“They” are all at cons, and podcasting!!! Me? Hiking. For the end of May, the weather is so perfect in the Santa Monicas. Meredith and I originally planned to do Solstice Canyon today, but it was too crowded. We then headed for “Tunnel #3” on Kanan Road, the site of the trailhead parking lot for the very first hike I ever took her on several years ago. This is the trailhead for two very different hikes along the Backbone Trail. Because she has not been out for a long time and I just myself bought new hiking boots, we went to the easy, Newton Canyon direction. The Newton Canyon trail almost immediately enters riparian woodland from the parking lot. This is the first picture I took, and you can see how lush and green things are, even as summer is beginning. The trail then begins moderate uphill and downhill climbs. The wildflowers are still very much in bloom and I got several good shots of all of the different types. The trail is fern-lined in many places, also mossy, and with lots of patches of miner’s lettuce. Let’s see if one of the miner’s lettuce pictures comes out. Here is a picture of monkeyflowers, which were in extreme abundance all along the trail. Badger had an awesome time, and indeed, drank from the stream when he had the chance (good for him!). One reason this is such a great trail is that once you reach the portion of the stream that has water, there are little bridges and easy access for pups to drink. He was super thirsty. On the way out, we saw a garter snake catching a quick meal from a lizard. Let’s see if the picture came out: Yes – you can see his body going into the brush. Click on the image for a bigger version. All in all — great hike!