The Next Time You Run the Backbone…

…maybe send a little love upwards to one who helped create the trails that keep us on the right side of sanity. Linda Palmer died this past June 22 of cancer at the age of 80, having racked up a lifetime exemption from any trail work entrance requirements as well as some serious bonus minutes.

From our friend and hers, H’ard Cohen, who attended the Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council memorial service for her this past weekend, “Linda was a significant force in establishing the trail systems we enjoy today in these local mountains.  Her ability to influence private land owners, developers, state and federal organizations on land use was subtle but effective.  She brought these decision makers out on the trails so they could experience the natural resource and appreciate the value it would bring to future generations.  I worked with Linda on the trails with McCloud in hand and on the SMMTC board for a number of years, and her stewardship of leading conservation efforts in the Santa Monica Mountains will truly be missed.”

You can read more about Linda’s life and work here. Happy trails, scout!

Fall Rainbow_Chris Scott_filter

Photo by Chris Scott

For this hour I ordain myself loos’d of limits and imaginary lines, going where I  list, my own master total and absolute – Whitman

Map Porn Game 2 and Bizarre Lizard Sex

OK, let’s see what THIS blog post title does to our keyword search metrics.

SAMO annotated_square thumbnailWith a nod towards building even greater camaraderie betwixt participants,  Game 2 of the Coyote Backbone Trail Ultra will feature just 2 starting groups. We’ve updated our playground maps and aid station beta accordingly. Check out our latest cartographic creations on our map page here, and aid station details for you and your long-suffering support crews here.

And, perhaps inspired by the extraordinary bump in, umm, exposure Ringneck Snakegenerated by Miley Cyrus’ coming-of-age performance, the National Parks service has spiced up their event marketing with their announcement of their October 6th Live Reptile and Amphibian show. Among the lecture topics: “From Social to Indifferent: Insights into the Bizarre Sex Lives of Southern California Lizards”. It’s probably safe to take the kids, though, so might be kind of a cool event for future Backboners. It’s being held at the Santa Monica Mountains Visitor Center this Saturday from 10am to 3pm, more details on the flyer here. Possible bonus minutes for the first to identify this snake, which can be found throughout the playground.

New Merit Badge Requirement

Hey Webelos and Girl Guides, planning to camp out with us on the Merit badgeBackbone Trail in 2014? Not that you need the prompting, but since the playground’s in need of a little extra upkeep this year, we’ve added a day’s worth of trail work to the entrance requirements for Game 2. We aren’t going to require that you submit proof of completion prior to entry or put an exact number of hours on this – it’s really about scout’s honor and giving back to the trails. ‘Course we might randomly ask you about where and when you “served”, or dish out a little extra pre-race schwag to those who went above and beyond the call of doodie duty.

We’ll keep you posted on upcoming trail work opportunities in the Santa Monica Mountains (or you can follow the SMMTC page here), but of course whatever trail you decide to whack away at is fine by us.

Pic below is from Overlook Trail in La Jolla Canyon, taken about a month ago. Looks a bit different from last year, but we think it’s actually beautiful in a Tim Burton-ey kind of way.

Image by Gretchen Garnett

Image by Gretchen Garnett

Opening Day

H’ard Cohen reporting from the field:

Today the California State Parks opened the remaining portions of Point Mugu State Park that were impacted by the Springs Fire. I ventured down the black b*tch hill (that’s the inland end of the trail for you non-locals) and ran up Little Sycamore Canyon. Definitely “toasted” including an unfortunate Alligator Lizard. The Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council was repairing this trail on Wednesday of this week and did a fine job removing deadfall and rocks from the trail.

Photo courtesy Howard Cohen

Photo courtesy Howard Cohen

Photo courtesy Howard Cohen

Photo courtesy Howard Cohen

Post Springs Fire Trail Work

Photo courtesy Howard Cohen

Photo courtesy Howard Cohen

Time to get busy: the Santa Monica Mountains Trail Council (SMMTC) has created the first two trail work events devoted specifically to restoration of the Backbone Trail following the Springs Fire. See details below, and for a full and dynamic list of all SMMTC trail work opportunities throughout the year, click here.

Please RSVP for one or both dates to Howard Cohen: howard(at) so he can let his SMMTC compadres know how many players to expect. Brownie points and gold stars awarded to all who attend.

Sat, June 8, 8:30 am – 2:00 pm AND
Sat, June 15, 8:30 am – 2:00 pm
Meet at: 4128 W Potrero Rd (at Wendy Dr), Thousand Oaks, CA 91361 (map)

BRING: water, lunch, work gloves, eye protection, sunscreen, hat; wear sturdy shoes, long sleeve shirt, long pants. Tools are provided.