One doesn't need to wend too deeply in a bookstore to find a plethora of memoirs detailing epic, true-life hikes, the kind of mega rambles that occurred on some of America's most famous, and lengthy, trails.
From Bill Bryson's "A Walk in the Woods" -- hello, Appalachian Trail -- to "Wild," which took place along the Pacific Crest Trail, nonfiction narratives in recent years have prompted many readers to find their own long-range adventure, one that requires dependable shoes, a sun hat, and, perhaps, the perfect walking stick.
The Backbone Trail should deliver Southern Californians more than a taste of that. It isn't as long as the Pacific Crest or Appalachian, not nearly, but at an impressive 67 miles, it'll should nicely challenge many hikers looking for a nice challenge.
It's not new, of course; rather, the long-in-the-works plan to connect trails and lands running through the Santa Monica Mountains, from Ventura County into Los Angeles County, has reached completion. The final product will debut on Friday, June 3.
What to do, where to go and what to see
The Ventura County end/start point? Thornhill Broome Beach. And in LA? That's Will Rogers State Historic Park.
Whichever direction hikers head, and however they set their distance goals, they're bound to see some beautiful, boulderful, sigh-inducing sights. Interesting pauses along the way include Circle X Ranch, Castro Peak, and several other natural vistas to remind one that they're enjoying an outdoors adventure.
The cobbling together of land parcels, to ensure that the trail offers a seamless run-through, is a story several decades in the making. While some of the land was already hikable and public, other bits, like several dozen acres owned by Arnold Schwarzenegger, were the final pieces in the puzzle.
KPCC reports there are two more bits of that puzzle to come (both sit on a 1924 fire road).
As for showing with your pup? Dogs are permitted at some places along the Backbone, but not "on backcountry trails managed by California State Parks." Just research ahead, so neither you nor your furry friend get a case of the sad face on your big hike.
As for tracing the full route, and plotting how many miles you and your hiking buds can cover in a day? The maps may be found here.
As for finding your own epic trail story, a la the recent spate of bestsellers? A fine place to stretch your leg, and mind, is now official, right here in the Santa Monica Mountains.