Saturday, August 06, 2005

A Day at the Beach

One of the great things about California is that it has a beautiful coastline, and one that is zealously protected for the enjoyment of all. Some of our beaches are easier to get to than others, but some of the hard-to-get-to beaches are worth the effort. My husband and I don't get to the beach nearly as often as we should, but today was a hot summer day, and we found ourselves with no plans as George had been scheduled to work but got a reprieve, so we packed a picnic lunch and set out to visit the beach at Point Dume. It's one of George's old favorites, and one I'd never been to, so I was eager to check it out. The beach lies at the foot of a steep cliff, and access requires hiking a trail along the clifftop and then descending a long steep flight of steps. Not only that, but the Malibu mansion owners at the top of the cliff do their utmost to discourage beachgoers, so there are few legal parking spots within a mile or two of the trailhead. At the foot of the steps is a rocky area, but after hiking through that, there's a nice long stretch of sandy beach. The cliffs are a fascinating geological study, with exposed striations of sedimentary rock in layers of various color, and the mostly horizontal patterns occasionally disrupted by sharp bends. Not far offshore we could see kelp beds, and the variety of shells on the beach suggested marine life was thriving there. We also saw several people snorkeling, so there were probably interesting things to be seen in the reefs. We walked to the far end of the beach before setting up our chairs, where we enjoyed a nice picnic of chicken and gazpacho, followed by a lazy afternoon of reading, walking, and just relaxing. Given the remoteness of the spot, we saw probably only a few dozen people the whole day, and by the end of the afternoon we pretty much had the beach to ourselves. Not bad for a 45-minute drive from downtown LA!

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