Our 6th day of vacation was time for another road trip! We really wanted to go to Santa Monica Pier and drive the Pacific Coast Highway. I also really wanted to hike one of the hills and see the ocean from up high. We decided to do it all at once. We hopped on the Pacific Coast Highway and headed south to Santa Monica. The drive was GORGEOUS!!!! I LOVED it. It is even better than you see on tv. There was a campground right on the beach...I would love to stay there some day! We kept wondering where the Biggest Loser mile was. :) I'm sure we passed it and when watching the finale of the Biggest Loser, I'm pretty sure that mile is right near the campground...that's what it looked like.
On a side note, I guess I never realized that Santa Monica basically is L.A., just the beach area. I always thought it was different, but it is just a part of L.A. It's weird on the highways there because earlier in the week we were on a different highway and I saw a sign for Santa Monica and it said West and L.A. said East. I thought...hmmm...I always thought Santa Monica was the beach, guess I was wrong. A minute later I realized out there, to go West does go to the beach lol...the directions are backwards compared to here.
From Santa Monica, we headed north, back to Malibu to hike. Dave's mom decided to sit in the van and wait for us. We started the trail....it was very flat. I knew we would not be able to see the ocean. We got to the waterfall and saw a sign that the trail up the mountain to go back was only .3 miles longer than to go back the way we came. We decided we'd go that way back. Well, little did we know, it would take a LOT longer going back that way. It was hard work climbing that mountain, but it was fun. Soon though, the sun started to set. I started to get a little nervous, but kept telling myself we'd soon be out of there. By the time we got to where you could see the ocean, it was too dark. :( Finally, we saw another sign saying the parking lot was a quarter mile away. I felt relief. At this point, the sun was pretty much gone. I looked down and saw the parking lot. A minute later, panic set in as I said, "Dave....that's not our parking lot is it?" He quietly and very seriously replied a simple, "No."
So, I am freaking out at this point...we are in the dark on the side of a mountain and don't know where we are or where our car is. I am trying my best to stay calm for Karissa who is sleepy and cranky at this point, but I know she can pick up on my stress and so I try to not think about it. I hear noises in bushes and Dave keeps telling me their birds. I try to believe him, but birds? Seriously? In a bush, at night, moving that much? So my mind right now is saying, "Lord, please get us out of here soon and safely. Lord, protect Karissa." I'm also thinking of an action plan. We are still following a trail and I see cars in the distance occasionally so I'm planning in my head to go flag down a car if we need to. I'm planning on handing Karissa to Dave and yelling at him to run and get her safe in the event that a mountain lion appears. I'm imagining his mom panicking in the van because of course, we had no cell phone reception. It was crazy. So we finally got to the end of the trail and knew we were close to the van. I'll never forget how scared I was and swore I would NEVER hike again unless it was first thing in the morning! lol
The worst part was after we were safely back at our resort, Dave looks online about mountain lions. He found a map that shows where they are found in red. Where we were hiking was red. There was a list of Do's and Don'ts for hiking in a mountain area...No. 1 was Do NOT hike at dusk or dawn when mountain lions are most active. Oh great. How thankful I am that we made it safely!!!! What an adventure!