Tag Archives: OC

Mentally Sensitive Trail Loop

ALISO AND WOODS CANYONS REGIONAL PARK

LAGUNA BEACH

Activity: Day Hike

4.5 miles, 880’ elevation change, >2 hour duration, rated Hard

Date: 7-29-20

I thought this was sort of an interesting name for the trail and wondered how it came to be named “Mentally Sensitive Trail.” Could it be that it was a steep trail and you need to be prepared and in the proper frame of mind?  Could it be a thought such as “Pursuing Balance Through Adventure”, where the goal of this blog is to be out enjoying nature in a rather robust and adventurous activity seeking to find a balance between the crazy work a day world of hurry up, deadlines and performance with a more zen like feeling from nature.

It turns out that the Park Rangers back in the late 80’s and early 90’s were trying a more positive message instead of No Overnight Camping, No Biking, No Hiking… No, no, no! They attempted a more politically correct feel with “Environmentally Sensitive Area” hoping people would get the hint and would stay out of protect nesting grounds for instance.  Well the “Outlaw” mountain bikers went anyway not being able to help themselves when they saw the challenge of this steep descent dropping into the canyon below. The bikers, according to the ranger, scratched off the “Enviro” part of the sign leaving only “mentally Sensitive” and the name stuck. It has since become an official trail, and that being said, be on the lookout for mountain bikers on the narrow hairpin switch backs. 

I did the trail counter clockwise.  If I do it again I will switch. The trail starts out at a park which provides a bathroom. The way down the trail is rough, steep, with as I said, hairpin turns. The trail has some rocks and drops. It is single track, hard pack with a dusting of dirt making is slippery and somewhat treacherous. My trek back up was more open with sweeping turns and not as rough of a trail. The trail end empties to a place I am very familiar with from my mountain biking, Aliso Woods. 

One hiker greeted me in German. I answered in German that I didn’t speak German. He was impressed saying that many people don’t even recognize his speech as German. What he said to me is you have to be strong to do this hike. He is right. 

A woman warned me of a rattlesnake on the trail. It must have been a good size as she said she believed it had just ate a gopher, and thus was fat and lazy which is far better that aggressive and dangerous. Well, it is still dangerous, but mostly if you are intentionally disturbing it, but accidentally stepping on it I am sure would unfortunately end with the same result. The poisonous and deadly viper was gone when I went by. 

I enjoyed the hike as it had many fun elements to it.  It is a pretty area, and because of the steep terrain I suppose could be “Mentally Sensitive” while ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure.‘

PBTA YouTube Channel
I have a therapist. Her name is nature.

Thanks for joining me on this “Mentally Sensitive“ trek ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’. To stay connected with PBTA for more fun outings please FOLLOW, LIKE, COMMENT, and SHARE. If you click on the menu above you will see more areas that PBTA ventures to on your behalf. Each location is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently. Go to SHOP APPAREL for your adventure wear wants and needs.

Happy Trails-

Roger Jenkins

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

CRYSTAL PEAK PARK LOOP

CRYSTAL COVE STATE PARK

Activity: Day Hike

7 miles, 1,115’ elevation change, 3.5 hours duration, rated Difficult

Date: 7-21-20

As I have mentioned in previous posts regarding Crystal Cove State Park this is my local hike, a great training area for upcoming adventures, but it is more than that as it is a stand alone great place to hike.  It has so many positives: Pacific Ocean views, Catalina views, even San Clemente Island can be spotted on a clear day.  Then there are the mountain ranges inland including nice views of Saddle Back.  

The Park’s strength is there are lots of trails to mix and match. I invite you to browse through my Crystal Cove State Park hikes because they are all wonderful with subtle changes in views, and terrain so checkout the difficulty and length of the hike which will help you choose what is right for you on any given day.  

Crystal Peak Park Loop has some good distance and elevation changes and is rated difficult.  It starts at the top of the park and I decided to do the loop clockwise, be forewarned this puts the steepest section of the hike downhill which although this makes it easier cardio wise it can be tricky maneuvering steep slippery sections.

The trek starts on “Boomer Ridge Trail” which runs the length of the upper portion of Crystal Cove State Park. From there you will take “Slow n’ Easy.”  Don’t be fooled by the name, while you certainly should take it slow, because of the footing, there is nothing Easy about it.  This portion puts the Difficult in this hike. Slow n Easy will dump you out on “Morro Canyon Trail” which is, besides the fantastic vistas looking out to sea and towards the mountains, my favorite part of the park.  A stroll through the shady oak grove is a welcome respite from the beating sun during the summer. Take a turn on to “Poles” it will transfer you up to “Pacific Ridge Trail” which has fabulous views looking out over the canyon and the ocean blue beyond.  This trail will take you back up the Westside of Crystal Cove State Park back to beginning.  Great hike!

Besides the beautiful vistas of the ocean, canyon and distant mountains- the bottom of the canyon is my favorite featuring a delightful and cooling stroll through a lovely oak grove.
Nature, cheaper than therapy.

