Carolyn Howard's Blog

Backbone Beauty March 23, 2013

In Southern California we have a sweet little trail that crosses the Santa Monica mountains in 68 miles. Flat and fast…

Overlook Road looking into Sycamore canyon

Overlook Road looking into Sycamore canyon

Just kidding, actually – lots of downhill which means lots of uphill  – elevation gain 14,728.  Still, it promises to be a good time!

When I heard about the inaugural Coyote Backbone Trail Ultra put together by the Coyote Cohorts, I signed up almost immediately. Not even realizing that the race finishes on Easter Sunday, a real problem when I have certain bunny duties!

I started exploring the trail in depth over the past few months, I have fallen in love with this amazing trail and parts of it that I had never seen. I am so excited about the run and the chance to cover the entire trail.

If I could run and write at the same time, I would get a lot more blogs written. I am always seeing things I would like to describe. Here are some of the past months highlights:

I have had the joy of watching the Winter move through the mountains and Spring bloom.

I have been running lots of hills to prepare.  One of the parts of the trail I anticipate will be tough will be the climb from Tapia.  I have done it many times, never fast but at mile 25 it will be extra extra fun.

IMG_4020

Frost on the Tapia section in December

Frost on the Tapia section in December

Coming out of the long climb from Tapia is Corral Canyon – a real gem.

Very runnable, shady and in the the middle of the canyon is a sweet surprise.

A heart in Corral!

A heart in Corral!

Then, a little further down the canyon in the middle of nowhere were the Tibetan prayer flags hung over the trail.  I think they are gone now as strangely as they appeared so I’m glad I took pictures.  Just another reminder if I needed it to appreciate the moment.

IMG_4189IMG_4188

Views to the ocean near Sandstone Peak

Views to the ocean near Sandstone Peak

The trail between Sandstone Peak and Danielson Ranch is raw and rugged.  A trail worthy of a visit no matter where you are from.  However, the drive to the trailhead is guaranteed to make any passenger queasy.

Chamberlain monument

Chamberlain monument

Sunrise near Sandstone

Sunrise near Sandstone

One of the most fun was the mud run/crawl after a big rain in January.  Going from Kanan to Corral and back was a comical slide that makes me pray for a dry race day.

The deer use the trail over Kanan as theri own highway

The deer use the trail over Kanan as their own highway.  It was covered in tracks.

Smokey was often a faithful and welcome companion.  Here he is going from Mulholland to Yerba Buena on the fireroad.

IMG_4096

Since much of what I have seen will be in the dark on race day, I’m glad I have had the chance to savor it bit by bit.

Showers of spring flowers

Showers of spring flowers

Danielson Ranch

Danielson Ranch

Hitting the trail with Tim!

Hitting the trail with Tim!

I’ll let you know how it goes…