AUGUST 27, 2012 – Backbone Trail (BBT) North

We were still reeling from the 110 degree temperatures of 2 weeks prior. Though it’d been much cooler for a week, the consensus for our upcoming hike was for the earliest possible start. Seven of us drove in 2 cars to a previously unknown (to me) trailhead at NACMR with Free Parking (GC3ECBF). Well known for my inability to wake up early, I staggered out and followed GeoCraig, Albackore, sissopolis, EcuaDeb, Foocachers (Sr) and BWidget into the foggy gloom.

The main goal for most of us was to find the 8 BBT (Back Bone Trail) caches placed since our group visited the area on July 21. As usual there was a lot of discussion at each early cache.

But when we moved it was at a fast pace. We sped through the Musch Trail to the Topanga Fire Road.

After sitting on a rare red-ant-free spot, snacking and then almost being run down by an aggressive mountain biker we went uphill to Eagle Rock. Three of the new BBT caches were along this stretch of trail. And despite being careful, sissopolis (not Albackore!) got a painful ant sting.

At one cache the subject of PI arose. I started, “3.1415926535” and EcuaDeb recited the next 40 digits. The rest of the group looked at us with varying degrees of awe, annoyance and pity. In their minds I think that Deb & I were elevated to the upper echelons of nerddom. Not much else was said until we reached the new benches and still-under-construction outhouse at The Hub. Those who needed the 2 caches beyond kept going and passed “The Cathedral.”

Our reunited group went back to The Hub and then onto the Eagle Springs Fire Road. Sissopolis spotted “Tree Tobacco.” Unless convergent evolution is in force here, it’s clearly related to “Purple Bells” which Siss discovered in Rustic Canyon in June.

We found all 3 new (non-BBT) caches and an old one on this section of the hike. One particularly wide and rock-free segment was unexpectedly treacherous underfoot. I watched GeoCraig slip and fall, twice. Then I stepped in the same place, slipped and fell too. We were both lucky to walk away unscathed.

Here are GeoCraig and sissopolis returning from a side hike to find a cache the rest of us logged on earlier hikes. Note “The Cathedral” in the background, now over a mile away.

Hiking up the steep S side of the fire road and seeing the unofficial side trail ahead, everyone agreed that, “the hike is mostly flat,” on the way to Pizarro’s Flaking Maneuver (GCRK7K). I found it in 2006 so I waited here.

From back on the fire road our cars were visible below but still almost 2 miles away by trail. What a great parking area and trailhead. Thanks Bill (BWidget) for discovering it!

This huge Hydra-like tree used to creep me out on windy moonlit night hikes in my pre-caching days. In daylight it’s just a curiosity.

It was a welcome relief to reach the Upper Entrada main parking lot…where our cars were NOT. But there were benches, REAL restrooms and an outdoor faucet to rinse off. Our cars were .2 miles away as the crow flies and about double that by hike.

At the cars a large shaggy dog carrying a tennis ball appeared. He dropped it at our feet. Foocachers, BWidget & Albackore threw the ball about 20 times and the dog always brought it back. There was no readable name tag on his collar. So, throwing the ball FAR, we drove away and then saw the dog standing with his owner just around a bend.

The hike was 7 hours and between 9 and 11 miles depending on the different number of side hikes taken. Sissopolis, who’d never cached in the area had 37 finds, the most in the group. I had the 12, the fewest.

We ended with a pre-dinner at Abuelitas Mexican Restaurant in Topanga. 3pm was a good time to be there. It was uncrowded and relaxed. We had a quaint dining room to ourselves. The flow through ventilation and local artworks on the walls kept us comfortable and interested. The nouveau Mexican food and pitchers of margaritas (for those of us who drink) were good too.


8 Responses to AUGUST 27, 2012 – Backbone Trail (BBT) North

  1. Jeff Jost says:

    As always, another nice and humorous blog, Ken! Thanks!

  2. coakford says:

    Nice job. I enjoyed hiking with you and the rest of the group.

  3. […] OLdweeb‘s take on the hike and for some more photos, please check out his blog post here: Like this:LikeBe the first to like […]

  4. Awesome blog, as usual…..that was a great day. Glad we all got to go! What are we doing in two weeks???

  5. Jim Carleton says:

    Funny bit about you and EcuaDeb reciting the value of pi 🙂 Of course, there are nerds, and there are nerds. Not all nerds are just math mavens; some know everything you never wanted to know about other things, as well, which I shall illustrate…

    Tree Tobacco is “Nicotiana glauca”; Purple Bells is “Iochroma cyaneum”. That’s Iochroma with an ‘i’, not an ‘L’. Both of these are in the Family “Solanaceae”, which also includes tomato, nightshade, bell, jalapeño and other peppers, petunia and many other plants of commercial importance and/or horticultural interest. The tobacco which is smoked is Nicotiana tabacum, or a hybrid of it with one or two other Nicotiana species. Thus, tree tobacco and purple bells are distant cousins.

    N. glauca is a California native, and it was used by Native Peoples for medicinal purposes, as well as in certain religious rites. I. cyaneum is not a native to North America; its normal ranges are in forests, often at some elevation, in South America. What Sissopolis saw in Rustic Canyon must have been a garden escape from a home in there. Haven’t hiked in Rustic Canyon in several years; have to try to get out there next Spring; maybe I’ll get lucky enough to spot it, too 🙂

    • oldweeb says:

      I’m glad to see that another nerd is reading about our adventures. We theorized that the Iochroma was an escapee from the old Nazi compound in Rustic Canyon. The FBI cleared out the Nazis on Dec 8, 1941 and the area has been unoccupied since. There was some recent talk about demolishing the remaining ruins. So hike there as soon as you can.

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