The top of Saddle Peak. This is an optional portion of The Backbone Trail (wish I had known that before)—you can cut around it and take Stunt Road if you don’t want to deal with the elevation. It was one hell of an uphill climb. But at the top, there are these wild rock formations. Insanely beautiful, rising up proudly from the mountain. Once you cross through them, there is a divide in the trail, lined with wildflowers. To the right takes you to the mountain’s edge, where you can look upon the entire Pacific. To the left is the Santa Monica mountain range. It’s a sight for sore eyes.
Another view from the Backbone Trail. This was somewhere around mile 30.
This is the portion of the trail that cuts through Topanga Canyon. I have never hiked a more lush and vibrant trail before. There was so much vibrancy and diversity in the plant life. It was beautiful. And the smell of the sagebrush and chaparral was like perfume—it was spellbinding. Added an otherworldly element to this hike.
At 5:30AM on the morning of day 3, my pups woke up with a limp. I cleared out my pack, placed her in it, and tightened that thing like all else around her so she wouldn’t jump out. Made the (in total) 3 mile detour from Musch camp back to Tippet Ranch to drop her off with my brother, then continued on to finish my journey. She doesn’t look like she minds all that much.
This was only mile 4 or 5. If only I had known then how many more I had to walk…Still, it was a stunning view.