27 Hikers Complete Backbone Trail Trek 2012


Story by Jerry Mitcham
Photos by Jerry Mitcham

The annual Backbone Trek was conducted May 5 12, 2012. Much interest in the event was evident early in the season by the number of calls and inquiries prior to the opening of registration. This excitement was confirmed once registration began. We set event records by filling registration in record time (less than two weeks) and by the record number of registrants (30). There were three cancellations, leaving us with 27 hikers. This was the earliest sell out and the largest group of hikers ever.

The 27 hikers rendezvoused with the seven full time volunteer staff at La Jolla Group Camp on Saturday afternoon. It was an enthusiastic group, bubbling with eagerness to begin the trek the next day. The group included 10 repeat hikers so many friendships were renewed between hikers and volunteers.

The trek began on Sunday morning at the Ray Miller trailhead. Dave Edwards, hike leader, led the group for hikes of 9 to 12 miles a day for the following seven days. There were many sore legs and blistered feet, but all 27 hikers completed the trek the following Saturday, at Will Rogers Historic State Park with no serious injuries and no regrets. It is safe to say all participants felt a great sense of accomplishment upon completion. Other than two uncomfortably warm days, we were fortunate to have beautiful, near perfect weather the entire week. Although we had below normal rainfall in the spring, some late rain meant that we still had many blooming flowers. We counted over 150 blooming species, which is about normal for the trek. We were also entertained by sightings of various wildlife, including deer, raccoons, coyote, rattlesnake and a wide variety of birds.

As has become tradition on the trek, we were treated to superb meals in camp every evening. Annie Salerno, the food coordinator, and her food volunteers deserve our many thanks for the excellent meals. Special kudos goes to Carlyn Tagert. She not only hiked the entire trek, but she prepared one of the evening meals in advance and had it delivered by her husband Lloyd.

The popularity of this event continues to grow from year to year. The success of this event would not be possible without the contributions of the SMMTC volunteers. There were over 20 volunteers this year contributing to this accomplishment. Many thanks to all of you!

The 2013 Backbone Trek is tentatively scheduled for the dates of May 4 11, 2013. Mark these dates on your calendar. Due to the enthusiastic turnout this year, we expect to fill the event early in 2013. Registration begins in February, watch the web site at http://www.smmtc.org/bbtrek/. Annie Salerno will be the BBTrek coordinator for 2013. She can be reached at 805-657-2984 for additional information.