Tag Archives: Laguna Coast Wilderness

THAT’S NOT A STICK! THAT’S A RATTLESNAKE!

BOMMER RIDGE-OLD EMERALD AND OLD EMERALD CANYON TRAILS LOOP

LAGUNA COAST WILDERNESS

Activity: Day Hike

7 miles, 912’ elevation gain, 3.5 hour duration, rated Moderate

Date: 8-17-20

I was enjoying a lovely Summer hike in the South Coast Wilderness, which is made up of multiple County and State Parks. This is my go to area that is close to where I live and a splendid place to hike.

I was walking along looking at my phone and reviewing the course that I was taking on my Hiking APP. Yes, I know that is a good way to trip, fall, walk of a cliff, into quicksand, a bear trap, a ravine or any number of bad predicaments. Add another to that list… I look down, half paying attention and I am about to step on what looks like a stick stretched out across my path. Suddenly I realize THAT’S NOT A STICK! THAT’S A RATTLESNAKE!  I alerted some approaching mountain bikers and we watched the poisonous viper slither off into the underbrush. 

Being an Adventure Blogger I have now run into numerous venomous vipers and this was a big’n! Thank goodness I looked down when I did and that I was at least paying half attention.

I have learned from some research that Rattlesnakes maybe vicious mindless killers, but that is towards their prey, and they want nothing to do with man. They aren’t lying in wait to attack you and they don’t hunt or chase after you. What you do not want to do with any wild animal is corner or threaten it, because that is when you might find that you have more on your hands then you bargained for. Most snakebites happen when a person is going after the snake, which could include a snake handler. Also snakebites can occur when a person has accidentally stepped on it. The snake I saw was big, but actually the younger, smaller rattlesnakes are the most deadly. This might seem surprising, but the truth of the matter is the juveniles do not know how much venom to use so they use it all. The adult snake has learned to use just enough to get the job done and not waste it’s resources. 

The rattlesnake may or may not alert you to it’s presence with that famous rattle. If you hear that rattle then it is probably in a coiled, striking position. But like I said it may not even rattle. A seminar I attended said that this trait of rattling maybe getting engineered out of their bein. A snake rattling maybe attacked and killed by a farmer where if it did not rattle then they may never know that they are in the area.  The rattler gets killed, but the silent snake lives on and reproduces. That is called natural selection. It hardly seems fair, that the snake doesn’t warn you.

The first big rattlesnake I saw was in Las Vegas. I had a pretty good idea where on the trail it was after I heard screams and I could see up on the mountain where the hikers were fleeing. Even after the report from the hikers as well as tossing stones into the brush did not get the snake to rattle. Plus it blended in perfectly with the bush it was under which was basically right on the tiny trail. I did not see it until it was within striking distance and it scared the living daylights out of me, no rattle, no warning, but thankfully no strike.

If you are wondering if it might be snake season a rule of thumb to whether snakes maybe out is if you see lizards on the trail then the snakes are active as well. Snakes are cold blooded so at temperatures below 60 degrees they are slow and temperatures above 95 could kill them. They are most active in Spring and Fall and during the morning and evening. In the Summer during the heat of the day they would rather find a cool spot such as underground. So pay attention, watch where you step, where you sit, and where you put your hands. 

Back to the hike. As I have said in the past, the great thing about hiking this area is there are a lot of trails so that you can piece together the type of hike that you are up for that day. Today’s hike was moderate in length, elevation gain, and exercise. It provided great views of the surrounding terrain that included the hills and canyons of Laguna Coast Wilderness as well as Crystal Cove State Park, the mountains off in the distance and the blue tranquil Pacific down below. Great place to hike, keep an eye peeled for snakes.

Besides almost becoming a victim the other thing that stood out about this adventure was I met a young mountain biker and his Dad on a steep section of the trail. They were enjoying their day together out tackling the rolling hills of Laguna Coast Wilderness. The 10 year old boy was doing a great job. This was his last hoorah before having to buckle down and hit the books again as he began the 5th Grade. Good stuff! Good day.

