Friday, October 26, 2012

Photo Essay: Trippet Ranch to Eagle Rock



I'd planned to hike to Eagle Rock with a group a few weeks or months ago. I don't remember what forced me to bail. But after having successfully hiked Sandstone Peak a few weeks ago, I was finally ready to tackle its junior version, Eagle Rock.

I just wasn't sure if I could do it alone.

I'd been so grateful for the help I'd have getting up into and through the Cave of Munits that I started to doubt my ability to do these hikes without help, even though I've done so many of them alone.

But, as with anything else, I figured I would at least try, and see what happens.



The trail started out gently enough, passing through Trippet Ranch's population of mule deer, who peered out at me curiously from the shadows under some trees.



Although the hike starts out shady, it gains elevation quickly and opens up into the dry, dusty landscape characteristic of Topanga State Park and the nearby Backbone Trail.



Honestly, I can't explain my trepidation about a hike that only clocks in at about 4.5 miles in and out, but I was getting sick, and I just haven't been hiking that much since coming back from Joshua Tree in late August. It's been too hot. I've been too tired. I haven't had a car. Blah blah blah.



So on a hot afternoon last week, feeling under the weather, I took my trekking pole and set off on my own.



I passed one couple along the wide, dirt fire road, and asked if they'd made it to the top yet. "No," the man wheezed, "And I'm not sure we're going to make it."



Well, neither was I, but I was going to try.







Soon, some sandstone formations came into view, piled up off the side of the trail, leering like Jabba the Hut.





After a couple of steep stretches...



...bordered by fences to make sure hikers didn't fall off the cliff...



...eroded from foot traffic, wind, weather and water...



...with nothing much to plunge my trekking pole into...



I reached the mighty Eagle Rock.



This boulder outcropping in Topanga State Park is not to be confused with the rock of the same name, in the neighborhood of the same name on the east side of Los Angeles.



This one doesn't look much like an eagle to me. Nevertheless, I revered its size and its slippery slopes, and only hiked to the base of it, looking down at the trails below and at the property that was once a "gentleman's ranch" for a getaway in the mountains.



To make a loop out of it, I headed back down the Musch Trail...



...which is more easily graded...



...and much more shaded than the fire road was on the way up.



Without the ocean views, it was ultimately less scenic, but a change of scenery was appreciated at least.



Past the Musch Camp...



...through an oak grove...



...over a footbridge...



...and across a meadow...





...I quickly returned back to where I started.

And I wondered what I'd been so worried about.

Nearby / Related Hikes:
Sandstone Peak
Los Liones to Parker Mesa (Day)
Los Liones to Parker Mesa (Night)
Will Rogers State Historic Park

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