Short of breath, I was painfully aware the setting sun was making faster progress towards the horizon than I was making progress hiking up the steep Chumash Trail on my way to Mugu Peak where I hoped to photograph the view at sunset on this incredibly clear day. The Chumash Trail starts at the Pacific Coast Highway just south of Oxnard. It makes a steep ascent that I was really feeling carrying a backpack with heavy camera equipment and a tripod. The breathtaking vistas I'd see were worth it, but I wasn’t sure I’d make it in time. As it turned out, I didn’t have to make all the way to the top. I reached an overlook that had more than acceptable views of the ocean, Channel Islands and the sweeping coastline. From this vantage point you can see the Mugu Lagoon and the Point Mugu Naval Base. As the coastline sweeps northward even the Port Hueneme Pier is visible and beyond that you can see the ships at the Port of Hueneme at the Port Hueneme Naval Base. And best of all, I’d arrived just in time to capture the scene as the sun was setting. What a treat! I stayed in this spot until it was almost dark taking photographs and hiked back down in the dark.
Located in the Northern part of the Santa Monica Mountain range, Point Mugu State Park, has five miles of shoreline, rocky bluffs, sandy beaches, sand dunes, rocky hills, two river canyons, wide picturesqe grassy valleys dotted with sycamores, oaks and even native walnuts. And there are over 70 miles of hiking trails for you to explore it all.
For more information on the Chumash Trail or other great hikes in Ventura County, visit VenturaCountyTrail.org/TrailMaps/LaJollaValley/AreaTrails.htm and ModernHiker.com/2009/01/27/hiking-mugu-peak/