Nature is the answer… it doesn’t matter what the question is. Nature can bring peace of mind, make you forget your woes, provide a needed break, reduce the stress and anxiety of our crazy work a day schedule, and bring some meaning into an otherwise mundane boring week. We all need to rebalance from time to time and what a great way to do it in the pursuit, and it is a pursuit… a journey if you will… towards balance. Perfect balance is unattainable, but we can certainly strive towards that Shangri-La. Get out into nature! Get out there and adventure! ‘Pursing Balance Through Adventure’ is good for what ails you, it cleanses the soul. Let’s stay in touch on this trek toward balance: LIKE, COMMENT, FOLLOW and SHARE. Like my hat? It’s yours. Want the shirt off my back? Done. Just go to SHOP APPAREL and lay your money down and you will be sporting top quality adventure wear with the theme we need to shout from the mountain tops “Pursuing Balance Through Adventure!” Need help finding a mountain top? Go to the Menu above for all of the special places that PBTA travels to. Each location is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently.

Happy Trails-

Roger Jenkins

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

Dripping Cave Hallow Oak Trail

ALISO AND WOODS CANYON WILDERNESS PARK

Activity: Day Hike

7.5 miles, 975’ elevation change, 3.5 hour duration, rated Moderate

Date: 5-25-20

Aliso and Woods Canyon Wilderness is a wonderful area especially in the Spring when everything is green. It is very popular with hikers and mountain bikers. I enjoy the park mostly on two wheels, but it is fun to do some hikes as well, since you can see things at a slower pace and absorb the area in a way that you wouldn’t be able to with a bike.

Okay… full disclosure I went there to mountain bike with my sailing and mountain biking friend and his teenage son, but there was an issue with my bike. So, they went on and I did not want to waste the day so I headed out on foot. I saw them later on the trail ending their ride, and I was still just beginning. Lol, that is the difference between hiking and biking.

The Aliso and Woods Wilderness Park is a wonderful area filled with rolling hills, with some oak groves, and lots of fun mountain biking trails as well as hiking. Most of the time they are one in the same, but not always, so on foot you can see parts of the park that you wouldn’t on a bike. Case in point the famous “Wrecked Car”. I imagine that some flash flood from days gone by swept this car through the canyon depositing it in a place you just would not expect to see it. Then climbing around on some of the rocks and into some openings or over hangs such as Dripping Cave would need to be done on foot.

So Dripping Cave, first of all the only time this cave would drip would be during a rain storm. Also it is more of an over hang then a cave, but that being said it is still fun to checkout. It is sometimes called Robber’s Cave as it was a hideout for the 1850’s Old West Bandito Juan Flores. It did not end well for the bandit and his gang maybe they needed a bigger cave to hideout in?

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure YouTube Channel
A flash floods somehow delivered this wrecked car into this ravine from days gone by. Now it is a spectacle along the path.
The Hikers Code: Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing behind, kill nothing but time. 

Thanks for coming along to a area that is one of my favorites, mostly to mountain bike, but on this day I discovered that it was great to get out on my own to legs while ‘Pursing Balance Through Adventure’. Great day and there are many more great days so please stay with me by doing these few simple things LIKE, COMMENT, FOLLOW and SHARE. Get a shirt, buff, and hat like mine at SHOP APPAREL. Go to the menu and you will find more than a dozen PBTA sites in which to lose yourself or find yourself whichever you might be in the mood for. Each location is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently.

Happy Trails,

Roger Jenkins

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

San Juan Capistrano Recreational Trail System

LAS RAMBLAS, PRIMA DESECHA, ENTRADA, CERRO REBAL, FOSTER CANYON, AND DELGADO CANYON LOOP

6.5 miles, 1,105’ elevation change, 3 hour duration, rated Hard

August 21, 2020

This hike is part of the San Juan Capistrano Recreational Trail System.  The area has a lot of up and down hills above some very nice homes.  It is a good workout with views of the Pacific, Dana Point Harbor and Doheny Beach.  

In the later part of the Summer the hills are brown and there are few wild flowers, but some.  This is particular hike is what I would describe as eclectic.  You really have a little bit of everything thrown together, most of the trail is double track or fire road, some portions are single track, but on this particular hike there is some asphalt and even some sidewalk hiking in a neighborhood and along a busy street.  

I call this type of hike an urban hike.  The reason isn’t that you aren’t hiking in some wilderness type of hills because you are, but I call it an urban hike because seldom are you out of view of the urban sprawl.  The houses down below are exceptional, however when I go out into nature I want to get away from that.  Delgado Canyon Trail was the only section going up a ravine that you don’t have views of houses and cars, that section of course was my favorite.  My next favorite section was Patriot Trail and seeing the Stars and Stripes flying high on a proper flag pole.  

I appreciate that this hike was a loop because it is alway more fun to be discovering new places, but now that I have done that and seen multiple different trails in the San Juan Capistrano Recreational Trail System I don’t need to go all the way down into the neighborhood below, and would rather do some out and back and stay a little more into nature.  

This is a good place for the residences of San Juan Capistrano and area to get some hiking in.   

Patriot Trail
Delgado Canyon
I added Harbor View Trail onto my hike, it added a little over 1/2 mile and a little additional elevation change.

