Tag Archives: Orange County

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!

Black Star Canyon Falls

Activity: Day Hike

Date: March 13, 2019

Orange County, California

7 miles, 6.5 hours in duration, less than 1000’ change in elevation, rated Moderate

I had heard that this was a very popular hike and since we have had a lot of rainfall during the last month I knew that the falls would be flowing and it would be a primo time to go. I arrived at dawn so that I would find parking, which turned out to be no problem at that time of day, but there were 4 or 5 cars there already. When I returned there were 40 or more. During my hike I saw over 60 hikers. On the dirt road portion 6 mountain bikers and one trail runner. This was winter midweek mind you! I met up with almost all of them on their way in while I was on my way out, so I was please about my early start.

It was a brisk 48 degrees at sun up and it warmed up about 10 degrees during the time I was there. More than half of this hike is on dirt road making it’s way through rolling green hills, (due to the unusually rainy season), along a babbling brook. I think that is why this hike is rated moderate. The first part is easy, the last part is strenuous. So I suppose that evens out to moderate?

Once the dirt road ends you then begin working your way up the Canyon and the stream. You will ford the stream over and over. It is slow going as sometimes there is a clear path and sometimes there isn’t. You have to hop scotch across rocks, type rope across damp branches, make your way up muddy slopes, always being cognizant of the abundant poison oak. Picking a route is not always easy, and many times you will do an about face and look for a better way across the stream, or across a boulder. It continues to ramp up in difficulty as you go until you are actually rock scrambling. There is one muddy bank that is pretty steep and you wouldn’t make it up without the rope that is tied on to a tree.

Here is a quick story about my embarrassing moment. I had painstakingly and very methodically picked my way across the stream over and over. I brought trekking poles which I thought would help with the balance and they did, but it was slow going. I did not want to get wet although some folks just walked through the water. I had made it all the way to the falls and almost all the way back without a slip or a dip. Then I happened upon these two cute little Asian ladies. They were heading toward the falls and they motioned that they had seen some other hikers go across were they were standing. It didn’t look too bad. It was multiple rocks to hop across. Instead of planting my poles on the bottom, testing it, and slowly making my way across with great care as I had many times, I thought I will just go with momentum and not use the poles. After all these little ladies were waiting, and it would be more impressive to just step step step. Well, about halfway across I slipped on the rock dipping both shoes in the water. I went down on my hip on one rock and my knee on another in a precarious position. At that point I had only two wet feet, but I was now momentarily stuck in this position. If I did not play my cards right this could end in disaster. I was dangerously close to rolling over like a turtle on my back and getting completely drenched and thus utterly humiliated. Luckily I was able to regain my composure, and raise myself up from this slick twister game and make it to the bank, all the while these little ladies were standing there big eyed with their hands over their mouth.

Black Star Canyon is a beautiful place with rushing water tumbling over rocks, and finally when you make it all the way to the end you can’t help but say, “Oh wow!”, as you turn the bend and there is this awesome 65’ waterfall. To the left is a mineshaft opening with water cascading out, which makes this particular waterfall very unusual. This canyon is named Black Star after a coal mining company that worked the area for a short time over 100 years ago.

This is the trail head to Black Star Canyon
It is crazy how the green just jumps out at you when usually So Cal is pretty dry. Thanks to all the rain this winter this is a great hike.
Most of the hike is along this dirt road. Not the most interesting, but the hills are so green it is really lovely.
I love the sound of a babbling brook, and this entire hike is along this stream.

Wow, someone is paranoid about security. I suppose if I was a rich land baron I might feel the same. Part of the hike goes through Edwards Ranch, so I suppose we should just be happy we are able to access the waterfall by being allowed across their land.

Careful around the mud, don’t slip.

Past the Black Star Canyon Falls sign is where the adventure truly begins. The rest of the trip will be along this stream. Sometimes there is a pretty good trail, sometimes there’s not. I will be crossing this brook dozens of times always searching for the best way.

Well, I am writing this blog article a couple days after the hike, so thank goodness I did not get poison oak. It was everywhere so I was always watching what I was grabbing.

Love the sound of rushing water. The picture is nice but you have to checkout all the videos.

When you turn the bend and there is the 65’ Black Star Canyon Falls before you flowing heavily from the recent rains all you can say is “oh wow’.

Thanks for visiting Pursuing Balance through Adventure. I hope that you enjoyed this posting about Black Star Canyon Falls. If you did please press “like”, leave a comment, and “follow me” in a quest to find adventure. -Roger Jenkins

Crystal Cove State Park, ‘Bommer Ridge’ ‘Moro Ridge’ ‘Mach One’ ‘No Name Ridge’

Activity: Day Hike

Date: February 25, 2019

Just under 8 miles, over 1,350 feet elevation change, 3.5 hours

The Newport Coast is one of my favorite spots for day hiking. So Cal has had so much rain lately that our reservoirs are full, and the storms have put a serious dent in our ongoing drought situation. This has brought us a stunning green landscape to enjoy in this late winter season and provided a perfect day to get out and enjoy nature.

