Tag Archives: 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

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

Castaways Park Loop

NEWPORT BEACH

Activity: Day Hike, Scenic Views

2.5 miles, elevation change 30’, 1 hour duration, rated Easy

A nice little hike with some scenic views of Newport Harbor. I started this hike with my friend Adam. I think in all the hikes that I have done with Adam he has finished like only a couple. First of all, he is really not a hiker, I have to say. Secondly, he is easily distracted with long stops for photos, and to smell the roses, so to speak. Heaven forbid if he should run into tourists. He quickly becomes a tour guide and will spend an exorbitant amount of time filling them in on all the ‘Must Do’s’ in the area. “Have you been to Pirates Cove?” If he sees anyone taking pictures his first question is would you like me to get a picture of both of you? At that point they should just run, because otherwise the one quick pic becomes a complete photo shoot and he is posing the entire family. So I just shake my head and continue on the hike. That Adam is a real character, to say the least.

But I digress, back to the Castaways Park Loop Hike. We started the hike in the parking area almost under the bridge on PCH then headed towards Back Bay along the little sandy beach with the bluff above. The hike then goes up the steep bluff. Once on top there are sweet views of Newport Harbor and the Back Bay. There is a pedestrian byway along the back of expensive homes and the bluff which leads to Castaways Park.

The park has some grassy areas, and then some fantastic tributes to the US Marines. There is signage regarding the foliage and also information on the history of the park and area. From there I just wound down the hill and made my way back to the car in the lot near the bridge, because of course I lost Adam along that sandy beach at the very beginning, lol.

Newport Beach Harbor leading toward the Back Bay with famed Fashion Island in the distance.

Thanks for joining Adam and I while ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’, well… we were pursuing that balance together for at least a good five minutes, before Adam stopped to examine something or other, lol. Stay in touch with us by these simple moves: COMMENT, LIKE, SHARE and FOLLOW. If you go up to the menu you will get some great ideas for your own chance for that balance that we speak so fondly of between the busy, hectic, craziness of our everyday lives to a more stress free, harmonious existence through adventures in nature. The locations you see in the menu are all separate websites and thus need to be FOLLOWED independently. Please pick up a top quality, high performance PBTA hat or a shirt, that will help support this website, at SHOP APPAREL .

Happy Trails,

Roger Jenkins

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

Crystal Cove State Park

LAGUNA COAST WILDERNESS PARK

Activity: Hiking

Distance 8.5 miles, approximately 1,300’ elevation change, duration 4 hours, rated Moderate

Date: 12/16/19

NO NAME RIDGE/NO DOGS/MORO CANYON/W. CUT ACROSS/RATTLESNAKE/RED TAIL/BOMMER RIDGE

Wow, that is a crazy long name for a hike. I should just call it every trail on the East side of the park. Crystal Cove is a great place to hike with 2400 acres of undeveloped land and more than 15 miles of trails that encompasses every level. As I have done in this hike, you can really mix and match different trails to how long, how far, how hard of a hike that you desire. As a matter of a fact if you want a shorter version of this hike see another of my posts on Crystal Cove State Park. This is a great destination on it’s own, but it is one of the closest really good hikes near me and a great place to train for adventures elsewhere.

No Name Ridge Road and No Dogs Road are big broad trails with nice views from the top and on the way down from the baseball field and little park above, where you will find of plenty of free parking. As you make your way down this trail, which takes you to the bottom of the State Park, you will enjoy wonderful views of the deep blue Pacific Ocean and Catalina Island on the horizon. On a clear day, like I had on this hike, San Clemente Island will be visible as well. Once you are at the bottom of the park you wrap around and hook up with Moro Canyon Road. This is the middle and lowest portion of the canyon, where you will find some spots with a little shade. Be prepared that the majority of the park has very little shade, and bring sufficient water for your day. From Moro Canyon Rd you will take the West Cut Across to access Rattlesnake Trail, which will give you more of a nature feel as you transition from the big broad roads to more of a path and portions will be a little on the steep side. Pay attention as there are some cool rock formations about 3/4 of the way off to the left which will be marked with a little sign. Rattlesnake empties to Red Tail Road and on to Boomer Ridge Road that will take you back to the start of the hike.

Very fun hike.

“Hiking is like Chicken Soup for your Soul.” -Roger Jenkins
Pursuing Balance Through Adventure 

Hike, hike, hike… it’s good for you. So that you can continue to be “Pursuing Balance Through Adventure“ with me please take the time to FOLLOW, COMMENT, LIKE, and SHARE. Check the menu above for so many splendid places you can set yourself free in. Each location is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently. Help yourself to a shirt or cap like mine at SHOP APPAREL.

See you out on the trail,

Roger Jenkins

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park

Near Foothill Ranch, California

This park, not unlike others of this sort in Southern California, has oak tree wooded canyons, rolling hills of grassland, and steep slopes covered with coastal chaparral, and it is a great place to hike. What is different is Red Rock Canyon, as you meander through that portion of the park you will be transported to Arizona, Nevada, or Utah- a little bit of canyon lands.

There are quite a few trails and the park is a multi use area for hikers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders, so you will be sharing the trail.

The park has quite a few mountain lion warnings signs posted as well as on their website and for good reason. In January 2020 a small boy was out in front of a group of adults and a mountain lion grabbed him by the neck. The lion released him when the father threw his backpack at him. The top carnivore exchanged the toddler for the pack and took the backpack up into a tree.

