Bouldering Up the Gorge in Malibu State Park

malibucreekrockpool2Last night before bed, I got the sudden urge to go hiking. I looked at some of the well-known trail sites and found hikespeak.com. I found some in Malibu Creek State Park, which is just a few miles away, and decided to choose on there. This park is extremely popular with hikers, mountain bikers, and rock climbing. It is also known as the filming location for MASH, Planet of the Apes, and others. I was going to visit MASH, but instead thought a “traverse through a difficult-to-reach gorge” sounded exciting. I’ve been up for more adventure lately, and felt a little risky. Not standing on the edge of a cliff risky, but the kind that lets me still feel in control with danger just out of reach.

http://www.hikespeak.com/trails/malibu-creek-gorge-rock-pool/

Several of the following photos come from the site listed above. The hike involves a significant amount of scaling near-vertical rock faces with water just below, climbing over 10-20 foot boulders which lie geologically and seismically jumbled throughout the gorge, creating a path where none exists, and several instances of trying to find a way across the water.

Confession: I took off my shoes and socks and walked through water once, slipped and fell into a pool once, and relied to the invaluable guidance of two couples who separately guided me through particular moments when I felt completely stuck and thought I’d have to return the way I came.

After over 3 hours, I had covered the 2+ miles culminating at a dam, at which point a couple showed me the way out, climbing up a hillside, scaling the barbed wire-covered barrier and swinging around a fence which hung over the dam.

Final result: a) broke open a scab, b) broke my glasses, which were cracked already, c) no sign of ticks or poison oak on me (there are a lot where I was) d) had a huge successful challenge.malibucreekrockpool1

The Rock Pool (a swimming hole). Most peoples' final destination. The gorge is behind it. See the vertical face on the left. It's the only way through.

The Rock Pool (a swimming hole). Most peoples’ final destination. The gorge is behind it. See the vertical face on the left. It’s the only way through.

With no prior experience, this is what I did for 3 hours.

With no prior experience, this is what I did for 3 hours.

Making a path upstream. Lots of boulders!

Making a path upstream. Lots of boulders!

I passed several groups of rock climbers.

I passed several groups of rock climbers.

The rare instance where a trail is visible.

The rare instance where a trail is visible.

I had to "find a way" across the water several times.

I had to “find a way” across the water several times. I broke my glasses leaping from one boulder to another. It flew off with the inertia as I landed and my trailing hand smashed it to pieces.

The Dam. I scaled up the left side to the top, then noticed the exit path was on the right. I made my way back down, crossed the stream again, and made my way up the right side (dirt and trees, not rock) before scaling the barrier up at the top.

The Dam. I scaled up the left side to the top of the dam, then noticed the exit path was on the right. I made my way back down, crossed the stream again, and made my way up the right side (dirt and trees, not rock) before scaling the barrier up at the top.

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