Sunday, July 27, 2008

At the top of the world

Last weekend we decided to take a hike out to the Topanga Lookout. We haven't been there in months. So we packed our water bottles and sunscreen and I grabbed a hat, and we set out.

Who goes hiking at high noon in midsummer? Only crazy people! The Outlook trail goes along a ridge high over Saddle Peak, looking down over the western side of Topanga Canyon. The trail splits and one branch leads to an old unused telecommunications tower, while the other branch dips and continues east along the ridge. It really is a ridge - it falls away steeply on either side of the dirt road that we follow.

The sun's so hot you can smell the resin in the chaparral and sage, baking in the heat. A hawk flies over. You swat the no-see-ums buzzing around your face.

The road ends at an abrupt rock outcropping, crowned with a scrubby pine tree. You can hear the wind whispering in the pine needles. Beneath this tree is the only shade along the entire trail.

Why would anybody be crazy enough to hike this trail? What's the pay-off?

At the end of the trail you climb a twisting dog-track, and suddenly there is a set of concrete steps leading to a wide concrete pad.

This used to be a fire lookout tower. Years ago the tower itself was removed, but the concrete pad remains. You stand here and you can see all the way from the ocean to the valley.

Its obvious that lots of people enjoy coming here for the view. I also think some mind-altering substances were consumed here over the years! The concrete pad is a swirl of crazy spray-painted color. Grafitti, names, stencils, artful pictures, poignant R.I.P memorials for lost friends, odd sayings and plaintive musings.

So step out onto the platform with me and take it in. Yes, you can get closer to the edge than that! It's not as scarey as it looks.


Here's the view. There's mind-altering for you!

5 comments:

barbara hansen said...

This is beautiful.

Thank you so much for taking me out of citified life for a wonderful hike. I had almost forgotten that space and blue skies exist.

JCK said...

Oh, how I love your Topanga. My favorite hike is through Red Rock Canyon.

And I love the smell of the sage.

g said...

Red Rock is my FAVORITE trail, JCK! When our old dodg the Malalmute was alive, we'd go with him every week.

Have you shown your kids the caves there? I bet they'd love them.

KathyR said...

Yet another place in L.A. that I have not been. Nor am I gonna be there at high noon in the summer. Holy dermatologist visits, Batman!

Liz said...

Whew! That is really high-up... but beautiful all the same.