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The Mosquito Coast

(4/28/08) Written by David G
Photo Credits: Jeff C

The morning fog had cleared and the early birds enjoyed the last dregs of their tepid coffee. Under the pretext of tying boots and scanning the horizon for migrating whales we surreptitiously watched the surfers step out of their wetsuits and change beneath wet towels. With hands in pockets and gear secured we walked through the Westward Beach parking lot. Dodging Range Rovers and the celluloid memories of Baby Jane, Gidget, The Dude, Nova and a post apocalyptic Statue of Liberty we followed a trail up and over the Point Dume rock outcropping. A steep flight of stairs dropped us onto a long flat beach. The tide pools were absent that morning but our boots left their mark in the sand. We climbed back to the top of Point Dume and again took a moment to again enjoy some of Malibu's indigenous wildlife...rock climber guy, wedding party guy, hot dad guy and the very rare Abercrombie Twin guys. There were several stifled murmurs of "Me First" as we made our way back to the cars and the second leg of the day.

We drove 12 miles north to the Point Magu trail. Along the way Mike Brostoff succumbed to malaria but nonetheless, we pushed on and began a 10 mile loop hike. The first few miles were uneventful and we crossed a small ridge and dropped into the lower canyon. The lush vegetation and the last trickle of a winter stream made for a cool respite from the March heat.

Apart from a middle finger salute, there are few gesticulations as universally recognized a sharp wave and a hard slap to the arm. It was noontime and Perfect Pace became perfect eats for blood sucking fiends...not lawyers but a thick swarm of mosquitoes. Nicholas was top on the menu and they hit him like white trash with a 50% off coupon for Hometown Buffet. Scratching and swatting the bugs, we quickly started back up the trail.

At the top of Magu we lunched beneath a large flag and looked out to the Channel Islands. F-18's made their runs over the Magu Air Station and to the east we could see the top of Boney Ridge which we planned on hiking a few weeks later.

After soaking up the sun we started down and crossed a valley of coastal grass that was on the verge of surrendering its spring green to summer brown. A short water stop and it was back up to the top. In full afternoon heat, the enemy found us and the buffet was lined up for the second seating. The mosquitoes must have had their fill or they didn't like the ocean side because they finally left us.

Hitting the parking lot with little blood loss we drove back down PCH for dinner in Malibu. Fortunately Mike had taken sufficient amounts of quinine and he was waiting for us at a banquet table set for 27. A quick recount and we were reseated (with the same hot waiter). In the end 11 Perfect Pace hikers followed Jeff Cuevas into the heart of Malibu. While we didn't have to face the Honduran jungle or the heavy literary allegory of Paul Theroux, we did enjoy a great day hiking our version of the Mosquito Coast.