Zuma Ridge Trail

A few days before this hike I was standing in my backyard.  It was warm, the moon was bright and I hatched a plan for a 4th of July night hike.  I would leave in the evening, take photos of the golden hour, the setting Sun, the full Moon and, of course, the professional fireworks that were to be launched from the barges anchored offshore here in Malibu.  Mother Nature had her own plans.

1     2     3   After several hot and clear days, the 4th arrived under heavy overcast.  I began the hike at the end of the trail nearest the ocean.  Photo 1 looks out straight ahead to Point Dume.

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Across Zuma Canyon I could see Ocean View Trail to the right and Canyon View Trail to the left.

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Up and into the soup.  I hoped to climb high enough to get above the fog, but it just kept getting thicker.  It was around this point that my Canon Rebel stopped working.  It couldn’t focus in the mist, I guess, and I kept getting an error signal.  I had to break out my little Samsung point and click for the rest of the hike.

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If you look to the left in photo 2 you can sort of see the trail sign for Trancas Edison Road, which I hiked a few months ago.  This point, around 2.5 miles up the trail, is where the morning overcast usually clears.  Just up the road is where I had planned to take pictures of the fireworks.

11     12     13   Moving up the trail with limited visibility.

14   Just a little bit of color on this dreary day

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17   Photo 1 – Between the two trees is the highest peak on this trail and home to the privately owned Buzzard’s Roost Ranch.  Photo 3From the top, looking back toward the Ocean.  I had timed this perfectly, arriving at 8:10 pm, just as the Sun was setting.  Of course I saw none it through the murk.  I also arrived at my designated spot for the fireworks five minutes before they were scheduled to go off.  I only heard and never saw them.  I thought I would at least see the sky illuminated with bright flashes but the fog absorbed all the light.

18     19   Photo 1 – This is pretty much what my hike back looked like – dark and foggy.  I tried to let my eyes adjust to the darkness for as long as I could and could see the outline of the trail if not the fine details.  I eventually put on my headlamp but this only made things worse as the fog reflected the light back into my eyes and robbed me of my night vision.  I put the light on my front pack and aimed it at the ground.  The surrounding sky instantly turned from deep purple to jet black. The fog kept hidden any landmarks ahead.  Basically for about three miles all I could see was the trail four or five feet in front of me.  During tough moments like this I just tell myself that the only way out of the situation is to keep moving forward – one foot in front of the other, there is no other choice.  Photo 2 – Finally I arrive back at the trailhead.  I actually made pretty good time – 8 1/2 miles in 4 1/2 hours.

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