I’ll know I’m an acclimated Californian when the hiking trails classified as “easy” on trail guides are easy. This morning I hoofed it up the winding trail of Las Virgenes View Park, partly because it is at the intersection of Mulholland Highway and Las Virgenes Road where a standoff with a despondent gunman takes place in Connelly’s The Brass Verdict and I hoped to gather any fictional rifle shells left unrecovered by CSI Malibu. Mostly I just wanted to burn a few calories and look down at the Whos in Whoville. Okay, I suppose the trail was “easy” in that I didn’t need caribiners, crampons, belays, pitons, ice axes or bottled oxygen, but it was exercise aplenty for this flatlander: 4.8 miles round trip, rising 500 feet from the trailhead.
When I reached the highest point on the trail (indicated by the pointing hand in the graphic above) I enjoyed 360° of Santa Monica viewing. One view, due east, caught my attention. Raising my binoculars to my — well, where do you suppose? — I stared smugly across the canyons and ridges at my old defeated challenger: Calabasas Peak. (See binocular view insert.) Ha!
But I dared not gloat. Turning 180° I trained my binocs due west and knew another peak had thrown down the gauntlet: