10 December 2015

Mesa Peak

Corral Canyon Park

Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy

The whims of a day settled on another peak, but one much closer and lower and probably a bit warmer than the last few. Suspecting Scott, a geocacher, might be happy to go along with that whim, I sent him an email. He sent out another email for two more that might be similarly inclined and we ended up three strong standing at the side of highway 1 ready to climb nearly every foot of Mesa Peak's 1844 foot height.

trailhead sign
The sign at the trailhead tries to give credit to all the agencies involved. Parking is in a fee lot or one of a few spots beside the highway, but public transportation is convenient.

The trail quickly divides, but it just loops around so all trails lead "up". We head left, which is the slightly longer way around. This takes us past some garden variety yucca and then the remains of the home that went with the garden. The foundation is not evident, but the chimney still stands tall. After that, it is a gentle, but very steady, climb up the side of the canyon.

brick chimney beside maple
The simple remains of a home.

tree covered canyon bottom
Lots of trees in the canyon bottom.

canyon side trail
Just a little, long, steady climb.

ocean at the end of the canyon
A misty ocean view down the canyon.

And so up we climb. In the canyon, the one chimney is the only hint of civilization surrounding. Quickly, there are a couple stately homes peeking over the edge. A campground sits on a flat on the far side of the canyon where a tent is being set up. That is all there is to interrupt the chaparral covered canyon sides and the tree covered canyon bottom.

relatively remote
For a spot in Malibu, this canyon seems quite remote.

west along the coast
So the coast is generally covered with buildings, but today it is also obscured by fog.

We lose a bit of elevation before coming to a track that connects the top of the loop with the fuel break. Achieving the ridge line, there is a whole university below. Even it is an island of built up stuff in a larger wild land. We take a moment to check out the view from a point, then turn to climb. It is quite a steep climb at first.

east along the coast
Stately homes in the fog down the coast to the east.

We meet a road and the climb gets easier, although still on fuel break. A little higher again, and there is another road. From here, it is almost entirely a gentle climb on fire road to the peak.

line of peaks above
The peaks above, also hiding out in a bit of cloud.

down the road
Looking back down the road. A pocket of houses lie across the canyon and seem to end suddenly at the section boundary.

Just short of the peak, we divert down a fuel break. It happens to have a few geocaches and the local benchmark down it. My first hint of the benchmark is a yellow post in cement that looks just like the ones trying to keep the bulldozers off the ones on Sawmill Mountain. This one is not as successful as it is currently partway down the hill.

Mesa Peak
Looking back toward Mesa Peak from the fuel break. The peak is the first bump south of the road. Higher peaks are behind it.

off to the northeast and east
A little bit of some new view.

arranged rocks
Others come here to indulge their passions, too.

southwest to the ocean
Looking back at the ocean.

ruined reference
One reference mark, overturned and chipped, is all that is left of the local benchmark.

We head back and then up the short way to the peak itself. It is taller than the ridge. The very top is occupied by a small building and has little view. The path shows that most people continue over the top and down two little bumps to where the ocean becomes visible again.

Castro Peak
Castro Peak in the distance.

Mesa Peak viewpoint
At the viewpoint down the south side of Mesa Peak.

view of the ocean
And a little bit of the view back down the fire road to the ocean beyond.

We climb the last little bit from the peak to the Malibu Creek State Park boundary before turning back to make our way down again. I had spotted posts that looked like they could be witness posts on the way up and one thing about traveling with geocachers is that they are willing to wait a bit while someone goes poking through the bushes after some minor thing. The first one requires directing from below to get to as I can not see it when close. There is a quarter section corner beside it and a better trail back out. After that little win, the next that is oddly close to the first just must be investigated. It turns out to mark nothing nearby.

Malibu Canyon
The elusive Saddle Peak across Malibu Creek almost comes out from hiding in the clouds.

quarter section corner
My prize for pushing through a couple bushes is a quarter section corner. Looks like we are south of San Bernardino Peak.

We take the other side of the loop back down. This wraps around the south side of the slopes, outside of the canyon, giving a bit of a different viewpoint.

west along the coast again
The western coastline out to Mugu Rock. The fog has lifted as we get close to the coast again, but a minor rain shadow threatens instead.

Corral Canyon
One last look up Corral Canyon.

©2015 Valerie Norton
Posted 19 Dec 2015

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