To start 2012, rangers at the Santa Monica Mountain National Recreation Area took hikers on a special trek, hiking the full length of the Backbone Trail in eight sections on Saturdays, twice a month between January and April. The Backbone Trail is the longest hiking trail in the Santa Monica Mountains, starting at the far end of Malibu at Point Mugu State Park and ending at Will Rogers State Historic Park in the Pacific Palisades.
Ranger Mike, one of the leaders of the expedition, blogged about the experience for the National Park Service. He recently published his description of the eighth and final stage of the Backbone Trail, and installment he named, Friendship. Friendship, it turns out, is one of the benefits of hiking nearly 70 miles as a group over beautiful but challenging terrain.
Registration for the 2013 Backbone Trail hike should begin in November. If you are considering joining the expedition, take a look at the Backbone Trail Blog. There are great photos and descriptions of each section of the hike, which you can experience vicariously to whet your appetite.