Checkout the video of the Rattler that I almost stepped on.
Look how when it is not moving it resembles the nearby stick. But “That is No Stick! That’s a Rattlesnake!
“Everyone knew that you should never provoke a Rattlesnake, must less tie it in a bow. But that didn’t stop Judd. What did stop him was the rattlesnake.” – Demetri Martin

When I said that ‘Pursing Balance Through Adventure’ was about profound experiences in nature having a close call with a deadly rattlesnake is not exactly what I had in mind. This is just a reminder that no matter how much we love nature, it does not mean that nature is going to love us back. When you are out in the wilderness, just like navigating life, you need to be aware, and with that awareness you can enjoy your experience in nature more safely and find that balance between our busy, crazy, hurry up existence and offset that with the beauty and adventure of nature. For more adventure and profound experiences join me right here by leaving a LIKE, COMMENT, FOLLOW and SHARE. For more spots to choose from please check out the menu above for many more outings throughout the West. Each is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently. Why not pick up some top quality Adventure Wear with the PBTA logo at SHOP APPAREL?

Happy Trails-

Roger Jenkins

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

BOMMER RIDGE, BIG BEND and LAGUNA RIDGE Loop Trail

LAGUNA COAST WILDERNESS PARK 

Activity: Day Hike

9.5 Miles, 1,900’ elevation gain, 5 hour duration, rated Hard

8-6-20

This trek through Laguna Coast Wilderness Park starts in a neighborhood in Laguna Beach. As you climb up you get a $Million$ Dollar View, but where this hike differs from previously hiking in this area is where it dips down a mountain bike trail towards Laguna Canyon Road. (Be advised that Laguna Coast Wilderness as of June 2021 has made some new designations deeming certain trails as Mountain Bike Trails and certain trails as Hiking Trails so you might have to revise your hike somewhat.)

Part of the trail was definitely made with serious mountain bikers in mind as I spied built up ramping for high speed hairpin turns. I interviewed a Mountain Biker at the bottom of the hill on Laguna Canyon Road. I tried to get video of him as I could hear him coming down as I stepped off the trail, but he was too speedy. I mentioned, “that looks like a pretty challenging route, with rough spots, rocks, drop offs ducking branches, and even spots where a rider gets launched. He said “yeah”, with a smirking grin. I noticed he had a chest mounted camera. I confessed,  “whenever I’m on steep hard pack and dust, and attempt to brake I seem to slide and then I’m in trouble.” He replied, “I  try not to brake and just concentrate on the line.”  I’m thinking to myself, wow I don’t want to be going that fast. He obviously was an accomplished rider.  

Heading up from Laguna Canyon Road on Big Bend Trail, you know it’s hard when your heels don’t touch.  Usually when there is this sort of a gain in altitude all at once they put in switch backs… Not Big Bend. Even though it is an all at once climb and seemingly straight up I would rather take that challenge head on then be coming down that steep dusty trail and be slipping and sliding.

My personal tracker revealed that I had travel more miles then that 8 miles that my app noted.  My personal miles were at 9.5 miles.  Whether it is 8 miles or over 9 miles this journey had many good attributes to it. Very scenic with breath taking views of the Pacific and Laguna Beach, great exercise both in effort as well in length of journey.

“When we walk like we are rushing we print anxiety and sorrow on the earth. We have to walk in a way that we only print peace and serenity on the earth… Be aware of the contact between your feet and the earth. Walk as if you are kissing the earth with your feet.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

Another fun outing in nature the sky, the water, the hills, cactus and wildflowers, walking, hiking, just enjoying the day. It is all about ‘Pursing Balance Through Adventure’ taking off that heavy pack of work work work, rush here and rush there, cleaning and chores, care for the kids and all of the everyday things that are needed to exist. Those are just some of the things that are a must, but you need to find a balance… to bring you back towards center. Profound experiences in nature can do bring that much needed balance. So every once in a while take off that heavy work back and trade it for a lighter day back. Stay with me for the next adventure. You can do that by these simple efforts: FOLLOW, LIKE, SHARE and COMMENT. The menu above is a guide to many more places that PBTA travels to. Check them out- maybe you will want to add them to your To Do List along with grocery shopping, dental appointments, mowing the lawn, and cleaning out the garage. Each location is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently. SHOP APPAREL is an excellent source for Adventure Wear and sports that ever important mantra to help keep things in check.