 

The Park had multiple interior trails closed due to safety issues caused by the recent storms. I had to revise my hike to ridges on the West and East with the only cut across open going across the interior.
I started the hike on No Name Ridge. It must be nice to have a home bordering a state park.
Here is where I had to revise my hike. I ended up running into such closures multiple times, but Mach One trail got me across the interior to Moro Ridge which forms the other border of the park.
This is an example of some of the ruts the storm had caused from the water run off. This is an open trail, so I you can imagine what portions of the closed trails look like. I like to mountain bike this area and I certainly would not want to come around a bend at a high rate of speed and find something like this.

Spring seems right around the corner when you are enjoying temperatures in the mid 60’s, hiking in a tee-shirt and shorts, and observing the first blooms.

The more I hike the more I say to myself, I really need to get out more often, after all everyone can use a little more adventure in their life.

Bommer Canyon Trail Irvine, CA

 

Bommer Canyon Trail Irvine California
February 6, 2019
4.6 miles, 814’ climb

I stumbled across this delightful little hike upon discovering one of my standard day hiking areas, Crystal Cove State Park at Newport Coast, closed due to all the rain that we had been experiencing.  

It was a beautiful day, although a little cool in the low to mid 50’s with a little breeze on this winters day, the rain clouds had departed leaving clear views of the snow capped mountains in the background, and greenery we are not used to seeing in So Cal. I kept saying to myself, “Where am I, Ireland?”, this is crazy! The bright green just seemed too foreign.

 

Since I was already there, and it was such a nice day, I decided I must do something. So the opposite side of the top of the hill, heading in the direction of the mountains, I spied what appeared to me to be an equestrian trail with railings and pea gravel on the trail. So I set off on this trek which brought me under the 73 freeway in the direction of Irvine.

 

I really like being in the wilds of the wilderness the most with little signs of civilization, but this was a day hike and would lead up to the aforementioned type of backpacking. It is important to do some smaller day hikes to prepare for the load, distance, and altitude of a backpacking adventure. This day hike had the buildings of Irvine in the distance, and some very snazzy homes framing the bottom portion of this open space preserve which is Shady Canyon.

After a short distance I came to the trail head marker announcing Bommer Canyon Trail. “Cool”, I thought. I didn’t even know this was over here. I was thinking, “Wow, I know it is winter and mid-week, but I have this whole place to myself.” I was to find out at the opposite trail head this trail also was closed, “Oops, sorry…” I did see a couple hiking, and 2 trail runners during my day hike so I was not the only one uninformed.

I really enjoyed this little hike along Bommer Canyon Trail through this protected wild lands preserve, especially since it was so beautiful with the snow on the mountains, and the green grass on the rolling hills.

 

 

B

Heisler Park, Laguna Beach, California

Heisler Park along the Pacific Ocean in Laguna Beach, California is one of my favorite urban hikes.  It is so beautiful there, so serene, so charming.  It is pretty much a botanical garden on the Pacific.  Every time I am there I see artists trying to capture the essence of this magical setting.

The following pictures are of my hike this winter’s day. Winter’s day… I almost feel bad saying that, as a typical day in So Cal in the winter is much different than say were my daughter is studying at the University of Wisconsin where they have a low of -22.  MINUS 22 can you believe that?!  Well, it was very pleasantly in the low 70’s on this day at the beach in Laguna.

I have also combined some pictures of another day at this special place that I took in mid fall.  You can tell where they start as the skies are a clear blue without so much of a whisper of a cloud.

I park in the neighborhood, a very well to do neighborhood I might add, just north of the park.  Then I walk through the park enjoying nature, the ocean, the cliffs, the rocks, and the gardens that make up Heisler Park.

From there I head down the slope to Main Beach in Laguna.  This beach is sort of like Mayberry on the Andy Griffith Show.  It is surreal, it is almost to perfect.  It is the quintessential California kick back beach.  Everything is just so cute and so quaint, from the small little lifeguard station, the wandering boardwalk, basketball court, viewing benches, kids play ground, lifeguard tower.  It is, in a word, perfect.

I continue past Main Beach south viewing quaint little hotels, cliff side dining, and beach houses that range from kick back to wow I love it!

I walk as far as I can go without having to do a little rock scrambling, which I might have to do the next time to continue adding to my adventure.  But this hike there and back, stopping for pictures, and checking out tide pools, so let’s call it strolling, is about 2 hours.

What a special way to spend a day.