TALES FROM THE TRAIL (AND SOMETIMES THE ROAD TOO)

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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Best of Both Worlds

When I took off for the coastal hills on Sunday (about 2 o’clock) I had every intention of doing a five mile loop. And I was happy to do that – the pressure was off. But I mis-calculated some. Well more than just “some.” In fact, it’s been so long since I’ve done this particular loop, that I really just had no clue. For the record, the following loop out of Newport Coast totals 9.4 miles:

From Ridge Park, that trail downhill that turns into No-Name, then No-Dogs to the ranger station; from the station to beneath the highway to touch sand at Crystal Cove State Beach; then back through the parking lot to catch El Moro Canyon; the canyon to Nice N’ Easy Trail back to Bommer Ridge and then back to Ridge Park.

This really is a love trail system, with the best of both worlds – wilderness and majestic ocean views, not to mention a stop at the great Pacific. But the thing that I REALLY hate about this park, is that I start at the top, which means downhill in the beginning. Of course, downhill in the beginning means uphill at the end. I hate uphill at the end. Uphill at the beginning is always my first choice. (For the record, parking is free if I start at the top at Ridge Park and enter via Laguna Wilderness. If I park at the bottom and enter via Crystal Cove, parking is $15.00. I am a free parking kind of gal, though I do purchase adventure passes so that I can park in the mountains.)

Anyway! Climbing out of El Moro Canyon was a bit hellish. I was wiped out before the really hard part too. Funny how I kept thinking, “The really hard part is almost here,” as I staggered about the trail. I probably looked like a drunkard. The hardest part is the hardest part because its exposed (meaning it will get hot) and super steep for too long a distance. And then, when I finally reached the REALLY hard part, yikes! Just put one foot in front of the other was all I could do. And it went on and on and on. And Nice N’ Easy, was NOT nice and easy. It went on forever as well – all the while with pretty ocean views.

Needless to say, I was home much later than planned. But I was happy to have done it. All the struggle is really worth it. I think I thrive on struggle.

No-Name Ridge:IMG_0232

Aha! The ocean comes into view on No-Name:IMG_0233

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Crystal Cove State Beach:IMG_0244

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Hemlock lined trails:IMG_0251IMG_0258

The REALLY hard part:

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El Moro Canyon:IMG_0278

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