Do you remember the little girl in the movie Up? The one who grows up to be that rad old lady who dies within the first fifteen minutes of the movie, leading you to fold into your afghan blanket and sob big, fatty, baby tears? I remember her well, specifically right after she won the heart of the young grumpy man and right before she grew up, she said the words, "adventure is out there!"
And oh, oh, oh do I believe it, little vagabond girl! I've said it before; the mundane can be the most excellent and adventure truly is around every corner.
Or in this case, 25 miles north.
Last Saturday, Brett and I took the day off to romp up to Corral Canyon Road, dive headfirst into a post-hike champagne brunch, and slap on our Saturday best for house party shenanigans. IT began very early, which is the best thing to do when you want to devote an entire day to play. In the am we left Culver City to slather our arms in SPF 30 and drive up to Malibu. I've been on a hiking kick ever since I started reading Cheryl Strayed's Wild. (But no I haven't seen the movie yet! The fact that First Aid Kit has jammed their way into the soundtrack is hardcore motivation, but I wanted to get my hands dirty with some pages first.) There's something about the west, the unexplored turf, and the vastness of the mountains that beckons one forward.
In her novel, Cheryl depicts her experience hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. While the hike Brett and I chose is nowhere near the level of the PCT, I couldn't help but think of her journey as we trudged through the dirt and hoisted ourselves across the rocks. She mentions the great intimidation of the mountain range, and how while it may seem like you are hiking to the top of a mountain, there is no such thing. Mountains are earth, and they just roll on and on without rhyme, reason, pattern, or regard for any living thing that chooses to take on their terrain.
Which makes you realize how little you are.
After graduating, I was hungry for a syllabus. I wanted control. I wanted to look at a map and for one state to light up and say MOVE HERE and then for a job that made sense and for the dominoes of my life to fall exactly like they were supposed to. But looking at those mountains with Brett while simultaneously thinking of Cheryl's worlds illuminated the fact that that wasn't going to happen. Humans can control quite a bit; our clothing choices, the foods we put into our bodies, heck, even our happiness. But the list of things that we fall vulnerable to is far longer than the list of things within our grip.
That being said, the mountains are beautiful, and the unexplored territory is kinda fun. There are surprises. Like Jim Morrison's Cave.
NOTE: The cave was not so much a surprise for me. My eight-year-old friend Dylan gave me the heads up, as well as vague instructions on how to find it. I will tell you, dear friends, to the best of my ability, but a lot of it relies on instinct because the path changes depending on how the bushes are growing. Some people like to keep good hikes a secret, but I believe that adventure should be shared among the masses.
You want to drive up to Malibu, making a left on Corral Canyon Road. You'll drive all the way to the end and it will be beautiful and it will feel like you are driving too much and that you are skipping the hike. You are not. Eventually, about ten minutes in, the road will turn to dust and you'll be able to park your car. Take the hike to the back left of the parking lot. Immediately you'll see stacks of stones and smooth rocks that shout CLIMB ME (doooo it). Keep hiking and you'll eventually see this large sphere of rocks that looks like Pet Semetary, but it's not. Turn back around and spy a small clump of rounded rocks and head towards this. There should be a little trail leading back to the caves. Make a left and continue down. The cave will be on your left, as well a little black arrow. Follow it back and you will spy an opening that, I kid you not, looks like a vagina. Climb through the vagina and you are in the cave.
Glance out and see the big, wide world below. Count the mountains. Bring some wine or grapes and have a party. Ride the snake, whatever. I can see why Jim loved this cave and I can see why that little girl shouted "adventure is out there."
- Stay cozy (in a cave!)