a whole lot of “tramping” …

Tramping?  Have Mr F and I thrown away our worldly goods? Are we living out of cardboard boxes?

Before I explain, I want you to look at the next three photos (which I took last month), and tell me where I was on this planet of ours. Hey, don’t scroll down and cheat, I can see you 🙂

  (photo credit de Guzman)



I’m so tempted to end the post now because I’m sure you won’t guess correctly, but as I know only too well how challenging it is to keep up with blog reading, I won’t burden you with an extra post.  Make sure to let me know in the comments at the end…

When I use the word tramping, I’m not referring to a homeless person, but the word New Zealanders use for hiking.

Wikipedia describes hiking as “an outdoor activity which consists of walking in natural environments, often in mountainous or other scenic terrain” 

  • In the United States hiking refers to walking outdoors on a trail for recreational purposes. 
  • In the United Kingdom hiking is usually called rambling.
  • Australians use the term bushwalking.
  • New Zealanders use tramping.
  • Multi-day hiking in the mountainous regions of India, Pakistan, Nepal, North America, South America, and Mt Kilimanjaro is called trekking.

When our friends Edith and Jolly sent an email in January inviting us to join them

hiking the The Backbone Trail  in eight segments of between 5.5 and 11.5 miles in length,

starting each morning at 9 am, parking cars on both ends of the trail to avoid hiking out-and-back,

Mr F and I were delighted to join them, as we’ve hiked five to twelve miles every Saturday since December. Simply splendid synchronicity

The above photos were all taken on February 11, 2012,  on the first segment of the trail less than an hour away from our home.

Be honest, didn’t you think we were in some exotic location?

You may only know Los Angeles as a city of dreadful traffic, smog, and all the Hollywood hooplah, but there’s so much more to this city, one example being the hundreds of hiking trails all within an hour of our home…

What’s the Backbone Trail?

It’s taken more than fifty years to put together the almost seventy mile Santa Monica Mountains ridgeline trail known as the Backbone Trail which ties together the individual parks from their westernmost point at Point Mugu (at the Pacific Ocean) to Will Rogers State Park.

The trail has been converted from fire roads,  old animal paths that became single-track trails, with only the newest sections built to modern trail standards.

The path on Segment 3…

Segment 1: Ray Miller Trail (Point Mugu) to Danielson Ranch.

In Edith’s email describing the hike she wrote:

according to the GPS

 8.1 miles will be on the Backbone Trail, but unfortunately there is no parking or vehicle access anywhere near the inland-side end of this segment and we’ll have to hike about 2 miles from Rancho Sierra Vista to join the trail.

Terrain over the course of our hike will mostly be moderate, except for a strenuous 2-mile section in the first half when we’ll gain about 700 feet in elevation.

Seven of us braved the hike.

As the GPS reading on the left shows, we walked a total 11.73 miles.

Lunch time 

The official website described the flora as Coastal Sage Scrub, Sycamore Savannah, Oak Woodlands. And continues:

The group (without Mr F and myself)

“The dry coastal Sage Scrub community is perfectly adapted for its ocean influenced landscape. This community receives very little rainfall, so oils in the leaves help to retain moisture. It is these oils that make the community  so fragrant.

Other moisture savers are grayish colors, small leaf sizes, smaller shrubs, light colors on backs of leaves. Characteristic plants for the coastal Sage Scrub community are sages, buckwheats, sagebrush, and laurel sumac.

The shaded canyon and valley floors benefits from seasonal streams and fog. Characteristic plants there will be Sycamore trees and Oaks.”

Don’t forget the photos at the top of the post were also part of this hike.

* * * *

2. Our second hike, Backbone Segment 3Circle X Sandstone Parking Lot to Yerba Buena Road.

(Note: BB segment number #2 includes a climb of several thousand feet and over twelve miles so we’re giving ourselves extra time to get fit 🙂 )

Hike 2

A very happy Monty Carlo …

We had a larger group for this hike on February 25th: twelve of us plus two happy dogs.

(As this section of the trail isn’t a State park, dogs on leash were permitted to join us.)

 Muka resting in the shade.

The official website describes the vegetation on this segment as Chaparral and meadows.

