of our west side stint and headed south from Point Mugu to Malibu. We ended up at a bit of a dive called the Reel Inn. Okay, maybe not a dive, but not, fortunately, an elegant or swanky locale. It offered good fish and chips and a decent bloody mary, and I did not need much more!


Kim said...

Isn't this June gloom crazy? I'm a bit tired of it. The sun did not even come out here today. I'm glad you've had such a great weekend. I've become a recent fan of napping. The hike sounds perfect -- just the right amount of time/mileage, in my opinion. Oh, and I've been to the Reel Inn!

Jaya said...

The descent (not to get redundant) is so much harder, for sure! I love that you get out so much. While I am more than ecstatic about the Rockies, I've always dreamt of hitting up some of the more mountainous states in the US, especially California! And I think you hit it right on the button, I find the descent tricky because (especially in scree), I'm always afraid to relax my muscles. I think that combo of tension and modest confidence can be improved upon. But 5.2 miles in 3 hrs is nothing to scoff at! Nice work!

Kristina said...

I can't decide if I'm tired of the extended June gloom or savoring it as I think about the heat to come!
Glad that someone else has been to the Reel Inn. We just stumbled upon it and happened to have a great experience there!

Thanks for the reminder about the descent! I must admit that I do miss more "Alpine" hikes. I lived in WA State for two years, and I loved the hikes in the Cascades. But the hikes aren't bad in Southern CA, just very different.