I'm not quite ready to do this long a hike again, but I took Badger out yesterday and he did much better than at Placerita Canyon two weeks ago. He was extremely excited to explore all of Zuma Canyon, and did the Zuma Canyon Loop and as far as I felt like going out onto the canyon trail (I'm going to say 3/4 of a mile) and back. I recently added a new book to my hiking shelf, which is Best Hikes with Dogs in Southern California by the totally gonzo (and very responsible, excellent advice for pets and low-impact hiking) Allen Riedel. His pictures of his dogs and family are super-cute and the first chapter, about how to prepare your dogs for hiking, take care of their feet and health, are excellent.
"Back in the day," I had done nearly every trail in the Santa Monicas (with a few notable exceptions such as the famous Mishe Mokwa scout trail). I think that, after a four-year layoff of these trails, I want to say that, while still very beautiful and pleasant, the Malibu-area trails I've been exploring are disturbing me. Mostly, I think, it is due to their easy proximity to "civilization," and the fact that I see a lot more evidence of human intrusion and degradation now than I saw before. Carbon Canyon is full of bamboo. There is evidence of "bum encampments" in a lot of areas. I know that at least one recent fire, the one that started in Sycamore Canyon, had some involvement of homeless people who were trying to start a campfire that raged out of control.
Not that I hate homeless people (most people should know that!), but that I think they must be pushed out of more urban areas into the backcountry. I saw evidence of either irresponsible partiers or homeless people in Zuma Canyon. I know it is also a popular horse trail; that's somewhat degrading as well, unfortunately, because I know that riders enjoy their forays into the wilderness a lot, and horses are a lot less impact than off-road vehicles.
Anyway, as soon as I get the chance, I'm going to try different areas. I hate to say it, but I think LA is encroaching a bit too much on our precious backcountry in the Malibu area.