Join musician and outdoorsman Butchy Fuego over the course of a four-day trek through the Backbone Trail across the Santa Monica Mountains. The Backbone Trail, in development for decades through the efforts of many public and private agencies and organizations, was officially completed in 2016. It is comprised of 67 miles of unbroken trail in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. This National Recreation Trail passes over impressive ridges, reaching its highest point at Sandstone Peak, and traverses through chaparral hillsides, canyons, and oak woodlands. Follow Butchy Fuego as he starts his journey at Will Rogers State Historic Park, meeting climbers, conservationists, beekeepers, trail workers, and fellow travelers along the way, before completing his adventure at the Pacific Ocean at Point Mugu State Park.
Backbone Trail – Day 1
Musician and outdoorsman Butchy Fuego prepares for his first day on the Backbone Trail at his home in Echo Park before heading to the trailhead at Will Rogers State Historic Park. Along the way, Butchy learns about beekeeping from Eli Lichter-Marck, founder of Eli’s Bee’s along the banks of Rustic Canyon Creek.
Backbone Trail – Day 2
On Day 2 of his journey, Butchy runs into a group of third graders from Topanga Elementary Charter Scholl out on a “Science Hike.” Butchy also talks with some climbers at the Corpse Wall at the Saddle Peak climbing area. He also learns about wildlife conservation at the California Wildlife Center at Malibu Creek State Park.
Backbone Trail – Day 3
On Day 3 of his trek, Butchy speaks with Raisca Cruz, NPS Ranger, about the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. He also meets up with the women of Malibu Fire Camp 13 who perform trail maintenance on the Backbone Trail. Butchy ends his day at an outdoor concert and dinner party at the Saddle Rock Gardens.
Backbone Trail – Day 4
On the last day of his trail adventure, Butchy Fuego reflects on his Backbone Trail experience. He chats with fellow hiker and fitness guru Jim Baird about the impact of the trail on the area. The day ends with a dip in the glistening Pacific Ocean as Butchy completes his hiking experience.
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A thru hike on the Backbone Trail in 4 days is probably a little extreme for most of us. If that’s you, I recommend this book by husband-and-wife hikers and authors Doug and Caroline Chamberlin. In their book they break up the Backbone Trail into a bunch of great day hikes, traveling east to west. The hike descriptions are very detailed and includes locations for water and restrooms. Check it out on Amazon!
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