6.03 miles


The GPS claims that the hike was just over six miles.

Yerba Buena Trailhead

Checking the map.

An [unmentionable word] let’s just say, “someone” or more likely “several someones” turned the above sign around.

We walked almost a mile out of our way before we clued in that we had walked too far from the sign, and turned around.


Bush with blue flowers

Even though we’ve hardly had any rain this winter, the signs of spring were everywhere.

These blue flowers were blooming all along the trail, but unfortunately I can’t remember the name of the bush…

pink flowers..


… or the name of this plant with the delicate little pink flowers.

There are many more photos in the slide-show

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

My apologies to Jolly for taking so long to post this.

About dearrosie

We think we need so much, when all we really need is time to breathe. Come walk with me, put one foot in front of the other, and get to know yourself. Please click the link to my blog - below - and leave me a comment. I love visitors.
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38 Responses to a whole lot of “tramping” …

  1. Beautiful, and I always LOVED it in New Zealand when they’d say — oh are you going off tramping? It just sounded so much more rugged than anything I had in mind, but the trails were so gorgeous and the accommodations were so fun, we did three different treks of 5-7 days each. There is nothing like seeing the land that way! (I’m so proud of LA and CA for putting together the fabulous Backbone Trail!!) and btw – nice job on the slide show, Rosie … way to go!!!

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Betty,
      You’ve done several 5-7 day treks in New Zealand? Wow that must be an experience one never forgets. Lucky you!

      I’ve never actually heard someone using the expression “tramping”. It’s so descriptive isn’t it?

  2. magsx2 says:

    That looked absolutely fantastic, the scenery is really nice, and of course I never guessed where your first photos were taken. 😀

    It was great idea to park the cars at each end, very good thinking.
    I just couldn’t believe it when you said that the sign was turned around, you just have to shake your head sometimes, I will never understand people that do things like this.
    Really nice photos of your hike, I watched the slideshow through a couple of times, and I think it’s great that there are hikes that welcome dogs. 😀

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Mags,
      Everyone has such a mind set of “L.A=Hollywood” that I’m sure you wouldn’t have guessed where we were hiking. It makes me very happy to know you liked my photos. Thank you.

      It works perfectly having cars at both ends. Edith planned it all really well.

      Hard to understand why someone would turn a sign around, but it does happen….

      We hike every weekend at places where dogs are allowed but sadly Monty Carlo can’t join us on most of the Backbone Trail.

  3. What a great post, Rosie. Thank you for all of the wonderful information and photos. I love the views, the dogs, and the blue flowers. “Tramping” is such an excellent form of exercise – I love it because I forget that part. I would never have imagined such a beautiful, natural place so close to L.A. Thanks, again!

    • dearrosie says:

      HI AA,
      I’m delighted to know that you enjoyed tramping with us.

      So you too didn’t guess that the photos were from L.A? We’re so fortunate to live near such a beautiful part of the country.

  4. I do want to ask my daughter about this. She probably may not know. With grandson going on 9, they need to know about these opportunities. What a great tramp you had. Coming from the humid, humid gulf coast, I find higher altitudes refreshingly dryer.

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Georgette,
      I’m sure many people living in L.A. have no idea what beauty surrounds us, or that there are hundreds of places to hike, or how lucky we are to have such perfect weather where we can hike year round.

      Tell your daughter to get one of the many “hiking in L.A.” books and go out on the trails on the weekends with your grandson. She could also join up with a club like the Sierra Club who do organized hikes every weekend.

  5. Oh my word, Rosie — I thought you were somewhere in South America! What amazing photos, and I so enjoyed the mystery and intrigue of your post. 🙂 This line was inspiring — we hike a lot, but I would love to make it a ritual: “Mr F and I were delighted to join them, as we’ve hiked five to twelve miles every Saturday since December. Simply splendid synchronicity.” Beautiful!

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Melissa,
      South America eh? Thank you for answering my question.

      Mr F, Monte Carlo and I used to go out hiking “once in a while”, but now we go out every Saturday we’re feeling so much healthier and empowered.

      It’s not that easy to set aside a block of time each weekend for hiking when there are so many errands and social obligations, but once you’ve hiked several weeks in a row it’ll become a traditional part of your weekend schedule and you’ll miss it if you don’t go ….

