Friday Photo – July 28, 2017

These landscapes of water and reflection have become an obsession.
~Claude Monet

Today’s Friday Photo comes from the Santa Monica Mountains on a nice little trail that leads to The Grotto, a small cave with beautiful natural skylights amid a flowing pool of water.

The Grotto Trail starts out at Circle X Ranch which used to be an old Boy Scout Camp. It’s one of those less common trails known as the “upside down trail”. The trail descends to The Grotto and beyond. Your return trip is primarily and uphill climb. The up-side (no pun intended) is that it’s a short but sweet 3.5 mile out and back hike to The Grotto, with about 600 feet of elevation gain, or elevation loss if you prefer. This is also a relatively cool trail, in the West Fork of the Arroyo Sequit, with an abundance of shady trees and foliage. Once you get down into the canyon at Happy Hollow, your hiking journey turns into a scramble over huge rocks and narrow passages as it takes you along Arroyo Sequit Creek.

The creek was mainly dry on our hike, with some small pools of water (like the one in this photo) along the way. The pool of water at The Grotto was pleasantly full with a small stream of water descending into it. Based on photos I’ve seen from other hikers, this stream is a nice little waterfall in the rainier months.

The Santa Monica Mountains have a lot to offer. One of the big claims to fame here is also one of the most popular hikes in Southern California: Sandstone Peak, the highest point in the Santa Monicas at 3,111 feet. The 67-mile Backbone Trail is also here. And in Malibu Creek State Park lies the primary filming location for the movie and subsequent hit TV show M*A*S*H (there’s even a hike to the set). And there’s also this Easter Egg trail that leads to a cool little spot called….The Grotto.

~ Photo taken July 16, 2017 9:56 am

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