Scruffy clouds clung to the mountain ridges and summits, confirmation that a weak cold front was moving through the area, cooling temperatures and stirring up the wind. The forecast for the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area had mentioned 25 to 35 mph winds with gusts to 60 mph. So far the weather in Pt. Mugu State Park had been nearly perfect — breezy and little chilly, but without the impenetrable winds that can take all the joy out of running.
Earlier we had climbed the Fossil Trail, a steep mile-long trail that connects the Upper Sycamore Trail, near its junction with Sycamore Canyon Road, to the Old Boney Trail. With only a few weeks remaining to the Solstice, shadows in the canyon were long and the light wintery. I thought we might have missed the fossils, but we happened on a nice exposure about a tenth of a mile below the Old Boney Trail junction.
About 5.5 miles later, we turned off the Old Boney Trail and descended to the rolling grasslands of Serrano Valley, another “must see” area of the Santa Monica Mountains.
Located on the east side of Big Sycamore Canyon, Serrano Valley is a more rugged counterpart to La Jolla Valley, just three miles to the west. Overseen by the castle-like summits of Boney Mountain, its vistas have a roughhewn edge, reminiscent of the most wild areas of the western U.S.