Saturday, January 30, 2010

Sandstone Peak 2 aka "Mud Bath Trail"

Hike: Sandstone Peak via the Backbone & Mishe Mokwa Trails

The Inspiration: Memories of our last trip to Sandstone Peak; the promise of post-rain water everywhere!

Highest Altitude: 3,111'

Trip Mileage: 6.6

Total 2010 Mileage: 28.6

The recent-ish spate of wet weather here in SoCal prompted a return trip to one of our favorite trails in the Santa Monica Mountains - the Mishe Mokwa Trail to Sandstone Peak. This was actually the first trail Rebecca and I trod on together, and it was time for some re-treading, full of anticipation for the wet wonderland surely laid out before us.

Joined by Casey and Kolby, we tightened the ole bootstrings and began the muddy hike in from the Backbone Trail.

The very muddy hike in.

The very very muddy hike in.

I blurted out, "This is kind of like walking in poop."

Rebecca looked back at me, clearly disgusted.

I continued on, anyways, brain-to-mouth filter broken for the moment: "Yeah, just the color and the consistency and everything. Totally like walking in poop."

We carried on in silence.

Whilst I quietly and perversely contemplated the position of this particular mud on the Human Waste Color/Consistency Continuum, the landscape opened up like a fresh post-rain bloom all around us - the snow-capped mountains of the Los Padres National Forest, the newly greened hills cleaving into canyons drenched in rainwater, the almost unnaturally blue skies…

Even once we hit the familiar Mishe Mokwa Trail, it was all new again – the trail turned into an active creekbed and mini waterfalls tracked down the sides of cliffs like so many Smokey Robinson tears, the unfamiliar sound of gurgling water bouncing off of echo-fed walls.

Not too shabby. Any and all mud-poop comparisons totally left the building.

The rest of the hike was just really, really fantastic, and if anything, it was a reminder that mother nature isn’t static; even in a place with the kind of weather predictability that leaves potential retirees foaming at the mouth, she can throw a curveball and leave us slack-jawed and giddy like schoolchildren skipping through fresh puddles on sidewalks we thought were nothing but concrete.

What Would Ed Do?

Ed would have worn gaiters, and for that, Ed is a smart, smart man.


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