Malibu Coast Trip
October 26 to November 1, 2013
It had been almost two months since our return from Alaska, and I just had to get away on another trip before winter set in, so I headed for Southern California.
My plan was to spend a relaxed couple of days camped under the sycamores at one of the beach parks on the Malibu coast, then do an intensive three or four day pano effort following the coast from Pacific Palisades to Palos Verdes, then again from Seal Beach to San Juan Capistrano. But I got lazy and only did the Malibu part.
Despite all the time I spent lazing around on the beach and under the sycamores in Malibu, on this 7 day trip I shot 87 panoramas.
(Click any picture to open a larger version.)
An easy first day, a beautiful drive down Highway 101 (El Camino Real) past Santa Barbara to Carpinteria. It is one of my favorites parks - and towns - on the Southern California coast, but the campground is booked solid for much of the year.
At Ventura I left 101 and continued south on Highway 1, the Pacific Coast Highway, towards Malibu. My first stop was Point Mugu State Park, a huge expanse of parkland extending miles back into the Santa Monica Mountains, but best known for a couple of beaches and one big sand dune. I parked in the campground at Sycamore Canyon and took a hike inland through a huge recently burned area, then the other direction under the highway to the beautiful beach.
I went on a few miles to Leo Carrillo State Park and claimed a campsite.
I spent most of the day exploring slowly down the coast - Zuma Beach, Point Dume, Malibu Lagoon (recently, and controversially, restored), and Surfrider Beach (no surf today), then back to camp.
It was just so nice at Leo Carrillo that I spent this entire day there, in the campground, and on the beach and clifftops.
This was the day that I had planned to brave the traffic and shoot some panos in Santa Monica, Venice, and points south. But it took me an hour just to get from Malibu to Pacific Palisades and I changed my mind, better to do this area with a smaller car and some motel reservations.
So I headed north to San Fernando and shot a very thorough panoramic tour of the mission. Then another historic spot, Placerita Canyon, where gold was discovered in 1842 - before the Gold Rush of 1849. The discovery was made when Francisco Lopez fell asleep under a tree and dreamed of gold. The "Oak of the Golden Dream" is still there.
In late afternoon I drove up to Mount Pinos to camp, but found the campgrounds already closed for the season. I was getting desperate when I spotted a dirt road with a forest service symbol for camping, and a quarter mile down the road I found a very primitive camp area, with not even an outhouse.
I don't need much, and the campsite was in a nice forest of maul oak and gray pine. Ironically, the next morning I found a much nicer camp a few miles further along, with a magnificent view north across the San Joaquin Valley.
It was a brilliantly clear morning and I enjoyed driving the minor road along the ridge tops north from Mount Pinos and down to Maricopa. Then I poked around in the small funky towns of the San Joaquin Westside oil fields. I re-photographed the site of the famous Lakeside Gusher, and the excellent West Kern Oil Museum in Taft.
Rather than push hard to get home that night, I stopped at the San Luis Reservoir State Recreation Area near Los Banos, just at dusk.
The Basalt Campground was well-appointed, showers even, and only one other person was camped there.
First I panographically documented San Luis Reservoir and the O'Neil Forebay, key components of the California State Water Project and popular recreation areas. Then I moved west to Pacheco Pass and newly opened Pacheco State Park. It is only partly open to the public, but I took a short hike and had a look at the ranch house and ruins of the Pacheco Adobe. Those were my last panoramas of 2013.