Spring in Los Angeles is one of my absolute favorite times, much like summer and fall! The sun shines bright, the weather is delightful and I’m always itching to get outside and be active. This past weekend was no different and I set out for a nice long hike with my man and a friend of ours. But this ordinary hike became an all out adventure!
I had stipulations for our hike, but had no idea where they would lead us. I wanted this hike to be a minimum of four miles and deep down I wanted adventure; I wanted a true hike, not a hike for the weak or fearful. Well I got what I wanted and then some! I started by downloading a hike app for the iphone called AllTrails and quickly discovered the Rustic Canyon Loop Trail in Will Rodgers State park. Its five miles with steep climbs and some canopied trails. Perfect! I read one review and it seemed like a pretty good hike, a nice workout but not too hard or overwhelming. Looking back, to avoid the shock of the ‘trail’ and terrain I should have read more reviews, but then we would have missed the adventure, one we’ll never forget.
The hike started off wonderfully. We followed the map on my phone that AllTrails provided and pushed up the mountain, making a slight wrong turn which led to some backtracking only because I needed the full four miles. I thought we were headed onto the Will Rodgers Drive trail, but the sign that way said danger in big red letters. What! I instinctively turned right around at the ‘Danger’ sign and made the boys follow me a different way which looped back to the beginning. Well, we’d only hiked two miles and that was unacceptable. After a detour around inspiration point, a canopied trail that was very inspirational, we were back at the ‘Danger’ sign. The three of us sucked it up and embarked on what is called the ‘Backbone Trial’. It was definitely dangerous and the beginning of our adventure.
We’re back on track! Woo! This trail twisted and turned along the ridge of the mountain and went up and up and down and back up. There were moments as I was leading the pack where we were seemingly running along this magical trail on the side of a mountain overlooking the ocean. Amazing! Beautiful! But then we found the meat of the Rustic Canyon Loop, straight down the side of the mountain for nearly a mile. The three of us had to run not to fall over and the farther we got into the hike, the more intense it got. After finally descending the cliff we were deep in the valley around the abandoned buildings of the old Nazi sympathizers from WWII. We stopped and chatted with a couple who asked if we’d come from the “creek.” No we had not, but unknown to us it was where we were headed.
The creek was the trail now, with only a semblance of the overgrown path zigzagging back and forth across the water. It was a real struggle to determine where our trail was headed. We’d lose it in the bushes, only to traipse into the creek and find it upstream a ways. If not for our handy map, we may still be in the woods. See here’s the thing none of us knew. The Rustic Canyon Loop is truly rustic, a make shift path through the heart of the forest. The trail is not maintained because it’s un-maintainable. This was an adventure! We quickly realized that the 1.8 mile descent down the trail would be both treacherous and slow. The creek was not to be taken lightly. The creek was barely a trail. We got wet, scratched and at this point had been out hiking for hours. All I wanted to do was finish the damn hike, but real adventures test your will. We trudged forward on the never ending path until out of nowhere came the end of the creek. It actually said end of trail! We’d made it! All the endorphins in my body rushed through me and I was no longer dreading my next step, the creek or this crazy adventure I’d brought upon us. We were done and loving it. We’d experienced the rollercoaster of the Rustic Canyon Loop and could call ourselves adventurers!
All I can think about now is that I did it, I conquered the Rustic Canyon Loop, and I want to do it again! There were moments when I was beyond overwhelmed, there were amazing scenic vistas and abandoned houses full of graffiti with a creek that came out of nowhere! It’s all detailed online here, but I’m glad we didn’t’ find this info ahead of time: Rustic Canyon Hike.
I loved riding the waves of my emotions. I loved that all at once this was the best, the most intense, beautiful, and fun hike I’ve ever done! Somehow we looped around a few times and hiked for over three hours and over 6.7 miles. Damn! I’m definitely headed back, to revisit my adventure on the Rustic Canyon trail. We’ll hike up the creek as opposed to down it and do the entire adventure in reverse!
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