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The Great Hikes:: Post-Rain Conditions

To the credit of their builders, our local hiking trails weathered the recent rains in remarkably good condition. It was the longest and hardest deluge in a generation and the trails suffered minimal erosion and virtually no major slides.

Our Monday-Wednesday night hiking group recently trekked Will Rogers Park as well as Capri and we were pleasantly surprised by the conditions. Last year’s newly built zig-zaggy route up to the bridge in Will Rogers looks pristine and smooth. Even the fast u-turns apparently banked the water flow safely downhill away from the flat of the surface. There was no pooling, a handful of rocks tumbled into the trail and one spot just around the bend from the cut-off to Inspiration Point had had a minor dirt slide. Otherwise, Will Rogers is fully safe and ready for your exploration.

Capri is basically in good shape as well, albeit challenged by the on-going construction lining both sides of the trail from the entrance to about a quarter mile up the road. The pavement of the main trail has one small but treacherous sink-hole (and the speed bumps are always a little tricky at night). Capri is one of those trails that can be as interesting as you want to make it. You can stay on the pavement for a pleasant walk, pick up some ridges to the east, or head west, down into Rustic Canyon for more adventurous exploring.

We could hear the Rustic stream roaring down below and assumed that the canyon floor was pretty wet. Keeping to the trail, a visit to the old water tank (a huge sunken reservoir just behind the wrought iron gates) and a short ridge or two made a perfect 90 minute hike, especially on a warm and clear January night with the Santa Anas blowing.

There is an odd two-story structure under construction on the east side of the Capri trail, just beyond the fire gate. It’s unclear what the windowless building will be – call me up if you know the answer. Directly across from it, however, there is a set of steps that head steeply down into Rustic that our group, at least, had never taken before. The steps quickly fade away into a dirt switchback route and ultimately emerge on the canyon floor just above the flowing stream.

Capri is known for its access to Rustic and a half a dozen different mini routes connect the ridge to the lower canyon. Some of its other long and challenging step trails make the popular Santa Monica “steps” seem pale in comparison.

There are 21 different hikes on our Monday-Wednesday repertoire. We hope that you’ll join us in discovering the remarkable diversity of untamed terrain right here in our local Santa Monica Mountains – especially while the trails are in such good condition.

Fearless readers interested in free Monday – Wednesday night hikes should call Scott Regberg at (310) 475-5735

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