Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Dana Point Festival Of Whales Annual Sand Sculpting Contest March 8

DANA POINT FESTIVAL OF WHALES ANNUAL SAND SCULPTING CONTEST MARCH 8
PRE-REGISTRATION IS CURRENTLY OPEN THROUGH MARCH 2

(Dana Point, Calif.) – OC Parks presents the annual Festival of Whales Sand Sculpting Competition on Sunday, March 8 from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Baby Beach in Dana Point Harbor.

The contest is a day of fun, sun and creativity for families, friends and serious sand sculpting enthusiasts. Contestants may choose to make sand creations including whales, ocean creatures, pirates and ships, surfing and tropical island themed creations. The sculpting begins at 8 a.m. and judging will start at 2:30 p.m. Prizes will be awarded to the first through fourth place contestant finalists.

Dana Point Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) will be hosting the annual “Whale of a Pancake Breakfast & Raffle with Entertainment” at the OC Sailing and Event Center’s Dana Cove Room during the sculpting competition from 8-11 a.m. Admission for adults is $6 and $3 for children under 12 years of age. For information call (949) 275-3142.

Pre-registration for the Whale of a Sand Sculpting Competition is free and available currently through March 2 by emailing steve.bonhall@ocparks.com. Visit http://festivalofwhales.com or http://ocparks.com for a printable registration form. Space permitting, registration will also be available day of the event at 8 a.m. Contestants are asked to provide their own buckets and tools. Sand will be provided! Bring the family and enjoy some fun in the sun and sand at the annual Festival of Whales Sand Sculpting Competition.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Potato Chip Rock Hike (Mt. Woodson)

The hike to Potato Chip Rock is a must do for any hiking enthusiast in the greater San Diego area. The hike to Potato Chip Rock begins at Lake Poway and climbs to the top of Mt. Woodson, offering spectacular views the entire way! Potato Chip Rock is located at the top of Mt. Woodson. Ashley and I, along with our friends Krystal, Grant and Brandon, recently hiked to the top of Potato Chip Rock and would highly recommend this fun hike to others. For more pictures of Potato Chip Rock and our other hikes, make sure to check us out on Facebook and Instagram.

Directions to Trailhead: From San Diego, take the 15 freeway north and exit at Twin Peaks Road. Turn right and follow Twin Peaks Road to Espola Road and make a left. Just past Poway High School, make a right into the Lake Poway parking lot. Park near the concession stand after paying the entrance fee. From Orange County and Los Angeles, take the 5 freeway south towards San Diego. Take highway 78 east, towards the 15 freeway. Take the 15 freeway south and exit at Rancho Bernardo Road, turning left off of the freeway. Rancho Bernardo Road turns into Espola Road, which will bend to the right. Just past the Blue Sky Ecological Reserve, take the left turn into the Lake Poway parking lot. Park near the concession stand after paying the entrance fee.

Description of Hike:The hiking trail to Potato Chip Rock is well maintained and very well marked. It would be a challenge to get lost while hiking on this trail. The hike to Potato Chip Rock is an extremely popular hike in San Diego County. Expect to see many other hikers on this out and back hike. If you are seeking solidarity on a hike, this is likely not the hike for you. However, if you are looking for great scenery, camaraderie with fellow hikers, adventure and the chance for fun entertaining pictures, then this is the hike for you!

The hiking trail to Potato Chip Rock begins at the Lake Poway parking area. The city of Poway charges non-Poway residents a $5 fee for automobiles and a $2 fee for motorcycles between March 1 and mid-November. Lake Poway, in and of itself, is a popular destination for people in the area because it has other hiking trails, offers boating and fishing and other fun outdoor recreation. The hiking trail to Potato Chip Rock begins along the west shore of Lake Poway, right by the boat dock.  The trail moves south along a use trail that eventually connects to the Mt. Woodson trail. The Mt. Woodson trail immediately gains a couple hundred feet going over a hill, before descending back close to the shore area of Lake Poway. At this point, you will come to a junction and head right, continuing on the Mt. Woodson Hiking Trail to Potato Chip Rock.