  6. Val says:

    Wow! This is amazing, Rosie – and those photos! 🙂 I can’t walk let alone hike (ramble!) because of various health problems but my parents used to go rambling in their youth and I still have a lot of my mum’s photos from those days. (Though all in black and white). 🙂

    • dearrosie says:

      HI Val,
      I’m sorry you aren’t able to go “rambling”, but you can enjoy it vicariously through your Mum’s photos -you’re so fortunate to have them. I wonder whether the paths they rambled along are still in the country?

  7. Arindam says:

    Beautiful photographs. Simply awesome. I hope you had a wonderful time there. Hiking is something I always wanted to experience; but I have not experience it yet. But this year I will for sure. At least after this post, I will go for it for sure. 🙂

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Arindam,
      You’ve never hiked before? Wow I’m so happy you came to my blog today. I hope this post will inspire you to go out and find the trails near you.

      Remember (1) take plenty of water (2) and snacks (3) dress in layers (4) don’t to hike when it’s too hot – you’ll have to go early in the morning (5) it’s best not to hike alone.

  8. Sybil says:

    What a wonderful ramble/hike/wander/tramp you had. What a marvellous trail.

    Do they not allow dogs in state parks ? Can’t imagine camping without my dog …

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Sybil,
      You’re also a hiker so you’d appreciate walking the Backbone Trail. Where did you think I’d taken the photos?

      I don’t know why we could only bring our dogs on walk #3. There are way too many rules and regulations when you live in such a highly populated area like L.A county.

      The California state park website says:
      “In general, dogs are permitted in most state parks but must be on a leash not exceeding six feet in length at all times. It’s always a good idea to call ahead to see if dogs are allowed in the state park you wish to visit. “

  9. souldipper says:

    I did comment already…if this is the second, please delete it Rosie. I said something like this being a perfect way to hike – great trail, like-minded people.

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Amy,
      Only one comment from you. Sorry to hear your first attempt disappeared, but thank you for trying again.

      It’s really lovely to hike with a group – we’ve never done it before.

  10. I like the term “tramping” and think it’s going to join my vocabulary! My husband and I have been doing some research on these very same trails, and to be honest, I learned more from you just now than what I did in previous searches. Now I’m all excited, so great! I nominated you for the Kreative Blogger Award, and posted about it on my site last night. So you are linked! There is no obligation on my part to go forward with this if you don’t have the time, and for me, it took me more than a month, so I guess I can also say, “No hurry!” I really do enjoy your posts, and the nomination is a genuine one! Here’s the details as I’ve posted them….http://breathelighter.wordpress.com/2012/03/13/am-i-talented-just-ask-a-preschooler/ Debra

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Debra,
      I’m delighted to be able to pass on the information of these beautiful hikes to a fellow Angeleno, and happy to know I’ve added a new word to your vocab. Happy tramping…

      I am very honored to be given such a beautiful blogging award especially when it’s given by a fellow blogger. As I said on your blog, an award given my peers somehow means so much more to me than anything else I could’ve achieved.

  11. bronxboy55 says:

    For all the criticism it seems to get, California really does a lot of things right, especially with its natural beauty. Thank you, Rosie, for taking us along.

    • dearrosie says:

      Hey Charles,
      California is such an unbelievably beautiful State I feel fortunate to be living here. I only wish I had more time to explore it.

      Glad you enjoyed tramping with us. This was only parts 1 and 2 and there are 8 segments to the hike. Stay tuned….

  12. Mahalia says:

    So excited to get to do some tramping in S. Cali soon myself, and so glad to have you as my experienced guide ! 🙂 Beautiful pics – so different than how hiking looks around here, and still perfect.

    • dearrosie says:

      Mahalia I so look forward to showing you some of the beauty of Southern California. Coming from your northern climate you’ll find it so different to hike here. Even though the hillsides look very lush and green, remember this is a semi desert region and many of the leaves have adapted to receiving very little rainfall.

  13. Corrie Ten Boom wrote a book called The Tramp for the Lord, I always wondered exactly what that meant… what a fun post! I wish we didn’t get as much rain here in Oregon, going on an amazing hike like this sounds great!

