The Legs Were Like Life
Well, the Backbone Trail in the Santa Monica Mountains is 68 miles up and down from Pacific Palisades to Pt. Mugu State Park. We quartered this trail into 4 runs into our Sunday runs. It was a little of a pain, since we scheduled so that most of the cars were at the finish and we took runners to the start.
Leg 1 started at Will Rogers Park in Palific Palisades in a light rain. As we climbed, the temperature lowered and the rain was raining harder. We then sled down the Musch Trail and the Dead Horse Trail in slick mud in the rain--what a kick! Then we ran as a loyal group on an often used connector to the trail that climbs Hondo Canyon. Now the rain
was heavier and the slop was sloppier and a couple of us were having difficulty locomoting. We didn't seen any sign of our missing two comades, and we also didn't see two other shorter paths and figured they must have gotten ahead of us. Of course, then we removed the trail ribbons--Big Mistake. The lost 2 had no more trail markers and it was cold and raining. Thankfully a Good Samatarian put these 2 soaked and muddy strays were driven to the top of Schueren Rd. in a new Range Rover. At the finish, it was pouring and the wind was +30 knots--it couldn't be any better.
Leg 2 began at Schueren Rd. and continued through Saddle Peak and down to Tapia Park and up the climb to reach Corral Canyon and down Latigo Canyon Trail. A couple mis-directed to Castro Peak and righted their course back which ends down to Kanan Road. Cell phone communication relieved the flock was intact. It was a pretty successful trip.
Leg 3 was a new course for almost of us. Our trip is from Kanan Road, and our NPS refrains large flour arrows on our trail intersections. We were stumbling a bit with our oiled machinery and we were starting slightly late, but we were going to speed up getting to the start. At this point that darned radar trap slowed the group with a ticket. Then later a runner missed a trail intersection. She was safe but she was not found to re-connect with the group that included into a newly almost acquired Backbone Trail, and it was a very blessed experience. The weather, the new trail, and the beautiful view were what it is about.
Leg 4 started up from the Mishe Mokwa parking lot and climbed up Sandstone Peak and then declined Chamberlain Trail and Blue Canyon Trail for a 5 mile downhill kick-butt. After replenishing water at flat Sycamore Canyon, the Wood Canyon Vista Trail pulled the uphill to the Overlook Fire Road and finally reached the final to the Ray Miller Trail down to the beach. OK, it was great, but Mother Nature was foggy and we didn't see the blue Pacific and the "curvature of the Earth", but my God--this is heaven. If Kilroy was there, he would be there.
I wouldn't miss this experience for anything. If every weekend run was easy, not lost, downhill only, and your car was ready, it was boring. Anytime, I'll take the TRC Sunday Run rather than going to the Small World at Disneyland every Sunday. These Legs were life--the ecstacy, the disappointment, the pain, the mud, even getting lost--I loved it.