Once you begin your climb away from Lake Poway, you are 2.9 miles from the summit of Mt. Woodson. The hiking trail is up-hill pretty much the entire way from this point. The hiking trail gains serious elevation after leaving Lake Poway. In just under a mile, you will arrive at a flat open area on the right side of the hiking trail. This is a good place to take a break as well as get some pictures. Once you leave this flat area, you are about 2 miles from the summit of Mt. Woodson. As you continue along the hiking trail, you will notice the terrain getting rockier and observe large granite boulders. The hiking trail continues to be a steady up-hill hike, all the way to the top. The trail is marked, with mileage and directional signs, all the way to Potato Chip Rock. Eventually, you will start to see the antennas on the summit of Mt. Woodson. Once you start to see the antennas you know you are getting closer to your goal. The total hike is 7.8 miles round trip with about 2,300 feet of elevation gain. It is a moderately strenuous hike due to the hefty elevation gain in such a short distance.

Further Thoughts: Ashley and I enjoyed our hike to the top of Mt. Woodson and our visit to Potato Chip Rock. Everyone in our group had a good time. It is important to remember this is an extremely popular hike. When we did our hike, there were probably several hundred people on the hiking trail. If you hike this area on the weekend, you can expect to wait about an hour for a picture on Potato Chip Rock (The lengthy wait is worth it though!) If you are looking to avoid long waits at Potato Chip Rock, then we would suggest starting your hike early or avoiding weekends. This was a picture of the crowd on the Saturday that we did our hike.

When planning your hike to Potato Chip Rock, make sure to bring plenty of water and wear sunscreen. There is limited shade along the hiking trail. The best seasons to do attempt the hike to Potato Chip Rock are Fall, Winter and Spring. During the summer time it can get really hot in this area, so take appropriate precautions if you hike to Potato Chip Rock during the summer. Dogs are allowed on this hike, so long as they are on a leash. We were surprised at the number of small dogs we saw along the trail given this is a moderately-strenuous hike and the trail is rocky at the top.

From the top of Mt. Woodson, you get amazing scenery of Southern California. You can clearly see Downtown San Diego, the Pacific Ocean, Saddleback Mountain and other notable locations. Mt. Woodson is 2,881 feet tall and offers any hiker the ability to take great picture. The area near the top of Mt. Woodson is filled with amazing large granite boulders that are fun to look at! Please note that the actual summit of Mt. Woodson is covered with radio antennas, which does distract from the views a little.

Lastly, when you get to Potato Chip Rock, be prepared to do a little climbing and "hopping" through a series of boulders. For some this will be pretty easy, but for other there can be a little more challenging than expected. Ashley and I would highly recommend this fun hike to others!

Rating: Elevation Gain: 2,300 ft. (Moderate - Strenuous), Distance: 7.8 Miles Roundtrip (Moderate)

Time to Complete Hike: 4 to 5 hours.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

OC Parks February 2015 Calendar of Events

Here are some highlights from the OC Parks February Calendar of events, if you are looking for hiking ideas or other outdoor events this month, make sure to check out some of these great events!

OC Parks FEBRUARY 2015 calendar of events

February 1, 8, 15, 22 – Ranger Led Nature Hike 
8 – 9 a.m.
Join our Park Rangers Sunday mornings for an easy 1-mile hike on the Nature Trail. The trail takes visitors through grassland, oak woodland, riparian and sandy cactus scrub communities.
Location: Caspers Wilderness Park. 33401 Ortega Highway, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
Cost: Free Parking: $5 per vehicle
Contact: (949) 923-2210
Special Instructions: Meet at Old Corral Day Use area. Wear comfortable clothing and hiking shoes. Sunscreen, water and insect repellent are recommended. Rain will cancel hike.

February 1 – Birding Basics
9 – 11 a.m.
Explore the diverse bird populations of Upper Newport Bay with naturalists. From seasonal migratory species to year-round residents, birders of all ages will enjoy a morning outdoors on these informative, yet fun-filled walks. The program will meet at the "Constellation Street" park entrance. Come prepared for your birding adventure with binoculars, hat, sunscreen and appropriate footwear.   
Location: Upper Newport Bay. 2301 University Drive, Newport Beach, CA 92660
Cost: Free Parking: Free
Contact: (949) 923-2290
Special Instructions: Pre-registration is required. Please phone (949) 923-2275, or email unbic@ocparks.com to save your spot.

February 1 – Talbert Restoration and Revitalization
9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Come join us for some R&R at Talbert Regional Park in Costa Mesa as we kick off the first community based Talbert Restoration & Revitalization Project. Learn about the native plants and wildlife of our Coastal zone. We will meet the 1st Sunday of each month 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the corner of 19th St. and Balboa Blvd. in Costa Mesa.
Location: Talbert Nature Preserve. 1298 Victoria Avenue, Costa Mesa, CA 92627
Cost: Free Parking: Free
Contact: (949) 923-2290
Special Instructions: This program will be cancelled if rainy/muddy conditions are present 24 hours prior or enrollment minimums are not met.

