06 . 07 . 18
PHOTOS | LAUREN KIM, AIDAN T. E. GALASSETTI
WRITING | AIDAN T. E. GALASSETTI
The first time we tried to breach the aqueduct we came up short. Dusk was descending rapidly as we sifted quixotically through the shrubs for the entrance to the steep descent. By the time we located the crooked signpost signaling the ingress we could barely see a meter ahead. The moon had eclipsed when we threw in the towel. The black water glinted a mile beneath us, teasing us to return another time.
We came back a year and a half later during the first week of summer. After blowing a tire on the 405, securing a 64 pack of tiny gatorades, and walking a mile along dusty Malibu roads, we arrived at the mythic entrance to the aquatic behemoth.
We rappelled down the walls of the valley, removed our shoes to traverse algae coated basins, boosted one another to scale rusty ladders, and held our breath across concrete balance beams 300 feet in the air. Upon reaching the watering hole shore we realized the swath of liquid between us and our final destination (a concrete cliff face jutting over the quarry pool) would inhibit us from bringing any of our gear.
At that moment the reeds parted and two derelict boogie boards drifted toward us. A quick strategy was formed compelling Brent and I to load over 6000$ worth of gear into a red backpack that would be placed on the center of the boards. We doggy paddled the viking funeral imitation from point A to B, careful our swinging arms wouldn't unbalance our precarious assembly, and unloaded our equipment safely on the opposite rocky shore. What followed can be seen below.
What can't be seen below is the car accident that happened later that night. We clambered up the hill to see a snake of red lights looping through the hills. An accident ahead had brought the pass to a standstill, forcing us to walk a mile back to our vehicle (and its parking ticket) under darkness. A few energetic rounds of contact kept morale high as we trekked. After observing another car crash at the first intersection we encountered we eventually made it back to Echo Park - crusty and dusty from a full day in the wilderness. We stopped at Leon's taco truck and the neighboring Taco Bell to process that day's events, laying on the grass sipping Baja Blasts and devouring al pastors in the humid LA air. •