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Friday, November 16, 2018

Bald Peak For The First Time (Again)

Last Sunday, I got out fairly late (about 8:30 am) and headed out to Maple Springs Road. I was hoping to re-take photographs of the yellow Maples (having accidentally deleted them a couple of weeks back!). Upon arriving to the trailhead, I continued onto Maple Springs Road, driving the first 3.5 miles, just like I always do. At the end of the paved road, I backed into a space on the dirt over the dry creek. Getting situated in the spot just right, I accidentally pushed down the accelerator instead of the break (which was so weird) and I lurched forward up the road. And it was at that very instant that I decided not to park, but to keep on driving. On a whim, I drove up a little over four miles to a nice flat area called “Four Corners.”

Well, I arrived too late in the season to re-take pictures of the beautiful yellow maples. Their leaves had all dropped. But all was not lost. Maple Springs is still a beauty to the eyes no matter what season. The drive up was slow, and fun – I am probably too careful when it comes to off-roading (I don’t do it much). The wind was rough and cold at the top (the top being Four Corners where Harding Truck Trail, Maple Springs and The Main Divide meet). And when I opened my truck door it slammed against me. After that, I sat in my truck a bit to gather the nerve to face the wind and cold. I did so shooting a live Facebook video. Saying what I was going to do on live video, meant I had to do it (even if only one or two people watched).

IMG_5162Being that I saved so much time by driving up the mountain instead of hiking it, I decided to make another go at Bald Peak. A few months back, maybe weeks, I hiked to what I had thought was Bald Peak (again) and happened to turn on my phone gps. Lo and behold, I was not standing on Bald Peak. So, I have been wanting to find the real Bald Peak for quite some time now, being that it was already crossed off my peak list.

The actual Bald Peak was easy to find, having mapped it out previously. Had to do some scrambling to reach the top, and it was a bit scary hiking down due to its steepness. Thankfully, there was a sign posted at the peak to show me that I had indeed bagged the actual Bald Peak.

Some of the fire damage on The Main Divide:IMG_5171IMG_5173

Looking across at Maple Springs Road:IMG_5178IMG_5187IMG_5208

The climb up to Bald Peak:IMG_5226IMG_5230IMG_5231IMG_5232IMG_5253

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

No Time to Post–But I’m Gonna Anyway! (Wood Cyn)

Super-duper behind on everything, literally everything in my life. But I do manage to get in my hikes here and again. This one was from over a week ago (Nov. 4) – I took a nice little stroll through Wood Canyon in Aliso Viejo, with a detour onto Wood Creek and Cave Rock trails. It was lovely and quite therapeutic. I saw 2 coyotes and 5 deer – and all at once. Alas, I was not able to retrieve my camera fast enough. Also, it suddenly came to me to check out the creek for crawdads, because it’s fall! And that’s when the crawdads show their faces. I’ve been searching out crawdads since I was 17 years old when my husband and I started dating. We used to catch them in Walnut Creek in Covina California and put them in his aquariums. Sure enough on this hike, I found several walking about the creek floor on my way out. On the way back however, I checked again, and those orange fresh water crustaceans had completely disappeared. I did catch a picture of the crawdads who appeared to be angrily waving their claws at me, and I caught a lot of other cool pictures of this lovely, local canyon named Wood Canyon. I’ll just let them tell the story because I don’t have any time. None. Zero. Zilch!

7.75 miles

Wood Canyon Trail:IMG_4969IMG_4971Wood Creek Trail:IMG_4982IMG_4995My Crawdad friends (look closely through the water):IMG_5012Cave Rock Trail (a hidden gem in Wood Cyn):IMG_5019IMG_5037IMG_5045IMG_5060IMG_5061

Monday, November 12, 2018

Scouting Chiquita

Way back on November 2nd, I drove up Ortega Highway in the morning and parked across the street from the Ortega Oaks Candy Store. My mission on this Friday’s hike was to simply scout out San Juan Loop and Chiquita Trail to Chiquita Falls. This is the one section of Chimera that we haven’t had a look at recently. Sounded like a great opportunity for my Friday hike.

The trails were pretty much all clear, except for one particular spot where a branch had fallen, but was still hanging from the tree, directly over the trail. That’s something that’s got to be cleared.

It was a lovely, strenuous 9+ miles. It’s tough, and quite technical -- the landscape is littered with boulders. It was so tough that I even ran out of fluids, but fortunately, I knew where the water stash is. I probably would not have drank as freely had I not known that I could refill at a certain point.

