Welcome Back to the Backbone Trail System. This journey was completed with a high intensity pace around partially familiar terrain. For trailhead instructions, please follow:
Today's journey looped deep into wilderness. This was one that I had wanted to do for some time, and finally in November of 2016, I did it! I will say though, my pictures from January of 2013, my Day 803, were pretty awesome. I traveled then with little kids, but today I was on my own. (It's taken me over a year to publish this lost-found hike).
I was in my first four months of the TV Show, Fit To Fat To Fit. The note above was signed at the Mt. Allen Peak, a/k/a Sandstone Peak, which is the highest point in the Santa Monica Range. In conjunction with my Day 803, I hiked here Day 546: Sandstone Peak.
Hmm, there are two different trailheads within a mile apart. You can do this loop from either one.
Note to readers, and to myself, it seems that everyone turns up the off-trail to reach the peak. Its definitely manageable, but it is steep with loose rock, not good for young tikes. However, if you just keep on the main trail for a hundred feet (if memory serves right), voila, there is a well maintained stair case to the top. I only discovered this on the way back down and did not know about it the first time because then, I turned back as most people do from here...
Today we run into the backcountry. It's awesome, start with a switchback like system down, but not too far. Just a bit of relief since all you did to get to this point was climb up. It takes you into the back rocky valley. I was running for the most of it...
Inspiration Point isn't too far out. Take a break from the main trail and wander over for a literal minute. Your view-scape opens broadly!
Back to the Trail, and now heading towards Tri Peaks. I hiked to here from the Newbury Park side on: Day 192: Boney Mountain. Finally starting to connect all the dots on my hikes, but still so much more to do, including in this area to further connect the backbone.
Experience amazing! Although, you can seriously get spun around up here. I am no compass head and certainly, I did double back in a spot or two. Between miles 4 - 7, I think I saw one person. I questioned myself, where am I. Do I take this trail or that? The distance started feeling longer than it was, but I know that to be normal. However, I was doing a lot of running so I did get a bit nervous and was running low on water. If I recall, I was shooting some video with the diary cam for the TV show. They did not use the footage but I imagine that I will at some point go through it and slap it up with this hike.
Oh, there's someone. The spine of the Santa Monica Mountains in the broadest place with the least concentration of mankind. There were some ocean views but my phone camera then, before I upgraded to iPhone, was not of high quality. I still have my good Canon from my blogging days, but it's too bulky and I've gotten lazy.
A trail sign, reassurance and soon back to familiar ground, Split Rock. If I turn back the clock to like 15 years ago, I recall being by the so-called Tri Peaks area, and I remember there to be a ledge you can climb, a small cave and a sign in book. I was upset that I could not find that exact same spot on this trip. I remember the old one where Domino, my young dog then, patiently waited for me because it was impossible for her to climb. I'm gonna have to come back here again, for multiple reasons. Now that I think about it, when I shared this hike on FB, I zoomed in on one of these pictures and saw what seemed to be an etched out face in the rock. I never heard of anyone talking about this before and there were no actual signs of etching. A natural Mt. Rushmore! Where's that photo? I think it's one of these - I'll mess around some time to highlight it again, but I'm in a rush right now to find my parking ticket. I have court tomorrow!
I got out of there just before dark. This area is a great place to visit, not really intended for the overnight, but if you pack well and go deep, you could probably get away with it. However for me, I would only intend this area to be for Day Hikes. Go early and have a good time...