There was no way to predict how the sunny afternoon would unfold, but I knew that I needed to take a break and get out into Nature. My recent relocation back to Los Angeles has been incredible, but city living is best when balanced with visits to mountains, beaches, and the fulfillment of longings for adventure. As it would happen, three schedules magically aligned, and I found two friends joining my impromptu journey after they learned of my plans to drive up the Pacific Coast Highway later that day.
Armed with several sunscreens and a shared willingness to explore from a place of wonder rather than focused direction, we ventured out along the curvy ocean lined highway. The sun shone across the cool blue waters, and we settled into the rhythm of the unfolding road. Multimillion dollar homes smiled upon us from the cliffs above as we wound our way through Pacific Palisades and Malibu. After a quick seafood lunch by the ocean, we were back on the road heading up into the verdant Malibu Mountains.
Tucked between the mountain ranges that separates the western coastline from the San Fernando Valley rests an idyllic little town called Topanga Canyon. Its vast green mountain ranges seem a sharp departure from the cement cityscape so near, and it was for this very reason that I detoured us in that direction. Ahhh Nature.
I directed us towards the hiking trail I’d visited last month. But adventures have their own ways of unfolding. When the street I sought eluded me for longer than was comfortable for my companions, I conceded, pulling instead into the next available left turn.
“It’s not a through street,” my friend pointed out. “Then, we’ve arrived,” I announced, pulling the car over and hopping out of the vehicle.
We found ourselves on a creek-lined residential cul de sac, with tall eucalyptus trees growing beside cacti plants on the nearby hillside. One tree in particular called to me, and I clambered up the soft dirt hill to hug her. This was how the resident at the end of the street found me, arms wrapped gratefully around the tree.
“It’s okay,” he told me as I stepped back, an apology forming on my lips. “Nothing I haven’t seen before.”
He dipped back into his home, returning moments later with glasses of ice water for us all. “I put mint leaves and lemon slices in it,” he smiled. What? Gotta love Topanga!
With a bit of inquiry about where we were from, he offered to show us around the vast property, sharing its remarkable history. The home had been owned by musical legends of the sixties, he explained, and many top hits of the era had been birthed and recorded at the home. Impressive names like The Mamas and the Papas, The Doors, and Willie Nelson, conjuring many memorable soundtracks of the peace-loving counterculture. Wow! We looked at each other marveling in the unexpectedness of our journey. A nearby sign provided an apt theme for our day: Unpredict the Journey.
The sun’s dip along the surrounding mountainscape cast shadows marking time for our departure back down the hill to water’s edge. Resolved to visit the ocean before our return home, we parked and excitedly danced up the pier. And, because the day wanted to offer something new, different and obscurely awesome for each of us, a wienermobile drove up to the beach. Unpredictably bizarre, and exactly the thing for one of my friends.
“That just made my day,” she grinned. For some of us it’s seafood, or tree hugging, and others find joy in seeing a giant hotdog car cruising the beach. We all returned filled up with the nourishment of Nature’s beauty, the unexpected, and a needed shared journey.