Tag Archives: Things to do in Orange County

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

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

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

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

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

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

Back Bay Hike

UPPER NEWPORT BAY ECOLOGICAL RESERVE LOOP

NEWPORT BEACH, CALIFORNIA

Activity: Day Hike

Date: 11-1-19

Distance 5.25 miles, 60’ elevation gain, 2.5 hours, rated Easy

Upper Newport Bay Ecological Reserve Loop is actually over a 10 mile hike. I hiked half of the loop on this day and I hiked the other side of the bay about 6 weeks earlier. It was a very pleasant outing and a nice way to appreciate nature. The sky, the bay, the marsh, the birds… very enjoyable and a good way to get some miles in and bask in the sunshine.

I started at the Trailhead that you see on the map I have enclosed in this posting. The roadway is shared by vehicles in one direction, and bikers, joggers, and walkers in each direction. Heading in a northerly direction along the bay it is not long before you come across Big Canyon Trail, which is a nature walk within a hike. Along the Big Canyon pathway you will have plenty of educational signage to learn about the bay, the vegetation, birds, as well as the the watershed.

The later part of the hike you will gain some elevation as you head up to Vista Point, which is about the top of the bay and the top of the loop. I retraced my way back enjoying a nice afternoon and a lovely couple of hours of so.

Two blackbirds harass a large bird of prey. Two against one but he is much bigger, not sure if it is such a good idea.
“Slow down and enjoy the simple pleasures in life.”

Thanks for joining me on this little jaunt at Newport Beach’s Back Bay, the Upper Newport Bay Ecological Reserve is for the birds, literally. If you are a birder than you will love this place as thousands of birds migrate through this reserve. If you aren’t you will enjoy the exercise, the gentle breeze, the bay and the day. Please COMMENT, LIKE, SHARE, and FOLLOW. Also checkout the menu above as there are many places to explore that will get your adventure juices flowing. Please note that they are all separate sites and thus must be followed independently.

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

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’