Happy Trails-

Roger Jenkins

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

“Bloomer” Trail

BOMMER RIDGE TRAIL – OLD EMERALD ROAD TRAIL

LAGUNA COAST WILDERNESS PARK

CRYSTAL COVE STATE PARK

Activity: Day Hike

8.5 miles, 1160’ elevation gain, 4 hour duration, rated Moderate

6-11-21

On this mid June day I nicknamed Bommer Ridge Trail “Bloomer” Trail. The prickly pear cactus are in bloom and it made the hike very special. I first came upon the delightful sight along Bommer Ridge Trail, but the very best blooms, as I took the loop clockwise, was on Old Emerald Road Trail, past the oak grove at the bottom of the hike. As I worked my way up the hillside there was a large garden of the prickly pear cactus stock full of blooms.

I always prefer a loop hike to just out and back. I love to see as much territory as possible and it beats just back tracking. Bommer Ridge Trail afforded wonderful views of the entire area, the mountains such as Saddleback and others farther off in the distance, the canyon below, as well as the Pacific and even glimpses of Catalina Island through the rising coastal fog. I dropped down Old Emerald Trail which quickly took an Easy hike and bumped it up a notch to Moderate. It was a somewhat steep descent and of course what goes down has to climb back out so it was a nice workout.

Old Emerald Falls Trail from the bottom of the hike climbs into Moro Ridge Road and from there I opted to do the Fence Line Trail which I love as it winds around on a small single track which is mostly for mountain bikes so listen for them while on this trek. When the mountain bike route runs it’s course then its back on Boomer or in this case “Bloomer” Ridge Trail and back to the trailhead.

Life is like a cactus thorny but beautiful.

Thanks for joining me on “Bloomers” Trail ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’. The cactus flowers were wonderful and what a great way to find a little balance in ones life by getting exercise, breathing fresh air, taking in the sight of canyon, mountain, ocean, island, and of course the star of this episode the blooming cactus flower. Join me next time by leaving a COMMENT, LIKE, FOLLOW and SHARE. If you go up to the menu near the top of the page you will find more adventures to behold in many areas of the West. Each is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently. Top quality PBTA branded adventure wear can be obtained at SHOP APPAREL. There is a 30% OFF FATHER’S DAY SPECIAL on all PBTA Cotton Tee’s. Simply message me with your order to score the SPECIAL DEAL.

Happy Trails-

Roger Jenkins

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

Woods End Wilderness Preserve

LAGUNA COAST WILDERNESS PARK

JAMES DILLEY GREENBELT PRESERVE

Activity: Day Hike

Distance 2.5 miles, 275’ elevation change, 1 hour duration, rated Moderate

This is a hike that I would consider a local hike. I wouldn’t go out of my way to do this hike, but if you live nearby or you are just looking for a different place to explore then your regular haunt then by all means this is a nice little hike. I had hiked in this area before checking out Barbara’s Lake, and my friend Adam was looking for a quick hike so we decided on this outing.

At the trailhead we met a new trail friend Mike Berry, who was a regular to this park and while he and Adam sauntered along I decided to pick up the pace and add another of the numerous trails and then promised to meet back up at the trailhead. After the hike Mike informed us about a great adventure in LA County, which I later hiked: Bridge to No Where.

The main entrance to this Preserve is off of Laguna Canyon Rd in Laguna Beach. There is a parking lot there and a parking fee machine that will except your $3. We entered on the other side at the intersection of El Toro Rd and Aliso Creek Rd. There is limited parking there along the street.

The trails that I took were: Woods End to Edison Road/Canyon Trail/Black Jack/Ridge Top Trail making a loop of about 2.5 miles for a quick 1 hour hike. The hike has views of the canyon and hills of the preserve along with the neighboring areas. When you dip down into the canyon portion you get a feeling more like the wilderness forgetting that you are surrounded by suburbia. There is a cactus area that is like a little garden which is nice.

