11 October 2015

Lower Solstice Canyon

Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area




I wanted to poke along in the Malibu area again and decided to put together a hike with Hike the Geek. The LA group have not gotten together in a while, so I did not expect much. The planned day rolls around with only two sign ups as "I'll try", so expectations are fulfilled. After a suitable wait, neither has shown up. The day is hot as promised, so I start off in the canyon. The weather man promised heat today and it is already quite hot enough, but the canyon is cool. A glimpse down at a clear spot shows a very little bit of water making its way along the creek bed.

wide and flat and a bit shaded
Trees provide frequent shade along the old road that serves as a trail up Solstice Canyon.

remains of the house at the end of the road
Arriving at the house ruins at the end of the road. A little bit of the creek is diverted across the road.


I poke around the ruins a little. There is an odd collection of plants still thriving around it, thanks to the reliable water in the creek. The old chimneys still stand all over. I counted them once, today I just bask in their multiplicity. Since I have no one to stall, I can play a little with my sketch book in the chapel area, too.

remains of a kitchen
A few of the chimneys belong to the kitchen.

Madonna among the rocks
Statuary near the chapel area.

remains of the chapel
The remains of the chapel.

The cool in the canyon is too tempting. I decide to keep to it instead of climbing to the heights of the sun drenched hills above. Leaving the home site, what do I see but one of my maybes coming up the road! He has been the victim of technology that thought he should come here via a nearby road up into the hills, then try to make it down again along the trail. Of course, he met a sign stating there was no way through to the park below because he is not the first victim of this mistake and will probably not be the last. He actually does want to climb the hill, but we rest in the cool beside the waterfall first.

Jay beside the dribbling waterfall
My group of one, found halfway through the hike, sitting beside what little there is of a waterfall.

After a few minutes, we duck out of the shade and climb up the side of the canyon in the sun. There are a few small pools of shade on the way, but it is almost entirely sun blasted. On up the canyon is yet another unattached chimney and then houses with current occupants.

Solstice Canyon
Up the canyon. The chimney is a little left of center.

green in the canyon
Looking down on the canyon near the ruins and the trail some GPS systems think people should try to travel into the park on.

The climb is really not all that far, especially from the ruins instead of the parking lot. Once at the top, it is just an easy drift down the canyon and then a bit more steeply down into the canyon. As we do the drifting part, we get quite the eye full of ocean. Catalina becomes visible as the view opens up a little bit more.

Pacific Ocean
Looking out on the ocean. Catalina is not yet visible.

Catalina Island
A misty Catalina Island comes into view.

The canyon feels particularly cool when we get back down into it. It really was good, in spite of the ridiculous heat, to make the climb, too.




©2015 Valerie Norton
Posted 20 Oct 2015

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