    • dearrosie says:

      Corrie Ten Boom is certainly an interesting woman. But I don’t know what her book has to do with this post – other than she spent her last years in Orange County.

      • I related your “tramping” to the book because of the title not the contents. I never knew what “tramping” meant before I read your post, now I understand it better. It was a complement…or so I thought.

      • dearrosie says:

        Oh silly me, I didn’t connect the “tramp” in the title with “tramping”. That’s what happens when you try blogging after working all day. Of course like anyone else, I like getting complements, and I thank you for coming back to explain.

        Oregon must be so green and lush with all the rain, and I assume you must have trails in the mountains there? I hope you can find a sunny day to go hiking.

  14. Josee says:

    Tuscany? Mahaliesberg? Cape Town?
    How wonderful to be so wrong!!
    And all in your/our backyard!!
    A lovely post, Rosie.
    You truly are on a remarkable new journey!
    Gives new meaning to the words “The Lady is a Tramp” (ahem)….

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Josee
      ooh I love your three guesses. We didn’t tramp up Table Mountain when we were in Cape Town. Unfortunately. I can just imagine the beautiful views on that hike. 🙂

      I’m so happy to know you enjoyed tramping with us. As you said, it’s all there in our backyard, waiting for us, and amazingly it’s all free!

      Love the last line of your comment. Perfect!

  15. E fullstop says:

    Lovely post! Thanks for writing about it. I think there’ll soon be a place for us next to the Wikipedia entries for Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay!

    The bluish flowers are ceonothus, or California lilac, though I’m not sure which species, exactly. In addition to being beautiful, you can put some petals in your palm, add a little water and rub to make a kind of natural “soap.” I’m not sure what the other flowering plant is, but we can ask our floristically-talented cohorts, Julie and Danny, next time we’re on the trail together.

  16. dearrosie says:

    Hey e
    It makes me more than happy to hear that you approve of my post. 🙂

    Thanks for the link for the bluish flowers and for identifying them as the California lilac
    “some of our most fragrant and colorful shrubs here in California”
    Next time we’re out hiking I’m going to rub them and see what kind of soap it makes.

    I hope Danny and Julie will come to the post and identify the other flowering plant.

  17. Pingback: more tramping… | Wondering Rose

  18. Julie says:

    Dear Rosie, a month late in responding. The flowers still are in bloom due to our unseasonal surprises of March and April rains.

    E is correct in identifying the ceanothus aka California lilac. There are six species that grow in our local mountains. It appears the plant you photographed is hairy-leaf ceanothus, as this is the one species with deep blue flowers.

    The ‘delicate pink flowers’ are chaparral currant and produce edible fruit, although relatively dry and bitter. It flowers all winter. We were fortunate to view the last of its season.

    The ‘mystery shrub’ enmeshed with old-growth ceanothus throughout this same trail segment is red shank or Adenostoma sparsifolium, a cousin to the ubiquitous chamise or Adenostoma fasciculatum.

    Thank you for the lovely journal and blog, Rose. It is such a pleasure getting to know you and Mr F. You have already enriched this one’s Life tremendously!


    • dearrosie says:

      Hi and welcome to my blog Julie.

      Thank you so much for taking the time to identify all the plants for us. I apologize for taking so long to reply to your comment.

      I hope I’ll be able to remember the names of everything when we go hiking next time.

      I was interested to learn that the ‘delicate pink flowers’ are chaparral currant and that their fruit’s edible (though not tasty as it’s dry and bitter). Did the early settlers eat it?

      E mentioned in her comment above that the bluish flowers are California lilac, and she wrote that if you put petals and water in your palm, you can make a kind of natural “soap”. We tried making soap on the last hike but it didn’t feel like soap. Is there some trick to making it work?

    • dearrosie says:

      Julie I was so busy answering your comment that I forgot to mention how much Mr F and I have enjoyed getting to know you. Thank you for sharing so much of your wisdom with us.

  19. Pingback: Hiking in California: Backbone Trail Segment 7 | Wondering Rose

  20. Pingback: Hiking in California: Backbone Trail – Segment 8 | Wondering Rose

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