Laurel Canyon Trail, Laguna Coast Wilderness Park

Activity: Day Hike

Date: April 2, 2019

About 3.5 miles, (I added an extra mile making it 4.5 miles), 3 hours in duration, over 600′ elevation change, rated Moderate

This was a very enjoyable hike through the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park. The tail head has a cost of $3 for parking. Right as you start the hike there is a cool little cave alcove you can go into. The hike is rated moderate I suppose because it goes up at a steady pace on a fire road. At the top of the Willow Trail is a number of different trails that you can explore. I was going at a quicker pace than my friend Adam, so I added on a mile and took one of the other trails until I got a glimpse of the Pacific Ocean. I then rejoined my friend and we took the Laurel Spur to Laurel Canyon Trail. I loved Laurel Canyon Trail. That trail is what a good local hike should be. It has some Oak Groves, rock formations, a legit trail instead of a fire road, a lot of green vegetation from our winter rain, and a rocky cliff canyon, which immediately after a heavy rain forms a waterfall. But no waterfall for our hike. I recommend this hike. It is a great local hike.

I love how green everything is after the rain that we had a few weeks ago.
California Wild Poppies

This map shows that there are a lot of trails to explore. It also let me know that Laguna Coast Wilderness Park was adjacent to and does connect to the Newport Coast hiking and mt biking area that I frequent. A little more to the South is Laguna Woods another great area which ends at Top of the World in Laguna.
In the distance you can see the Pacific Ocean.

Here we are on the Laurel Canyon Trail portion of this hike. I really enjoyed to shade and the beautiful oak trees.

More wildflowers

This was a little canyon area and we stood on a cliff, that right after a heavy rain can form a waterfall.

Here is my friend Adam enjoying Laguna Coast Wilderness Park. If you see him on the trail, run, he stops and talks everyone’s ear off, lol.
This cute little girl and her mother were enjoying a little rest in a hollowed out rock which looked like a giant egg shell.
I am Roger Jenkins and this is Pursuing Balance Through Adventure. I hope you enjoyed this journey to Laguna Coast Wilderness Park. You really need to get out and speak to nature and Laurel Canyon Trail is a great place to do just that. If you like this posting please press like, and why not follow my blog? Happy Trails!
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Chiquito/San Juan Loop Trail

Chiquito Falls, Cleveland National Forest

Activity: Day Hike

Date: March 26th, 2019

Over 2 miles, over an hour in duration, 314′ elevation change, rated Moderate

I have seen this trail referred to as Chiquito Loop Trail and also San Juan Loop Trail. I think that the later is probably correct as that is what it said at the trail head. This is a nice little hike close to Lake Elsinore.  I don’t think of it as moderate it seemed fairly easy to me. It has a proper trail with dirt, and rocks, and roots, and everything that one looks for in a trail. It meanders through oak groves, along a stream, through bush, and has scenic views of the Cleveland National Forest hills.

But what I wanted to see was the Chiquito Falls, but the trail is above the falls and there are a couple views of the falls, some of it is more of a peek-a-boo view because of the heavy brush in the area. What I should have done is taken a couple of off shoot little trails that worked it’s way down to the falls, but not being on this trail before I kept thinking there was a better trail and way to the falls ahead, and also I thought that the falls I was looking at might not really be the Chiquito Falls.

However, I still enjoyed the hike, most of it was near water. You could hear it most of the hike, but much of the hike you couldn’t see it because of the heavy brush.

Love the icon Smokey the Bear. “Only you can prevent forest fires.”

I hope you enjoyed Pursuing Balance Through Adventure. Don’t forget to leave a comment, and to like and follow this blog. “Being on vacation everyday is a lot of work.” -Roger Jenkins

Ortega Falls

 

Lake Elsinore Area

Activity: Day Hike

Date: March 26th, 2019

1/3 mile, less than an hour in duration, approximately 50′ elevation change, rated Easy

Ortega Falls is in the hills above Lake Elsinore and is part of the Cleveland National Forest. It is just a short walk from the 74 Ortega Highway and you will need an Adventure Pass to park, (so I found out the hard way).

