Sunday, July 14, 2013

Day 970: Backbone Trail - Lois Ewen Overlook - Hondo Canyon Trail - Fossil Ridge Trail

Views of Red Rock from the Backbone

Day #970 * Hike #1238* New Track #954
Backbone Trail - Lois Ewen Overlook - Malibu, CA
Hondo Canyon Trail - Fossil Ridge Trail
Saturdayday July 13, 2013
My Tripometer: 3.75 Hours * 8.75 Miles * +1750 Feet

Today's course - taking a 4.4 mile chunk out of the Backbone
(8.8 miles roundtrip)
From the 101 Freeway, exit on Topanga Canyon Road and head south towards the Ocean.  Pass Old Town Topanga and Topanga National Park.  Look for Fernwood Pacific Road on your right and then head up the road.  This eventually becomes Tuna Canyon Road and continue onward.  Turn right up Saddle Peak Road and take that to the Lois Ewen Overlook which you will see on your right.
 Views to the North

 Topanga Ridge Motorway railhead to the east (Backbone)

 Turn right on the Fossil Ridge Trail 0.1 miles from the Overlook

A short option here would be to follow the road to Topanga Lookout.  I figured that I may take a stab at that when I complete this mission but as it turns out, I had nothing left in the tank to do so...

 Ocean Views!

So I was up in this area on the Fourth of July and just had to come back.  It was a completely clear day and the views were to die for.  I didn't take pictures then and unfortunately, the hazy marine layer obstructed the marvelous view.  Still, pretty awesome sight.

I did this trail backwards today.  Starting at 2365 feet you will begin a brief climb before making the long decent.  Most people would park on Old Topanga Road to hike this stretch but I figured with Mt. Whitney coming up, I wanted to end this 8+ mile journey on an uphill climb...

 Nice house on the mountain

 The trail is in great shape

Turn left on the Hondo Canyon Trail (Backbone)
This is an alternative trailhead entrance off of Saddle Peak Road

 Another view  ...  Heading Down...
 First mile from the car is under the open sun at 90 degrees...

 Then easy switchbacks and downhill in the shade

 split rock

 over an hour later, a fence, must be getting close...

 Looking back, came from way up there!

 Passing Red Rock...

 Out in the sun and still going down...

 This is a great rest point...

It's a bad picture but this rock offers a place to relax in the shade for a snack.  I knew I was close to the Old Topanga Road Trailhead so I bypassed this spot for now...

 Okay, still heading lower - getting annoying - It's a long 4+ miles...

Success!  Made it to the trailhead

Connection Point.  I hiked on the other side with Sammi a couple of months ago.  One reason why I went the other direction then was because that way there was no "No Dogs Allowed" sign.  The way I just came from was clearly marked, No Dogs!

Without delay, I turned back and began the nasty climb up.  Under direct sun light the trail became difficult.  At 3/8th's of the way back, I stopped by the rock, drank a Gatorade and ate a snack.  Perfect refueling before the dreaded up up hill battle...

Along the way I saw a deer but I was so startled, so was she, no picture.  I rounded a turn and she was less than five feet from me, creepy...  I also spotted a small quick moving snake.  It had some sort of neon stripe but was out of sight before I could snap the pic!

Near the end, my legs began to cramp.  I was breathing heavy and then thinking, next month I will be climbing Whitney.  To put that in perspective, it will be like turning back down and doing this hike again for a second and then third lap!  Even that won't match the elevation gain nor does it factor in the high elevation and thin air that I will be taking in.  Am I in trouble or what?

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