We discovered one of these canyons during our brief exploration of the Santa Monica Mountains last summer. We first crossed the mountains the previous day over a steep, narrow winding road over a high pass. But the next morning we crossed the mountains by simply following a canyon all the way across. How did the little stream in Malibu Canyon manage to carve its way across the mountains?
The Santa Monicas are geologically a very young mountain range, having been pushed up only in the last few million years. One would not expect that rivers would be able to effectively carve deep canyons in such a short period of time, but that doesn't take into account several other factors: the increased precipitation during the ice ages, almost yearly flash floods, and the effect of rare but astonishing "atmospheric river" storms.
In the heart of the mountains we encountered Malibu Creek State Park, a strikingly beautiful area of high sandstone cliffs. As we drove through, I had a sense of déjà vu, even though I was sure I had never been here before...
California's oil reserves.
Paramount Ranch, a former studio property that is now a part of the federally administered Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. Dr. Quinn, Medicine Women was filmed here, as were a great many movies including Paleface" (1948) and "Son of Paleface" (1952), "Gunfight at the OK Corral" (1957), "Fancy Pants" (1950), "The Virginian" (1946), "Whispering Smith" (1948), "The Forest Rangers" (1942), "Miracle of Morgan's Creek" (1944), "The Perils of Pauline" (1947), "Geronimo" (1939), "The Streets of Laredo" (1949), "Buck Benny Rides Again" (1040), "Ruggles of Red Gap" (1935)," "Gunsmoke" (1931), "The Plainsman" (1936), "Hopalong Cassidy Returns" (1936), "Wells Fargo" (1937), "Union Pacific" (1938), "The Adventures of Marco Polo" (1938), "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" (1938) and "Reds" (1981).
A western-style movie set is still maintained, and the park is still used for film productions. The day we came through, someone was preparing to shoot what the ranger described as a hip-hop video as imagined in the wild west.
The Other California is my continuing series of the lesser-known geological sites in our beautiful state. Thanks to Mrs. Geotripper for the use of some of the pictures above!