“Hiking is the best workout! You can hike for three hours and not even realize you’re working out, and hiking alone lets me have some time to myself.” – Jamie Luner

Thanks for joining me as I hiked up and down hills in San Juan Capistrano, not quite the nature experience that I thrive on, but still pretty nice hike, and great training for my up coming Summit attempt at Mount Langley. I am really excited to be climbing to a much higher altitude than I have in the past, so this hike today with the temperature in the 80’s with good up and down elevation change is just what I need to prepare, and was a great test for my line of Adventure wear. My PBTA Logo Cap kept the sun off my face. My PBTA Logo Neck/Face Gaiter kept my neck from burning and it doubled as a Covid-19 Mask when passing fellow hikers on tight trails. And my PBTA Logo High Performance Moisture Wicking Tee kept me comfortable and not wringing wet. Get yours today at SHOP APPAREL.Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ travels to a lot of great places in the West. Checkout the menu above for some ideas. Each is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED separately. They are categorized for the most part by area. Please take a moment and COMMENT, LIKE, SHARE, and FOLLOW.

Happy Trails-

Roger Jenkins

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

Salt Creek Trail Western Route

LAGUNA NIGUEL, CALIFORNIA

Activity: Day Hike

Date: October 28, 2019

Distance 6.1 miles, 705’ elevation change, duration 2+ hours, rated Easy

We left from the Salt Creek Beach Park pay parking lot near the Laguna Niguel Ritz Carlton, which by the way- I think is a magnificent hotel, and the location perched on top of a cliff with the sparking blue pacific, tide pools, and a golden beach which boasts blue-green waters like you generally don’t see in California. The view is simply breathtaking, the location is unmatched.

We took the road that is just to the North of the Ritz Carlton property which runs beside a charming green belt little park like area until you reach the beach. We turned north and along this path is were you will join the Salt Creek Trail, which is part of OC Parks.

As I said, Salt Creek is really a marvelous beach with a nice little break and the water is so crystal clear that the colors are really different from most SoCal beaches. It is a splendid spot to spend the day. But we were here for a hike to not only take in the sights, but to stretch our legs, breath some fresh air, and enjoy.

This trail is used by walkers, bikers, and joggers. It’s main purpose would be for local residents to gain access to the nature of the little canyon, which it runs through, but also the beach. It runs past the Monarch Beach Resort and it’s golf resort, which adds to the beauty of the locale with it’s green links, reedy marsh area and exquisite landscaping. This outing is what I would refer to as a urban hike. I am all about wilderness, but in order to be ready for wilderness hikes and backpacking adventure you have to work your way up and this is a great way to do it, especially with views like those of Salt Creek.

Once I completed my trek up the Salt Creek Trail and back down I of course needed to spend some time out on that beautiful beach so I hiked along Monarch Beach, Salt Creek Beach, and Dana Strand Beach.

Views of Monarch Beach
Move the body, still the mind.

Always good to go for a walk and the starting point and the ending point awwwwesommmee… Thanks for joining us for this outing, lots more to come so come on COMMENT, LIKE, SHARE and FOLLOW. Checkout the menu above for the many different places that ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ explores. They are all separate sites and thus need to be followed individually. Why not get a hat or a shirt at SHOP APPAREL? Until next time.

Happy Trails,

Roger Jenkins, ’Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

Upper Newport Bay Ecological Reserve loop

Newport Beach

Activity: Day Hike

Date: 9-17-19

Distance 5.2 miles, 230’ elevation change, 2.5 hours hiking time, rated Easy

The Upper Newport Bay Ecological Reserve Loop is a nice way to spend a morning or afternoon. It is a great outing for those in the area, a way to stretch your legs, get some miles in, train for more aggressive hikes, and just to get out doors in some open space. On the bluffs surrounding much of Newport Beach’s Back Bay are nice homes, so you certainly are not out in the wilderness, which is what I enjoy the most, but like I said it is great for a local, easy, nice stroll along the back bay, saltwater marsh, mudflat, upland tidal area with it’s ebb and flood.

Some of the path is roadway, other parts are trail. This area is enjoyed by cyclists, joggers, hikers, bird watchers and even some horse lovers. Everything is well marked, and there are informative signs along the way on birds and wildlife, the area and it’s importance, and natural flora.

Along this route is the Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve Interpretive Center which is definitely worth a look.

“An early morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.” – Henry David Thoreau 

Thanks for joining me ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ Orange County Hiking as I unwind with a delightful walk along Newport Beach’s Back Bay. If you are looking for great little hikes in the OC this is the place to be, no matter if you just want to get outside, or if you are training for an upcoming epic adventure in the wilderness. If you look at the menu above you will see that there are many areas of the West for you to checkout. Even though they are all PBTA sites they all need to be FOLLOWED individually. Speaking of which please FOLLOW, LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE, and if you are going to be out in nature, working out or even just lounging you will need apparel for that. Check out the ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ SHOP APPAREL site for top quality logo gear which will help support this endeavor of finding one’s self through impactful adventures in nature and find some balance in your life to counter act the crazy work a-day world in which we live.

Happy Trails-

Roger Jenkins, Pursuing Balance Through Adventure