The hike for the most part is moderate, part of it is easy, and the Black Jack portion is steep and would be rated hard other than it is only about a quarter mile in length.

All in all not a bad little local hike.

Thanks for joining Adam and myself along with our new Trail Friend Mike while ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ where we eked out another little jaunt in nature. For more adventure why not FOLLOW, COMMENT, LIKE, and SHARE. The menu above will inspire you with other So Cal hikes as well as adventure up and down the West Coast..  Each of the Menu locations is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED Independently. Get some top quality PBTA logo adventure gear at SHOP APPAREL Where there is currently a SPECIAL DEAL going on. 

Happy Trails,

Roger Jenkins

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

Little Sycamore Canyon/Serrano Ridge/West Canyon Loop

LAGUNA COAST WILDERNESS PARK

ALISO VIEJO, CALIFORNIA

Activity: Day Hike

Date: 9-25-19

Distance: 4.2 miles, 665’ elevation change, 2 hour duration, rated Moderate.

I have hiked in this area multiple times and it is a super place to hike. The only problem I have with it is the park borders busy freeways and roadways. As a Wilderness lover, a peace and quiet lover, a tranquil and natural lover- the further I get away from the noise of the outside world the better. So this particular hike was an attempt to improve upon an earlier hike I posted. That earlier outing I loved the interior portions of the hike, but was disappointed in the parts that had vehicles visible or even within earshot. The route of this hike covered more of the good parts of the previous hike and less of what I did not enjoy. It was a little shorter, and being where this park is located, did as I have stated, have sights and sounds that were not conducive to my ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ zen like moments I was craving, however it was an improvement so with that goal in mind it was a success. Once again the interior was really nice.

There is a $3 Parking fee and a nice Visitor Center to checkout. Great hike.

“When life gets you down, tell it to go take a hike.” -Roger Jenkins
Pursuing Balance Through Adventure 

I would like to thank you very much for following me as together we are ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’. As I write this post we are in the mist of a world wide crises, the Corona Virus Crisis. The news coverage brings home fear, stress, apprehension, sadness, but it also bring thoughts of thankfulness for the medical community and first responders that are on the front line of this war on a germ. The strange thing is to get through this we need to stand as a community, as together we must all be more vigilant about sanitation and hygiene , but on the other hand we must stand alone with social distancing so as not to propagate this danger further. So what can we do besides prepare with sanitary chemicals, stock up, (not hoard), on essentials like food, medicine, toilet paper (I think everyone as gone a bit overboard on that as I have not seen a store yet that is not sold out and the entire paper isle bare), this seems to be the era of instead of Y2K, YTP lol. We can do our social distancing, we have all given up on going out to eat, or the gym, or the movies, sporting events from youth all the way through to professional. At this time we have closed all institutions of learning for online education, and places of faith for online church, or just praying on our own. So in a matter of a little more than a week the whole world has turned upside down. I don’t know about you, but I am certainly feeling the stress worrying about my family, my friends, my world… The stock market has in a short amount of time lost so much of what took so long to gain. Stress, apprehension, fear, sadness seems to be the new norm. The opposite of what I try to promote with ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ . If you follow my different PBTA blogs you know that I like to quote an Adventurer, Naturalist, Poet, or other lover of nature, and adventure under the PBTA logo slide, but today I have posted a Roger Jenkins PBTA orginal that I take to heart “When life gets you down, tell it to go take a hike.” Doctors are saying that we need exercise to keep our immune system up, that sunlight provides not only vitamin D, but I saw one place that said that the Corona Virus is killed by it, (not sure if that was from a reputable source or not, but certainly a little vitamin D is good for us.), so I say, if you are not on ‘Shelter in Place‘ or ‘Lockdown‘ of course, that going for a hike can do a body good, is good for the psyche, and has always been good for the soul.

Happy Trails,

Roger Jenkins, Pursuing Balance Through Adventure