• Stars appear behind a dramatic landscape of rocky mountains, rolling hills, and fields of grass

    Santa Monica Mountains

    National Recreation Area California

Blog Introduction by Ranger Mike

A moment of time. An intern we had caught me looking out over the park I care about so much.

Before this journey starts, I want to begin by thanking you, the visitor. Without your dedication, passion, and commitment to our parklands, none of this would be possible.

It's humbling to think, because you care for our resources and assets so much, I will be able to do something that I have wanted to do my whole life, hike the entire Backbone Trail.

Like some of you, I grew-up in the area around the Santa Monica Mountains. This is the place where I learned what nature is.

Thinking back to my years of hiking, I remember my first overnight backpacking trip. It was here in the Santa Monica Mountains - La Jolla Valley in Point Mugu State Park when I was 11. I absolutely hated the hike - it seemed like it went on forever. The trails lacked shade and the dust just burned my eyes. But for some reason (and with some motivation by my friends and family) I kept going.

When we reached camp that night I was never more relieved. We made our dinner and set-up our tents. I don't remember much else about the trip except for one thing: the stars! Never before had I seen that many stars. It was like someone took a pin and poked a thousand little holes in the black fabric of the sky above.

Thus, without the preservation and protection of that land by a group of adults, I would have never had that park experience as a child, let alone today as a grown adult.

Thank you for allowing me to share my experience with you.

(Click here to return to the 2012 Backbone Trail Blog homepage.)

Did You Know?

The city of Los Angeles can be seen from many scenic view points in the Santa Monica Mountains.

Comprising 153,075 acres, Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area is the world's largest urban national park. It has more area codes (5) and zip codes (26), including the notable 90210 zip code of Beverly Hills, than any other unit in the National Park System.