Malibu: Solstice Canyon
I just got back from Seattle, WA Sunday and while I'm putting together a more comprehensive view of everything I enjoyed, this week I'm sharing some recent fun excursions in Los Angeles.
We wanted to hike in Malibu, so my friends and I reviewed some options and decided on Solstice Canyon. It's about an hour — on a good day — from the South Bay. The day we chose was a nice balance of sunshine and clouds, so it wasn't too hot.
We chose Solstice Canyon because of the remains of two buildings — which seemed historic and exciting in some way — and the potential sight of a waterfall. With the drought, we weren't expecting much. But we got a lot.
For one, parking is definitely not the best part of this area. There's one small parking lot and then when you don't find parking there (unless you're pull in at the right place right time), you'll have to go back out to the road and keep driving up the hill. Hopefully there's an open space like we found on the side of the road. Just be careful about signs and actually parking in a space so you don't get a ticket. That's always a downer.
Once you park, it's a little walk back to the beginning of the trail. There's actually several trail options — a couple mile trail, and a more than couple mile (about 6 miles) trail — but we stuck to the main/smaller option that winds through the buildings we wanted to see.
When we saw the stone cottage through the trees, I was really excited. I wanted to explore it, and so we went off the trail and cut through over the small stream. Emily almost fell. Twice. But we made it safely across, and back up the hill. Ashley had the less-adventurous idea of continuing to walk the trail to see if it went around to the front of the cottage entrance, and sure enough, it did. But she didn't get the experience of crossing unstable rocks and tree branches. So... who really got the better deal?
Being built around 1865 by Matthew Keller, this cottage is believed to be the oldest existing stone building in Malibu. Technically you're not allowed to go inside the cottage, and I can understand why they'd want to preserve it and keep people out since there was graffiti on the inside, but I would also suggest they might want to get a gate that you can't just lift up out of the hinges.
Continuing on the trail, we came to the end of the loop with the home built in 1952 by renowned architect Paul Williams. They had a little information post next to it with some photos of what it used to look like, including a little kitchen nook that looked right out to the stream and waterfall. It was fun to envision how this house used to be, and how beautifully blended it was with the natural features around it. We tried to understand what part of the house we were standing in, but when we actually saw the pictures, we saw how wrong we were.
Going a little further, much to our surprise, there was a waterfall. And an even larger one further down. Let's not exaggerate though — it wasn't a gushing waterfall or anything, but seeing any water was sort of a surprise to me.
We headed back when we got to a sign that said the trail ended there. I felt like we didn't spend enough time there for how long it took to drive out there, but it was nice just to go out for a fun hike and explore a different area of Malibu.
Later, when I was talking to my boss, I was told we didn't go far enough, that the larger waterfall and "end of trail" was the beginning really. Where the trail ends...is where it begins. Is that metaphoric for life or what? If it is, I guess I failed that life test since I turned right around.