Sometimes hiking trails, like the Universe, speak to you in mysterious ways.

With all the brushed burned, at least hikers can easily see where the trail goes in Point Mugu State Park. (Michelle Friend)
With all the brushed burned, at least hikers can easily see where the trail goes in Point Mugu State Park. (Michelle Friend)
Point Mugu State Park in general, and Sycamore Canyon (the park’s scenic highlight) have been on my mind lately. Maybe not top of mind, but at least in the back of my mind because last week I wrote about the wildfire that swept through most of the park in early May and how pleased I was that the park re-opened for hiking Memorial Day Weekend.

See Burn Notice: Point Mugu State Park.

“What’s it like to hit the trail in the fire-blackened park?

I found the answer to that question in an unlikely place: the dentist’s office. Just after getting shot up with anesthetic and before getting drilled, The Trailmaster fell into conversation with dental assistant-avid-mountain-biker-hiker Michelle Friend. Michelle had ridden the trails in and around Sycamore Canyon over the holiday weekend and gave me the full report.

How coincidental! (sorry, I couldn’t resist that one)

Each bend in the trail through wildfire-blackened Point Mugu State Park gives you pause to think about how nature might recover. (Michelle Friend)
Each bend in the trail through wildfire-blackened Point Mugu State Park gives you pause to think about how nature might recover. (Michelle Friend)
“It’s all black and it’s obvious the fire burned the whole length of Sycamore Canyon to the sea,” Michelle said, giving me a quick look at the pictures on her smart phone.

“The good news,” she added as I winced at her photos of the park, “is with all the brush burned, you can see where the trails go, see junctions far ahead, spot other trail users in the distance.”

“You’re an optimist,” I say as my jaw goes numb.

“I am,” she confirms. “The trunks of the sycamores in Sycamore Canyon are blackened by the fire but I think a lot of the trees are going to make it.”

On that cheery note, our trail talk ended and my dental work began under the direction of hiker and premiere periodontist Dr. Lawrence Westbury.

Flash forward 12 hours from 2 in the afternoon to 2 in the morning when I’m awakened by the pain in a top right molar. I pop some ibuprophen and while waiting for it to kick in, check my email.

Michelle has sent me photos of Sycamore Canyon that she’d like to share.

And AllTrails.com has sent me its Weekend Guide suggesting that I take a hike to: Big Sycamore Canyon, Malibu, CA

As AllTrails describes Sycamore Canyon it is a “Deep wooded canyon, lovely 80 ft sycamores, mountain views, easy hikebike.” There is no mention of the recent fire and the last comments from trail users were from early in the year when the canyon was lush and green.

Maybe that’s how we should think of Sycamore Canyon—lovely and green, with towering sycamores shading a sparkling creek, picnic areas and a campground. It was that way once and will be again.

Meanwhile life, and hiking, even in burned-out Sycamore Canyon, goes on.

Hike smart, reconnect with nature, and have a great time on the trail.

Hike on.

John McKinney