13 October 2013

Castro Motorway

Malibu Creek State Park

Locate the trail head.

After the morning hike, I decide to go up to Upper Solstice Canyon where I can finish off the last bit of a loop I started in 2009. Going past the entrance to Lower Solstice Canyon, I am reminded that it is actually a part of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area by the locked gate across it. Some of the users of the overflow parking don't seem to realize the road does go somewhere and present minor obstacles to passage. Up at the end of the road, there is plenty of parking, so a grab a spot and start up Castro Motorway, the continuation of the road. At first the views are quite tame, but once up to the top and the north side opens up, they become excellent, if a little difficult to see.

southeast along the ridge
The Backbone Trail passes through the parking lot heading over these rocks to the southeast and should head along the motorway, but it has to reroute down into the valley instead.

view into the valley below
Looking into the valley to the north.

the fire road as it curves around the top of the ridge
Lovely rocks litter the top of the ridge.

At the junction with Bulldog Motorway, which drops down from the ridge, I stay climbing on Castro toward the peak. The road cuts deeply through the rocks as it goes. With a few turns, the road hits a fence.

signage at the intersection
The area is a patchwork of federal, state, and private lands, but you don't expect the signs to be mixed.

houses along Mulholland
Homes along Mulholland Dr. and N9 down in the valley.

Upper Solstice Canyon
To the south, it is a little less populated in Upper Solstice Canyon.

fencing blocking the legal public right of way
Looks like the bully on Castro is still doing his thing, although he seems to have given up the pretense that he just doesn't like park rangers and admitted he really doesn't like people.

This guy feels his easement should allow him to put a six lane highway across land he doesn't own. Meanwhile, the public easement can be blocked no matter what the law says. How it works is, he has more money than you. At least they have managed to keep him from further abusing his easement. I decide to head back and skip the few trails that head up and to the south and head down Bulldog a bit.

Castro Motorway
Castro Motorway as it curves through the rocks on the ridge.

lake far below
Malibu Lake far below.

gate on the road down
Heading down Bulldog. It is definitely state park lands and they usually don't allow dogs on the "back country" trails.

There's a road coming down from earlier on the Castro Motorway for the power lines and another one coming up from below. At first, I suspect that it might actually go through to allow a loop. Further examination of the bottom of the canyon, of course, shows that it does not go through, so eventually I just have to turn around and head back up.

rocks on the ridge
Lots of roads to travel around this valley, but they do not connect.

more of the view to the north
Looking again out into the hills to the north, it is clearing up and the view getting better.

rounded sandstone sticking up
Rounded sandstone out in the hills.

Coming back down, I take a diversion down a spur that intersects the Backbone Trail reroute and then follow it up into the rocks to finish poking around.

Castro Peak
Looking back at the peak and the perfectly good road you may not walk along. (Many permits missing for putting all that up.)

rocks along the ridge
A few nice colors out in the rocks.

©2013 Valerie Norton
Posted 14 October 2013


Anonymous said...

The land surrounding Castro Peak is private property. It is well posted and well secured to keep vandals and trespassers out and away from the communications facilities. If you don't understand the concepts of "private property" or "no trespassing" then you need to get better educated. Hiker and biker sites are checked regularly and legal actions are taken against trespassers. One of the most basic concepts of ownership of private land is the right to exclude the public - that means you. Grow up and stop whining. Signed the "Bully of Castro Peak."

Valerie Norton said...

Ah, the regular straw man argument against allowing the public free access to the entire property, plus claim about needing to grow up while shouting "mine mine mine!" like a toddler. Private property isn't always that simple in California and there are a few owners who find this very frustrating. And really, the rhetoric and the reality don't match. There appear to be more barriers to going around the peak than to going to it. I could be wrong since I haven't actually ventured onto the property, but I've seen few communications sites less secure than this one and they're generally smaller. Impressive looking fencing on the road while relying on not particularly steep land and not particularly hard chaparral to finish the job is an obvious facade and only turns back those who wish no harm.

If you really are the current owner, then beware, you seem to have gotten so bored that you now troll rather unknown and unread hiker blogs so that you can paste insults into their unused comments section, not only "hiker and biker sites". Just for clarification, I am pointing out a perception, not somehow trying to make threats of boredom. The view count for this post is all the way up to 16 now, quite a good number for me, almost as many as were physically hiking the area already when I arrived.

Anonymous said...

It is in fact a very simple matter. Absent a recorded easement benefiting the public, the public is not entitled to enter private property or any part of private property. It is irrelevant if the property is a fraction of an acre or hundreds of acres. There are no easements burdening the parcels you apparently wished to hike therefore any entry is trespassing. It is amazing to me how people seem to feel they have some God given right to enjoy other people's property but would never open their own property in similar fashion.
The gate / fence you encountered is but the first in a series of many gates and fences designed to protect the facilities and equipment from thieves, saboteurs and vandals. My post to you was to caution you against trespassing. Trespassing is taken seriously and running regular internet searches for those that trespass, and even blatantly brag online of their exploits including how they have stolen or damaged property , has resulted in serious legal actions being taken. This has unfortunately become necessary to protect the several communications facilities located on Castro Peak from those who refuse to respect others property.

Valerie Norton said...

Hum, you might want to chat with your lawyer about what he/she has neglected to mention. During some time that's already paid for, as much as can be with a lawyer, since the information will probably not be life changing.

Landowners with trails on their land include those who give a cheery wave to hikers and bikers using a popular trail separated from their home by only about 20 feet of garden and people who have changed traditional easements into deeded easements and added severe restrictions to what can be done to the land around the trail. There is a wide range of reactions to trails. It would seem probable that those who expect to continue to be able to use a trail tend to be those who would allow a trail to continue to be used. There are undoubtedly a few who would not as well. Humans do have a distressing tendency to hypocrisy, but a wonderful tendency to variety.

I am well aware of the series of gates, even without stepping foot on the land, and I most definitely include those when I call the security comical. I hope a consultant wasn't getting paid for that. You are making my point for me that only those who do not wish harm are turned away.

Anonymous said...

I am well aware of most every pitfall of easements. You should know that public easements are not created by recreational usage no matter how long the use may have occurred for. You can gain a substantial understanding from reported appellate case
LT-WR, L.L.C. v. CALIFORNIA COASTAL COM'N 60 Cal.Rptr.3d 417 (2007) 151 Cal.App.4th 427. You will find my LLC that was plaintiff in this case owns the parcel at the top of Castro Peak. You can also check out "Notice of Consent of Land Use" under Section 813 of the California Civil Code. The 813 notices have been filed on all the parcels in question. No easements can attach to the parcels.

I do want to thank you for the great picture of my gate which showed it had been vandalized. I had my crew fix it up with lots of rebar and more razor ribbon. The vandalism to the gate shows the absolute necessity for the gates. To date the security has turned away well over 99% of would be trespassers and most of those that were willing to expose themselves to the extreme risk of injury necessary to get in found themselves arrested or subject to legal action. Some had even been dumb enough to post the GPS track of their exploit on web pages - which my lawyers promptly used against them.

After this conversation I would hope you will respect the private property and advise any of your hiker friends to do the same.