Ortega Falls is a seasonal waterfall so you will not always get to see the cascading water as it tumbles over the rocks. With the rains we have had this winter it was showtime for us and it was spectacular. Ortega Falls is made up of two waterfalls with the second just a little downstream from the first.

Speaking of showtime we had some tight-rope walkers that were doing their thing over the falls. How cool is that? A great water display as well as a circus act!

I will say as I have explored some falls in So Cal there is some tagging and I have tried to take my pics in such a way that it didn’t show them. But it is disappointing to see. I can’t believe people like that are even out in nature.

Sitting at the Ortega Waterfalls.

My Hiking App said the elevation change was only 16’. I would say it is about 50’ especially if you want to get down to the water. It is just a short distance so the falls are very accessible.

 

 

Sky-Walker above the falls. That guy has skills!

First glimpse of the large waterfall!

Peek-a-boo view of the Ortega Falls

Love waterfalls

This shows the second of two falls that make up Ortega Falls.

 


California’s Gold

Chasing the Super Bloom

Walker Canyon Trail, Lake Elsinore, CA

Activity: Day Hike

Date: March 26, 2019

6 miles, 4 hours duration, 700′ elevation change, rated Moderate

Southern California is experiencing a Super Bloom giving us the best conditions in a generation. Just the perfect combination of rain, after an extended drought, the right temperatures, sunshine and lack of damaging winds are gifting us with magic that has only been seen on a Metro Goldwyn Mayer movie set where a young girl and her dog befriend three strange characters while trying to find the way back home.

Speaking of trying to find their way back home, the horrendous crowds this phenomenon has created has place a hard ship on local residents almost in tears as they are stuck in hours of freeway traffic trying to get home. It has really overwhelmed the area as they are getting 100,000 visitors on the weekends.

That being said, I arrived with my friend Adam on a weekday just after daybreak and there were already 100 cars there. But it was a good move as when we left there were miles of cars and throngs of people. I certainly would not want to be there on a weekend.

It was difficult making this blog as I had 100 pictures of poppies, and I knew they all looked similar, but I just couldn’t help it. With each step it seemed to get better, plus as the sun got higher the poppies open up.  That coupled with after we finished the marked trail, you see on the map below, we heard about about an unmarked trail that was even better.   It was only a half mile away so we did that trail as well, and you guess it click click click one pic after another.

I hope this article and the pictures do the event justice as it was really stunning to see this in nature. Even going through the pictures I had a tough time cutting out pictures of the poppies, so I hope that they do not put you to sleep as the Wicked Witch would hope.

This shows Walker Canyon Trail, but I was able to go a little farther than the map shows. Then after finishing this trail we took another one that I could not even find as a posted hiking travel on my hiking app.

The poppies were the predominant flower and the star of the show, but there were numerous other beauties as you will see in some of the pictures.

Long after the poppies are gone Walker Canyon will still be a great place for a hike with it’s rolling hills, and mountains in the background.

As the sun peaked it head above the crest of the hills the poppies slowly started to open. By mid day they were all the way open.

I seriously expected Julie Andrews to come bounding down singing, “The Hills are Alive with the sound of music…”

You can see in this pic that as we finished Walker Canyon Trail it was starting to get a little crazy with people. So glad that we got an early start.

One of my avid readers asked is it really a Super Bloom or does it happen every year? I posed this question to this young botanist/naturalist whom confirmed this was indeed something special and rare. Super Bloom Confirmed! Not just media hype.

That’s just dripping in gold…

There’s Gold in them thar’ hills! Look close that is all flowers.

You can almost hear that Wicked Old Witch ringing her hands. “Poppies, poppies will make them sleep”.

Are you kidding me right now?!  That is a lot of flowers!

California Gold

People were hiking in dresses, so they could get special pictures like this.

I hope that you enjoyed striking California Gold with me Pursuing Balance through Adventure. Natural beauty abounds you just need to go out and experience it. If you liked this posting I hope that you will click “follow” and also “like” and leave a comment.

An Adventurer’s Pursuit of Balance

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