Zuma Ridge Trail: Fourth of July Hike

It was five years ago to the day that I hiked this same trail.  Like then, I began in the late afternoon and ended after dark. My plan, to make it up to Buzzards Roost Ranch and then down to a high spot to take in the fireworks show off of Broad Beach.  My previous hike was marred by thick fog. I couldn’t see a thing. This year the skies were clear.
Hiking Distance: Around 8 miles

Driving Directions:  In Malibu just east of Zuma Beach, turn onto Busch Dr.  You will come to a T-junction.  Go right, sticking with Busch Dr. to it’s end at a large, ungated parking lot on the right.

        I started up the trail around 4:30 p.m. This fire road is extremely easy to follow. From the main road, there are a couple of signed fire roads which break east and west. I  stayed on the north-south fire road, Zuma Ridge Trail, all the way to Buzzards Roost Ranch.

               

   Photo 1 – Looking toward Point Dume  Photo 2 – Across Zuma Canyon running steeply to the ridge, the Canyon View and Ocean View Trails can be seen.

This is an excellent workout trail. Basically the first half of my day was four miles of up. There’s very little shade.

        Henry the Hawk Looking For Lunch

After a mile or so the trail was totally empty, left to me and my thoughts.

               

   Photo 2 – Buzzards Roost Ranch sits on a crest on the ridge, tastefully hidden behind tall trees.

   At 2.6 miles a fire road breaks off to the right, marked by this unique “Water for Horses” sign. It was here where I planned to set up camp for the fireworks show.

I continued to Buzzards Roost Ranch. I pushed the pace, something I don’t normally do.

               

The closer I got, the steeper and more rocky the road became.  The Ranch kept getting closer, slowly but surely, but it felt like a long haul.  Photo 3 – Fuzzy insect scoots along the dirt.

        I have hiked here many times before. I always feel relief when I catch sight of the tree shown standing in the middle of this photo 1, my turnaround point.  Photo 2 – I arrive at Buzzards Roost Ranch. There are a couple of nice logs to lounge on beneath the tree.

               

I rested for a few minutes and soaked in the deep blue panoramic views.

               

I headed down as the Sun rapidly lost altitude.  The high point in the center of photo 2 is where I planned to set up.

               

   Wishing Peace for those with broken hearts.  Life goes in cycles.  Better times always return.

               

Sunset on Boney Mountain.

Anacapa and Santa Cruz Islands, bathed in pink rays.

        I arrived down at the hill with the horse sign. I followed the footpath up to the highest point.

               

               

Fireworks shows along the Santa Monica Bay began around nine. They looked very small but I could see them all the way to the end of the Palos Verdes Peninsula and even over to Catalina Island.

   This year the location of the fireworks show was changed to Paradise Cove, further down the coast. Because of the switch I was no longer in the ideal position. I decided to head down to get closer.

I tried out my headlamp using the red filter. This is supposed to help maintain night vision. It did make for some interesting photos.

   In the darkness, my mind began to play tricks. Rocks laying by the trail became a crouching coyote.

Around 9:45 another fireworks show began, this time off of Point Dume. Now I had a better view.

               

               

Happy Fourth of July

   The last mile brought overcast conditions. Here I try to capture the Moon through the mist. I made it back to my car around 11:30, feeling tired but satisfied.

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