Malibu, known as the play ground of the rich and famous – home of Ellen, Will Smith, Madonna, Tom Hanks and Halle Berry, to name a few – is also the play ground of Mr and Mrs Adventure. While we may not be not quite as rich or quite as famous, this past weekend we definitely felt like we had the best beach-front property of them all:
As we drove along the “27 miles of scenic beauty” to our destination, we reminisced about all our favorite memories made along this stretch of the PCH over the past 3 years. There was hiking our favorite SoCal mountain (about 100 times), mountain biking a killer 28-mile loop, running in the Malibu Half-Marathon, exploring Eagle Rock in Topanga Canyon, biking to the rusty set of MASH and rock climbing “Planet of the Apes” in Malibu Creek State Park. Needless to say, there has never been a dull moment in Malibu, and this weekend was only going to put an exclamation point at the end of that statement…!
Filled with the excitement of making more momeries, we pulled into Thornhill Broome Beach campground. Reservations must be made at least 2 days ahead of arrival and can be made up to 7 months in advance. We made our reservation back in January because, if you want to camp here during the summer, you absolutely must reserve exactly 7 months ahead of your arrival date, as spots will sell out by midnight on that day. We now understand why:
After buying some firewood from the Ranger Station ($7), we drove on over to spot #55, aka. our little slice of paradise. As soon as the car stopped, we ran out to shore to feel the cool kisses of the Pacific at our feet and the warm glow of the summer sunshine on our faces.
We walked along the coast, followed by a family of jumping dolphins, and watched as our footprints filled with the sun’s golden light and disappeared as the waves rolled over, taking them to sea.
Staying in that moment as long as we could, we then set up camp and got ready to cook by the light of the fire.
Step 1: Smooth over a nice plot of land, removing any rocks, sticks or other poke-y items:
We may have skipped a couple steps, but VOILA! Our beautiful, newly built, beach-front property with the freshest air around, and complimentary ambient sounds and lighting too:
As our potatoes, haricots verts and mushrooms roasted over the fire, Drew literally chased after his burger patty as a seagull tried to drag it away! Learn from this example and do not leave any food unattended at the picnic tables. Luckily the patty was still in a ziplock bag, so Drew was able to retrieve it (relatively) unharmed. No photos or video of this incident unfortunately, but you can definitely imagine the scene 🙂
Cozy by the sea, we watched as the fire crackled in the dark night sky and stared in awe at the hundreds of stars that glittered above. It’s amazing how we could be so close to one of the busiest and brightest cities, and still feel like worlds away.
Lulled to sleep by the sound of the crashing waves, the temperature couldn’t have been more pleasant. That night we slept in our bathing suits and awoke to something even better than our dreams:
The first thing we did was jump into the ocean and soon enough we were joined by a pair of playful seals and an impressive line up of pelicans overhead!:
After our morning dip, we continued with our walk along the beach and decided to cross the PCH and climb “The Giant Sand Dune (map here). ” We had seen people trekking up and down it the day before and had to try it out for ourselves:
It probably only took us about 3 minutes to summit, but boy did we feel the burn! Think stair steppers in quicksand… ya.
Short of breath and with tired legs, we reached the top and all of that was replaced with grateful hearts and sweet, sweet relief:
Tip: Go early in the morning before the sun starts shining on the west-facing dune, unless you’re ok with burning hot sand..! Another idea, bring shoes 🙂
Hungry and ready for breaky, we raced back to camp and fired up our grill and JetBoil for a breakfast of champions. We surfed, relaxed and stuck around until 1pm (check-out is at Noon, but luckily they are pretty relaxed about it). Next on our list of things to do for the day? Summit Mugu Peak!
Mugu Peak towers over the Pacific Ocean from a drastic elevation of 1,266 feet. There are a few different ways you can choose to summit this seaside mountain, we opted for the 6.5 mile journey from the bottom of La Jolla Canyon (Ray Miller trailhead map here) in Point Mugu State Park (just steps from our campground) with 1,250 feet of elevation gain.
The trail started out pretty gradual, but without a cloud in the sky and being in the bottom of the canyon, there was no denying that it was hot and dry:
Grateful to have a full Camelbak, we continued onward towards the summit. We came across a couple forks in the trail and veered left at all of them, including the Mugu Peak Trail marker:
As we came to the first vista of our trek, we saw our campground down below and were in total awe of the turquoise colored water surrounding us:
At this point the ascent became more rigorous. It was pretty much a climb until we reached the rocky switchbacks taking us to the summit, at which point it was definitely a climb… all the way to the top of the flag pole:
(It’s a good thing I trust him.)
The views at the top of Mugu Peak were absolutely ridiculous.
We could spot Sandstone Peak, aka. Mount Allen, in the distance:
And to the West we could see the Channel Islands floating peacefully in the Pacific.
After taking our time at the top drooling over the views and meeting new friends and fellow-summiters, we made our way back down and decided to take a scenic short cut, leading us right along the ledge of the mountain:
Not only was the short cut something new to explore, but it also provided us with a cool breeze the whole way down. Note: We do not recommend this short cut for everyone as the ground was very loose and we were sliding all over the place in some spots.
After looking forward to this weekend for several months, it definitely exceeded expectations. Oh Malibu, you’ve out done yourself again.