Earlier this month our little group of hikers walked the grueling Segment two of the Backbone Trail.
the ridgeline trail of the Santa Monica Mountains known as the Backbone Trail ties together almost seventy miles of individual parks from their westernmost point at Point Mugu (at the Pacific Ocean) to Will Rogers State Park.
In her email describing the trail Edith wrote:
We’ll hike about 12 miles, including some moderate to strenuous uphill portions (ascend about 1,500 feet and descend about 3,000 feet) making this the longest and most strenuous segment on the trail.
It will be a long day. We’ll most probably be hiking for 6-7 hours, and will need to allow plenty of time for shuttling between starting and ending points. (As the crow flies, the two points are only a few miles away — but by car we’re looking at approximately a 45-minute drive).
Only seven of us braved the hike.
We were rewarded with stunning views
some fascinating geology
plus the knowledge that we were in a sacred spiritual area!
The National Park Service website describes the area of the hike thus:
Coastal Sage Scrub, Oak Woodlands and Chaparral.
Chaparral grows at a higher elevation than Coastal Sage Scrub and requires more water, although chaparral plants are still considered very drought tolerant.
You’ll go from just above sea level at Danielson Ranch to the highest point in the Santa Monicas (Sandstone Peak at 3111 feet).
The photograph of the sign at left was at the highest point 3,111 feet.
The description of Segment #2 ends with a Caution:
This hike is a steady uphill ascent from sea level to 3000 feet.
I didn’t realize that we’d not only hike up to 3,111 feet, but go all the way back down to sea level, and then back up again – though not as high – at the end.
I was so stiff after the hike I had trouble walking for several days.
3. Type of Trails:
You will hike partly on old fire roads,
partly on multi-use trails,
and partly on single track trails.
Personally I prefer to hike on sandy trails rather than on tarmac, but on this segment of the trail the paths were strewn with loose stones which made going downhill more difficult.
Next time we’ll hike with poles.
I only slipped once, landing politely on my behind.
I didn’t hurt myself (just my pride).
After that I was careful where I placed my feet, and I feel I spent too much time looking down instead of enjoying the view, but that’s how I could spot stuff like this animal toilet on the path…
You will see evidence of the geologic changes all around this area, especially at Sandstone Peak, which is not sandstone at all, but volcanic in nature.
I wrote about the first two hikes here
Our little group has hiked about thirty of the sixty-seven miles.