Over a decade and a half ago a mountain biker was killed while stooped over working on his bike. Later that day two women were attacked by the same animal. The cougar had one of them by the head as her friend fought the lion in a deadly game of keep away, foiling the attempt by the predator to drag the woman into the brush. While Orange County Sheriff Deputies were hunting the killer, it turns out that surveillance from an overhead support helicopter, using infrared, spotted the mountain lion on an embankment above the officers hunting them.

Mountain lions are beautiful animals and in most cases you will never know that they are there, but should you encounter one make yourself as large as possible, wave your arms, and shout, throw things at it, let it know you are not prey, and fight back with all you got. Always report any sighting to a Ranger as soon as possible. Mountain lions are ambush killers, will take you from behind and if they get the back of your neck… So use caution, travel in groups, and I carry a big knife. Probably won’t do me any good, but I imagine one having me by the back of the neck and me trying to stab it in the face while trying not to stab myself. Any attack on humans is extremely rare. In most cases they want nothing to do with you. You are not it’s food, and besides they have to pick their battles, an injury to such an animal will keep it from doing it’s job, eating.

We parked at the top of the park off of Santiago Canyon Road and entered at Gate #10. That put us on Whiting Spur Road and which took us to Four Corners, aptly named because from there you have four paths from which to choose. We explored Water Tank Road and then took Mustard Road, which is rated Difficult, to Red Rock Canyon Trail. As I mentioned, this sandstone rock canyon is unusual for this area and was fun to explore. Afterwards we split up as my friend Adam, who is not much of a hiker, took his time continuing downhill taking Borrego Trail not wanting to tackle the climb back out. The plan was I would meet him later in the day at the bottom of the park.

I went on to explore Cattle Pond Loop, just a short side excursion, and then up to Vista Lookout the highest point in the park at 1,500’ for a view of the entire area. Then retraced my steeps, but instead of staying on Mustard Road the entire journey I took Billy Goat Trail, another Difficult route. Billy Goat was a great hike, you know it is a hard trail when you heels aren’t touching as you head up. The trail was up and down and all around with a some switchbacks thrown in for good measure. There was one steep section of trail I was climbing and thankfully I was climbing into the sun or I might not have seen the silhouette of a large spider web with a half dollar sized spider in the middle about face height. After playing darts tossing rocks at it so that I could clear the web, I forged ahead and completed my exploration of this wonderful Park, Whiting Ranch Wilderness.

Thanks for joining Adam and I on this hiking adventure. We enjoyed Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park and need to go back and do some more ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’. For more adventures please COMMENT, FOLLOW, LIKE, and SHARE. For your adventure pleasure please checkout the menu as ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ travels to many different areas and be aware that each site in independent and thus needs to be FOLLOWED individually. I would appreciate it if you checkout SHOP APPAREL, a great place for adventure wardrobe and a place where you can help support PBTA.

Happy Trails,

Roger Jenkins, ’Pursing Balance Through Adventure’

Crystal Cove State Park

No Name Ridge/Ticketron/Deer Canyon/Red Tail Ridge/Bommer Ridge Loop

South Coast Wilderness

Near Newport Beach

Activity: Day Hike

Date: October 2019

Distance: 3.7 miles, 583’ elevation change, 90 minute duration, rated Easy

Crystal Cove is my Goto hike. It is in close proximity to my home, it boasts stupendous blue Pacific and Catalina Island views, pleasant coastal canyons, rambling hills, oak tree groves infused with fairy-tale light, and a good amount of elevation change.

I have hiked all of the trails in Crystal Cove State Park and mountain biked on a bunch of them as well. The cool thing is with all the trails in this park you can really mix and match what you are up for that day. You can decide on how steep, how long, how much time, if you want to see the top, if you want to see the bottom, which has a great beach, the middle portion has a coastal canyon, wide trails or hardly a trail, and parts of the park are more remote than others. There are some very fun mountain bike runs, and there are some pretty hard ones as well.

Then if that is not exciting enough at the top of the park, which is where I usually launch from, is right where three different portions of the South Coast Wilderness come together: Crystal Cove State Park, City of Irvine Open Space Preserve, and Laguna Coast Wilderness Park. So lots of choices.

The hike that I did was just what I was feeling for that Fall day. Not too long, not too short, not difficult, but there is one steep section that will get your heart pumping, scenic, and part of it is more remote. It goes from wide open broad fire road to single track with brush that is sometimes over groan, but most of the time the park keeps everything pretty ship shape. There is a smooth rock area that has a little opening which is fun to poke your head in. Something a little unusual. There are two spots in the park that can be camped at and Deer Canyon, which my hike took me past, is one of them. This could be a good place for a first time backpacking overnighted.

Crystal Cove State Park is a good playground for those who want to stretch their legs, get some fresh air in their lungs, and shake off the world for a little bit, and of course train for other outings. In other words it is a good spot to be ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’.

Hiking is the answer. Who cares what the question is.

When you cannot get into the backcountry, to the fir trees, to the mountains, to the lonely desert, you still need to get somewhere, and local hikes that are still fun, enjoyable, with open space, and nature fit the bill. Besides if you aren’t doing smaller training hikes then those epic adventures are going to be rough. Thanks for joining me on such as hike at Crystal Cove State Park while ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure. Now you should COMMENT, LIKE, SHARE, and FOLLOW. If you need hiking-adventure-workout-casual ware then I got just the place for you: SHOP APPAREL which is also how you can support this blog.

Happy Trails,

Roger Jenkins, Pursuing Balance Through Adventure