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Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Hidden in Plain Sight

This past Thursday, January 4th, I took off in the morning for a loop out of Laguna Beach into Aliso and Wood Canyons. I was greeted by a field of deer at the bottom of Mentally Sensitive Trail. Then I meandered about a bit on some of my usual trails, Wood Canyon, Cave Rock, Mathis and Coyote Run. I climbed a tree on Cave Rock (seriously, I did – but it was fairly easy being that a branch reached out right up against a giant boulder that I was sitting on. After a while, I meandered about a bit more, and then off onto another trail that I had not been on in a long time. And that’s I found a new secret place that was hidden practically in plain sight. How many times have I hiked or ran the trails in Wood Canyon? I cannot number. This new secret place is on a giant rock cropping overlooking Mathis Canyon. (I am sure to return!). After that lovely experience, I decided to torture myself by hiking up Mentally Sensitive. That was not quite murder, but it was tough.

Overlooking Aliso Canyon (From Moulton Meadows Park)IMG_4779Moving down Mentally Sensitive Trail with a view of Saddleback Mountains

IMG_4785Descending Mentally Sensitive TrailIMG_4793Bottom of Mentally Sensitive, near Meadows TrailIMG_4801Cave Rock Trail:IMG_4808In my tree on Cave Rock:IMG_4809In my cave on Cave RockIMG_4826Wood CreekIMG_4836Nature’s StaircaseIMG_4850My newest secret placeIMG_4856IMG_4870The climb out, up Car Wreck TrailIMG_4900IMG_4905IMG_4909IMG_4918IMG_4927

About 9 miles, 1,800’ of elevation gain

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Church Social Distancing Style

The world’s gone crazy. It has, hasn’t it? I mean hasn’t it? Confusion and chaos has run amuck. And it looks like my generation got caught asleep at the wheel (What generation is that? Well, I’m 55, so that generation). No matter what side you’re on in this global argument (yes, this is a global discussion, to put it mildly, not an American only discussion), it’s all occurred on our watch. Perhaps you don’t know what I’m speaking about. Many people know exactly what I’m talking about. But at the same time, I don’t think my own children know what I’m talking about. They don’t see it. (Boomer!) 

So, what does a trail wandering American girl do in times like this? We’re still technically in a lockdown here in California. Take out food only, yet all of the restaurants are open with outdoor dining. The beaches are crowded, as are the stores and malls. We’re mostly all home, but that doesn’t mean we know our neighbors and local grocery store workers more. We’re all masked, and we don’t talk to each other, because it’s too difficult to hear from behind the masks and plastic barriers. On a nice note, you can tell the people who are smiling beneath their masks. You can see it in their eyes. So, I keep trying to smile at people behind my mask, hoping too that it shows in my eyes. And so, I ask once again, what does a girl like me do in a time like this? There really is only one thing to do and that is what I always do, what I’ve always done. Wander. I strap on some shoes, put on my pack and set out for the trails. Nowadays though, I do my wanderings with the specific intent of seeking the face of God.  

Black Star Canyon up to the historic “Indian” village site, Sunday, January 10, 2021, 12.4 miles, 1,657’ of elevation gain.

Take me to Church, Social Distancing Style









Thursday, December 31, 2020


So here we are again, the end of another year. What a strange one indeed. I surely didn’t see this one coming: Pandemic, telecommuting, son’s illness, and much, much more. It’s been tough at times. But what they tell you about the fire, it’s true. It refines gold! There’s a lot of people in today’s society going through refinement. For me, refinement has resulted in some totally unexpected enlightenment. I am grateful to begin 2021 with hope.

I’ll end the last post of 2020 with my last hike of 2020, way back on November 30 with my good friend Kelly. I was on an extended fast that day, and I honestly didn’t think that it would be a problem. And it wasn’t, but it surely wiped me out more than normal. What a beautiful day and wonderful company climbing up San Juan Trail to Cocktail Rock. A little over 13 miles.

What a gift! I hope to have more in 2021.

Happy New Year!

San Juan Trail (11/30)









Sunday, November 29, 2020

Flag Hike

The best thing about the holidays is having my boys home. I have two off at college now. One is out of state and the other is still in California, close enough to come home for Thanksgiving break. So, we went for a hike, a 4 mile flag hike overlooking the town he grew up in. All these years my sons have  been able to see the flag in the hills from afar. I used to point it out when I dropped the boys off at elementary school – I think every day. I was happy to finally show one of my sons up front in person. I was still tired from my Black Star Canyon hike, so I dragged a bit. The clouds were dark with rays of sunlight filtering through. It was of course delightful. Loving the holiday season this year.

Las Ramblas Trails     IMG_4531 San Juan Capistrano Mission from afarIMG_4535IMG_4550IMG_4552IMG_4556IMG_4558

Friday, November 27, 2020

Great Awakening

IMG_4393My outlook has shifted drastically lately. Things have been snowballing in my mind and I believe in my spirit too this month. And as a result, I wake before dawn, without effort, every day. I have had a great change in perspective. But that is for another day. Not today. I will say that November 2020 has been a month of transformation. And 21 days into that month, I took a pleasurable hike up Black Star Canyon to Beek’s Place on The Main Divide. Round trip, including a couple of detours, totaled 16.5 miles which is quite a bit more than I’m used to lately. The climb was tough, but I did it in celebration of my great awakening.

People say that Black Star Canyon is haunted. I’ve never experienced or seen anything that looked like a haunting. The canyon surely doesn’t have an uplifting history with a terrible school bus accident, an infamous massacre in 1831 and other troubling activities in more recent times. I honestly don’t believe that it’s haunted. To be fair, I’m not sure I believe in hauntings all together. But I do believe in a spiritual world, and there may be something spiritual about the place. It is a place that I love, that’s for sure. Even though it’s just a switchback truck trail, the climb is a joyful struggle with spectacular views.


The morning of November 21 began quite cold, but it warmed up quickly, as soon as the steep climb out of the canyon began (at about mile 2.5). When the climb begins, it’s ruthless for about the next 3 miles. Just after the Mariposa Reserve sign, there’s an old Native American camp where you can see the holes in the rocks where they ground their food – perhaps acorns, as the area is covered with Oak Trees. I stopped at this spot for a while and sat at one of the large boulders overlooking the valley from which I had just climbed out. After that spot, there’s a descent down onto a lovely plateau where the hike becomes magical – an old isolated country road winding it’s way through scattered Oaks and yellowing Maples. The nice flat reprieve through the plateau is short lived however, ending with more climbing switchbacks to the final destination, Beek’s Place on The Main Divide. Of course, I spent much time at Beek’s place as I always do. But having left my home so early in the morning, I had plenty of time and did not need to worry about rushing back to make it out before dark. Even with the detours I was back at my truck by early afternoon. Of course, I arrived home wiped out.

Where Mariposa Reserve starts:IMG_4425Old “Indian” camp:IMG_4429IMG_4430IMG_4431The “plateau”:IMG_4440Looking back at the “plateau”:IMG_4448Beek’s Place:IMG_4454IMG_4466IMG_4468IMG_4476IMG_4480IMG_4496