24 Hikers Complete Backbone Trail Trek 2011

Story by Jerry Mitcham
Photos* by Jerry Mitcham

The annual Backbone Trek was conducted May 7 14, 2011. Success of the event was foretold early when the maximum number of 25 registrations filled up in mid March. The earliest sell out ever!

One hiker dropped out at the last minute, but the remaining 24 hikers rendezvoused with the seven full time volunteer staff at La Jolla Group Camp on Saturday afternoon. It was an enthusiastic group, bubbling with eagerness to begin the trek the next day. Many friendships were renewed with the veteran volunteer staff and several repeat hikers.

The trek began on Sunday morning at the Ray Miller trailhead. The group hiked from 9 to 12 miles a day for the following seven days. There were many sore legs and blistered feet, but all 24 hikers completed trek the following Saturday, at Will Rogers Historic State Park with no serious injuries and no regrets. It is safe to say all participants felt a great sense of accomplishment upon completion. With the exception of a light rain shower the third night on the trail, we were fortunate to have beautiful, near perfect weather the entire week. The spring rain produced many wildflowers for our pleasure and we counted over 150 blooming species.

We were pleased by sightings of various wildlife, including deer, raccoons, a mountain king snake and a wide variety of birds.

As has become tradition on the trek, we were treated to superb meals in camp every evening. The food coordinator and food volunteers deserve our many thanks for the excellent meals.

This year, the Trek received much public attention due to the coverage in one of our local newspapers. Zeke Barlow, a staff writer for the Ventura County Star, accompanied us on the trek. Every evening he emailed pictures and a written account of the day's hike to the paper, which then printed it in the following mornings edition. His writing style included many facts about the Backbone Trail incorporated with personal stories of experiences of the trek hikers.

We were also accompanied occasionally by one or two videographers who created and maintain an internet web site titled "Hikes You Can Do". This web site features short videos describing hikes in the Los Angeles area. They have now added the Backbone Trek as one of those featured hikes. You can visit the site at http://www.losangeleshikingguide.hikesyoucando.com/.

The 2012 Backbone Trek is tentatively scheduled for the dates of May 5 12, 2012. Mark these dates on your calendar. Due to the publicity we received this year, we expect to fill the event early. Registration begins in February, watch the web site at http://www.smmtc.org/bbtrek/.

Photos shown on this page may also be viewed on Flickr.