Rather than post pictures, because frankly, I do not know where the pictures are. I do know that they are not on the sd card that is in my computer. But I do know where the video is, so video clips it is for my San Juan Loop/Chiquita Trail hike.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Clearing Chiquita

We are still in prep mode for Chimera (11/17-11/18), hiking out to the trails every weekend to clear fallen trees and stash water. It’s been fun, and at the same time. I’d like to clarify something before continuing though. Is the trail off of San Juan and San Juan Loop in The Ortegas called Chiquito or Chiquita. Well, for years I called it Chiquito Trail because that’s what all the official maps read. But everyone, and I mean everyone, calls it Chiquita Trail. I felt a little foolish being the only person I know who calls it Chiquito Trail. Well, it turns out, and this is pretty funny, that the sign at the San Juan Junction reads: Chiquita Trail. But the sign at The Viejo Tie junction reads Chiquito Trail, and the sign at the San Juan Loop junction, reads Chiquito Trail also. That’s pretty dang hilarious. So, I decided I’m going to call it what everyone else calls it, Chiquita Trail, even though 2 out of 3 of the signs read Chiquito Trail.

Anyway, I ended October (10/27/18) with another trip to the Chimera trails. We stashed water, and did some trail clearing. It’s looking pretty good now, and we have about 72 gallons of water hidden. That is about 70 gallons short of our goal. It’s tough getting volunteers to hike that those technical trails weighed down with water. But thankfully, we have a few hearty souls every weekend. It’s a fun, hard workout, and also thankfully, we have nice breezes being that we are fully into autumn. Gotta love, love, love that autumn.

And so does this baby tarantula:IMG_4817IMG_4820IMG_4835IMG_4823Taking selfies while the buys work Winking smile:IMG_4843IMG_4847

Total miles: 7

Elevation gain: 1,151

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Hike in the Hometown

IMG_4765Last Friday’s hike (10/26/18), I was fortunate to have my husband along. This is the reason I opted for a hike in the hometown – a nice long 5.41 mile walk along Doheny and Capistrano Beach. The tide was high, the breeze was cool. And we were back home in no time, which was important for my husband so that he could get back to work. For me – it was my day off! And what a lovely day off, complete with lovely Pacific Ocean views. We ploughed through the sand for some of the miles. But the beach ended up at such a slant in certain locations, that we opted for boardwalks and parking lots. It’s a strange wonder that I don’t walk much in my hometown anymore. Instead, I’m constantly on the road, driving good distances to hike in locations far away were I can only see the great Pacific from afar. I really do live in a wonderful location, expensive as hell, but we were fortunate enough to get in before we were priced out. The California Riviera, that’s what some people call this place that I have called home for thirty years. I have never been to the Riviera, so I don’t know for sure about the comparison. But I do know that the coastline out here is magnificent! 


Sunday, October 28, 2018

Maple Springs Road in the Autumn

Going way back now, to Friday’s Hike on October 19, 2018, I hit Maple Springs Road in the late morning after getting my boys off to school. I got a later start than I wanted, but heck, it was Friday and I was on Maple Springs Road! I have to say that Maple Springs Road in Silverado, California, is one of my favorite places, and if the drive wasn’t so long, I would be there every week. What a wonderful sight to see. The weather was cool, and most importantly, Maple Springs Road is loveliest in the autumn. It is best in the autumn because the Maple leaves have turned yellow, and there’s another lower shrub that turns a lovely red. So for all those people who say that California does not have seasons, we do indeed have seasons, and autumn is probably my favorite!
So, I hiked up Maple Springs Road to Four Corners. From there, I took on The Main Divide, only to find it closed heading toward Modjeska Peak. Mind you, I checked the national forest website, and it indicated that The Main Divide was only closed from Santiago Peak to Ortega Highway. Well, dang it, I moved forward anyway, and hiked to the saddle, which is the portion of trail in between Modjeska and Santiago Peak. I stayed a while, taking in the view of The O.C. before heading back, running some, to complete my 12.81 miles. Fortunately, I was not ticketed for going into a closed area.
I blundered back at home, and accidentally deleted all the photos I took. But I didn’t delete the video clips. Hopefully autumn will still be in the air when I return, because it’s time for some autumn pictures (the video clips don’t do the area justice).

Monday, October 22, 2018

Prepping for Chimera

Chimera is going to be a whole new beast this year, thanks to the #HolyFire. Much of the original course (which had been re-worked due to the Silverado fire some years back) was burned this summer. We’ve still have a hundred mile course, but now it’s basically a repeat of “The Candy Store Loop” five times. FIVE times. There are several other distances available also. Timing will probably be very difficult. But luckily for me I am not in charge of time. I am in charge of coordinating volunteers.

A whole new beast means completely different needs from the volunteers. We don’t need 4wd drivers any longer. And we don’t need as many aid stations. But what we do need is people to hike-in to stations, and more importantly, people to hike out in the weeks prior to take care of the trails and to stash water. For the past two weekends (10/13 & 10/21), I’ve gone out with a group of wonderful volunteers to hide some of that water. I got to hike with people I have not met before, and I got to do some hiking with regular volunteers and some friends from the trail. And boy has it been a good workout. The trail is single-track and technical, and carrying water, well, that makes it much tougher. Fortunately, it is gorgeous out there. And even more fortunately, the weather has turned. It is autumn!. Yah for autumn!! Over the two trips, we’ve stashed 60 gallons so far. We have a tall order to fill -- goal is 150 gallons of water stashed by race day. I am so appreciative of the folks who volunteered to do this crazy task! What a great group of people, and what a fun workout for me.