TR: Backbone Trail 2018

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CAMERONM
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TR: Backbone Trail 2018

Post by CAMERONM » Sat Apr 07, 2018 7:18 pm

Backbone Trail 2018. March 26-28, 67 miles, 10,850 ft ascent.

The Backbone Trail (BBT) is a 67 mile trail that connects Will Rogers Park in the south near Santa Monica to Point Magu State Park in the north near Ventura. While an extraordinary amount of coastal mountain land has already been preserved for future generations, the assemblage of smaller land parcels to complete the last few miles of unbroken trail is only recently completed, and the BBT is now designated as a National Recreation Trail. I choose to take the trail in March as there is still a lot of green growth from the recent rains and to avoid the later season heat. I intend a three-day two-night trip and drive around the day before to cache water at three road crossings.
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View of Santa Monica Bay.
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A didactic panel claims that some of the larger prominent rocks on the trail were carried here from places as far away as Arizona some 50 million years ago.
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I do not camp, for it is not allowed except for a few campsites poorly located for my itinerary, but I do "bivouac" in a few scenic spots.
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Day 3: I depart at dawn from a spot overlooking the Thousand Oaks area in order to assure my arrival in time at the end of the day for the celebratory dinner at Malibu Seafood.
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I approach the Boney Mountain-Sandstone Peak range.
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Absorbed in listening to an audiobook, I am doubly surprised when I nearly walk onto a four-foot rattlesnake sunbasking in middle of the trail. I jump back and quickly fiddle with my iphone in order to take a photo while it scurries off the trail making its loud rattle noises. I count twelve rattles.
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I reach my destination in time for my seafood dinner at Malibu Seafood.
I found this trip very enjoyable, with varied scenery, and it is very easy to do since it is just outside my own backdoor. I do believe however that it merits consideration from even our northern California friends, and is the perfect antidote for those suffering from the winter Sierra doldrums.
A longer report with more photos and some trail information can be found at:
https://www.trailnamebackstroke.com/bac ... rail-2018/
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Hobbes
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Re: TR: Backbone Trail 2018

Post by Hobbes » Sun Apr 08, 2018 8:42 am

Honey Badger, is that you? Blue Water (aka Honey Badger) and I did this trail last year. Like you, we went in March and caught absolutely perfect weather. Also, since it was one of the wettest winters in years, the entire range was incredibly lush and green. We were also on the 2 night/3 day plan; like you, we too bivied on fire roads and out of the way cubbies since the established campgrounds were inconveniently placed.

Alas, I bailed at Malibu canyon due to dehydration. Andy had also placed multiple water caches the day before, so we had plenty of water. He finished up the next day, while I caught an Uber back to Will Rogers to get my car.

Highly recommend this hike to anyone in SoCal. March/April is the perfect time frame since everything is so green and the skies relatively clear before the spring fog rolls in.

PS Another region with great spring hikes are the lower (desert) sections of the PCT. Anywhere from Campo (border) to Tehachapi is great - March/April are green, and you can even get snow on the high points.

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Re: TR: Backbone Trail 2018

Post by rightstar76 » Wed Apr 11, 2018 6:54 am

Cameronm, beautiful pictures. The views of the ocean are amazing. I am surprised the rattlesnake was sunning itself on the trail. It must have not been that hot, otherwise it would have been in the shade. Then again, it was late March when you went. I will have to hike it one of these days.

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Re: TR: Backbone Trail 2018

Post by Harlen » Wed Apr 11, 2018 7:58 am

Cameronm, thanks for posting this. We sure like the looks of the "Boney Peaks" sandstone area. Would you say that the northern, in from Pt. Mugu area, was the highlight? We might have just one long day there. But alas, if it's State Park, then no "Wolfie" and "Bear?" Thanks again, the Harlens.

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Re: TR: Backbone Trail 2018

Post by CAMERONM » Wed Apr 11, 2018 9:47 am

@Harlen. I consider the Mishe Mokwa - Sandstone Peak loop to be the best urban hike of Los Angeles, and visit it once or twice every year. The Mishe Mokwa portion of the loop that I bypassed on this hike features dramatic rock faces and is very popular with climbers. I believe that entire loop is dog-leash friendly. It is a 3-4 hour commitment.

The hike up from the Ray Miller Trailhead at the ocean is great for ocean views.

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Re: TR: Backbone Trail 2018

Post by Harlen » Wed Apr 11, 2018 12:00 pm

Sounds great! Our son loves to camp on the surfing beaches nearby, and so he could drop us up high at Mishe Mokwa TH, and then pick us up at the base of the Ray Miller TH. It looks like a little over 16 miles total, with a lot of downhill at the end of the day. Does that plan make sense Cameron? We would run some and hike some of those miles. But doesn't this put us in a State Park- dog unfriendly area at the Ray Miller end? Is the "Mishe Moksa - Sandstone Peak loop a shorter high route? Thanks for your advice.

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Re: TR: Backbone Trail 2018

Post by CAMERONM » Wed Apr 11, 2018 12:47 pm

HI. Not sure about dogs all the way; I would definitely stick to the loop at one end and going up the trail from the coast at the other. The middle bit down from Boney and up to the top of Pt. Magu is not the most interesting.
In the same vein, the Corral Canyon loop of 2.3 miles has great ocean views, and at its base puts you right at Malibu Seafood, where you eat outside with a great view.

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Re: TR: Backbone Trail 2018

Post by Harlen » Wed Apr 11, 2018 1:07 pm

Okay! Thanks, Ian.

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