Wildwood Park – Thousand Oaks – California

Night has fallen, a crisp air rises and lingers. My friend and I step towards the trail head with no moonlight to light our path. We brave the unknown trail in the dark, taking in the silhouette of the mountains against the long faded sun. Crickets, traffic, planes, and faint whispers sing amongst the silence. The stars bright above us, we point out the constellations we know to one another, then begin our journey once again down the dirt zig zag path. In one wrong move, we will be painfully pulling cactus from our bodies. My friend hands me a headlamp as we slow and steady descend into the dark hole before us, stopping ever so often to look up and watch the stars hang in the night.

The darkness welcomes chatter, this is a time where deep questions appear and a place where answers aren’t judged, but understood. A time where you can take off the mask, knock down the walls and trust. Our conversation takes us to Paradise Falls. The roar of the water overpowers our words. We stand at the base and take in the sounds of the rushing water and stare at the stars in silence. I am speechless at the grand splendor of the sky and am loving this moment, where God’s creation penetrates our senses, each of us basking in the sense of calmness from our Creator.

We choose to follow the waterfall to the top and walk along the river that feeds it. The trickle of water leads our way around bends and up steep hills. We climb out of the deep dark abyss to light again in search for the Big Dipper, that hasn’t appeared in our view just yet. As we make our way back to the trail head, we encounter more faint walking lights and whispers.

For my first night hike, I have to say that I look forward to doing this again, same time, same location.

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