Past Meetup

Rescheduled Literary Hike: The Picture of Dorian Gray and Peak near Castro Peak

Hosted by The PM Hikers

Public group

This Meetup is past

11 people went

Newton Canyon Trailhead

1600 South Kanan Dume Road · Malibu, CA

How to find us

Free parking lot just east of Tunnel 1 on Kanan

Location image of event venue


Note: Parking can get full on weekends, so carpooling is a good idea. A group will meet at the Agoura Park n Ride at 29165 Roadside Drive, Agoura Hills, CA just off the Kanan exit across from Burger King at around 2pm. We should combine into as few cars as possible and proceed to the trailhead.

Other Note: the road to Castro Peak (5th highest peak in the Santa Monicas) is locked up tighter than the uppermost room in Dorian's house and signs on the gate just might lead one to think that someone really doesn't want anybody going up there. Hmmmmm.... what could they be hiding up there?

From atop our lovely perch we just might get a glimpse of the human inflicted ugliness behind locked doors . . . but will mostly be treated to the uninterrupted vistas of pure and ephemeral beauty of our innocent and youthful landscape, which without our help might never grow old or sick or feeble . . . And now back to the original long winded description...

I rescheduled this from last September for anybody who wants to take a break from Infinite Jest or just join us on an INTERMEDIATE hike to a lovely and wilde spot on a peak next to Castro Peak with a flat picnic area just begging to be used by hikers who love to sit on the ground and discuss a book as the sun sinks into the western murk. Unlike its abused alter-ego, this peak is not covered with antennas and man-made junk, but would certainly love being covered by great ideas and winey hikers. The hike up has some up and down with about 1500 feet of gain. Please do NOT join if you cannot hike 7.8 miles with 1,500 feet of gain at a rate of 3 miles/hour and stay with the group. If you are new to the group, please contact the host with recent hiking experience before joining (and/or bring some serious snacks to share.)

Here is what we do:

1. READ the book(s). Oscar Wilde's only novel, the 1891 Picture of Dorian Gray, has long been celebrated as a classic of philosophical literature and is on many a top 100 list. I'm sure Oprah has either read it or lived it. It's pretty short too! Please read thoughtfully and think of one or two witty things to say that would make Oscar Wilde proud. Here's something to paraphrase from Amazon (what college students do to sound as if they've read a book):

"The Picture of Dorian Gray is the only published novel by Oscar Wilde. It tells of a young man named Dorian Gray, the subject of a painting by artist Basil Hallward. Basil is impressed by Dorian's beauty and becomes infatuated with him, believing his beauty is responsible for a new mode in his art. Talking in Basil's garden, Dorian meets Lord Henry Wotton, a friend of Basil's, and becomes enthralled by Lord Henry's world view. Espousing a new hedonism, Lord Henry suggests the only things worth pursuing in life are beauty and fulfilment of the senses. Realising that one day his beauty will fade, Dorian cries out, expressing his desire to sell his soul to ensure the portrait Basil has painted would age rather than himself. Dorian's wish is fulfilled, plunging him into debauched acts. The portrait serves as a reminder of the effect each act has upon his soul, with each sin displayed as a disfigurement of his form, or through a sign of aging."

2. Be ready to HIKE (with hiking boots, legs, sweat) to a beautiful spot at around sunset (17:41PST). Be able to keep up with the group and get out before it gets darker and grayer than Dorian. Bring a headlamp or flashlight, water, appropriate footwear and clothing. You must be responsible for being fit enough to hike and getting yourself to the destination and back.

3. Bring amazing snacks to share. Your host generally focuses on wine and cheese, but the other two food groups, sugar and salt, are also popular.

The hike: 7.8 miles and about 1500 feet of gain with a lot of up down up up and then down up down down to the cars. This is up well traveled fire road and single track trail with mostly shade in the first part and later exposed ridgetops, glorious valleys, and spectacular ocean views. The route begins at Kanan Road and starts by crossing over Tunnel 1 above Kanan and proceeding easterly about 4 miles and up, gradually winding up through Latigo Canyon, crossing Latigo Canyon Road, and then winding up to a bluff immediately south of Castro Peak. We will return along a fire road and small section of paved road to the Newton Canyon Trail and back to the cars after dark. This section of the trail is shaded so will be quite dark. Please bring a flashlight if you need one to hike safely in the dark.


From the 101 " exit at the Kanan Road exit and drive south (toward the ocean) 7.8 miles, going through two of the three tunnels on this road (which changes name to Kanan Dume Road). Turn right into the Backbone Trail parking area, just before entering the third tunnel.

From PCH " turn up South Kanan Dume Road. Drive 4.4 miles from PCH, going through one tunnel, and then turn left into the Backbone Trail parking area, almost immediately after coming out of the tunnel. Free parking is available at the trailhead.

Rain, fire, serious debauchery will result in rescheduling of this event.

PREPAREDNESS: Bring 1-2 liters/quarts of water (or other suitable liquid) and snacks to share with your fellow lithikers. Please wear appropriate footwear (preferably hiking boots) and be prepared with extra clothing, sunglasses and a headlamp for our return hike. Hiking pole(s) and a camera might come in handy.


The organizer(s) or leader(s) take no responsibility and will not be held responsible for any injuries or accidents that may occur during any reading experience or any hike/outing. These events can be inherently dangerous and accidents will happen.

By participating voluntarily you are taking responsibility for your own safety and well-being and acknowledge, appreciate, and in consideration for being allowed to participate in any way you further agree:

1. The risk of injury, education or creative stimulation from the many of the activities is significant, including the potential for addiction to literature, permanent paralysis and death, and while particular skills, rules, equipment, and personal discipline may reduce this risk, the risk of serious injury does exist; and

2. TO KNOWINGLY AND FREELY ASSUME ALL SUCH RISKS, both known and unknown, EVEN IF ARISING FROM THE NEGLIGENCE OF THE RELEASEES or others and assume full responsibility for your participation; and

3. To willingly agree to comply with the stated and customary terms and conditions for participation. If, however, you observe any unusual significant hazard during your presence or participation, you will remove yourself from participation and bring such to the attention of the nearest official immediately; and

4. You, for yourself and on behalf of your heirs, assigns, personal representatives and next of kin, HEREBY RELEASE AND HOLD HARMLESS PM Hikers, its organizers, officers, officials, agents, other participants, great writers, sponsoring agencies, RELEASEES OR OTHERWISE, to the fullest extent permitted by law.

Activity participant agrees that this release will apply to all known and unknown as well as unanticipated claims, injures and damages resulting from group activities, as well as those now disclosed and all rights under section 1542 of the Civil Code of California and hereby are expressly waived. Section 1542 of the Civil Code of California reads as follows:

A general release does not extend to claims which the (participant) does not know or suspect to exist in his (or her) favor, at the time of execution of the release, which if known by him (or her) must have materially affected his (or her) (participation and agreeing to) the release.

By participating in any group event or activity, you hereby, for yourself, your heirs, assigns, personal representatives and next of kin, your executors and administrators, waive any and all rights and claims for damages you may have against any and all entities and individuals associated with the group, their representatives, successors and assigns and will hold them harmless and free of all liability or claim of negligence related to any and all injuries, disability, illness, death, loss or damage to person or property, suffered in connection with any and all activities organized by the group.