February 1 – Explore California Native Plant Life on the Trail to Barbara’s Lake
9 – 11:30 a.m.
Join us on a wonderful morning walk to Orange County’s only natural lake while learning about our native California plant life. This easy 2-mile leisurely hike will be led by Laguna Canyon Foundation volunteer naturalists. 
Location: Laguna Coast Wilderness Park. 18751 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, CA 92651
Parking: $3 per vehicle
Contact: (949) 923-2235
Special Instructions:  Ages 8 and up. Online reservations required, sign-up online: www.lagunacanyon.org/activities. Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, Little Sycamore Canyon Staging Area/Nix Nature Center (west side of Laguna Canyon Rd/SR-133, approximately 3.5 miles south of I-5/405). For questions, call (949) 497-8324 Mon – Fri or (949) 923-2235 Sat - Sun.

February 3 – Full Moon Hike in Wood Canyon
5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Seeing Wood Canyon bathed in moonlight and shadows is an enchanting experience. Take advantage of this special occasion because the park normally closes at sunset. Senior Park Ranger Joanne Taylor will lead a relaxing and informative 2 mile (150 ft. elevation gain) hike to explore the canyon as it’s seldom seen.
Location: Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park. 28373 Alicia Parkway, Laguna Niguel, CA 92677
Parking: Free
Contact: (949) 497-8324
Special Instructions:  Ages 7 and up. Online reservations required, sign-up online: www.lagunacanyon.org/activities. Aliso & Wood Canyons Wilderness Park, Canyon View Staging Area (from southbound Aliso Creek Rd, turn right on Glenwood [turns into Pacific Park] and right on Canyon Vistas. Meet at the entrance to Canyon View Park). For questions, call (949) 497-8324 Mon – Fri or (949) 923-2235 Sat - Sun.

February 4, 7, 11, 14, 18, 21, 25, 28 – Modjeska House Tour 
10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Docent-led tour of the historic house and grounds.
Location: 25151 Serrano Road, Lake Forest, CA 92630-2534
Contact: (949) 923–2230
Cost: $5 per person
Special Instructions: Advance reservations required, call (949) 923-2230. Directions provided with reservations. 

February 4, 26 – Scales, Feathers & Fur – Preschool Program 
10:15 – 11:15 a.m.
Learn about the differences between reptiles, birds and mammals! Class includes hands-on learning, fun crafts, and meeting zoo animals up close.
Location: Orange County Zoo. 1 Irvine Park Road, Orange, CA 92869
Website: http://www.ocparks.com/oczoo/
Cost: $5 per child (one parent included) Parking: $3 per vehicle
Contact: (714) 973-6846
Special Instructions: PHONE REGISTRATION REQUIRED. Call Marcy Crede-Booth, Education Coordinator at (714) 973-6846. For ages 3 to 4 years old. Parent must accompany child for duration of program. Additional parents/siblings/family/friends must pay admission fee to enter zoo.

February 5 – Fitness Hike at Ridge Park
8:30 – 11 a.m.
Raise your heart rate and your spirits on this difficult, strenuous and fast-paced, 6.5-mile hike (700-ft. elevation gain) over very steep, uneven terrain with Laguna Canyon Foundation volunteers.  
Location: Laguna Coast Wilderness Park. 18751 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, CA 92651
Parking: Free
Contact: (949) 923-2235
Special Instructions:  Ages 15 and up. Online reservations required, sign-up online: www.lagunacanyon.org/activities. Not for beginners. Hiking poles suggested. Ridge Park Staging Area (Newport Coast Drive to Ridge Park Rd. east to end; meet at the gate.) For questions, call (949) 497-8324 Mon – Fri or (949) 923-2235 Sat - Sun.

February 5, 12, 19, 26 – Tideland Tykes
10:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Join our preserve staff for a fun-filled parent and child experience that may include arts and crafts, storytelling, hands-on activities or outdoor nature walks. Come prepared for an exciting outdoor experience!
Location: Upper Newport Bay. 2301 University Drive, Newport Beach, CA 92660
Cost: $5 per student Parking: Free
Contact: (949) 923-2290
Special Instructions: Ages 2 to 5 years recommended. Space is limited and registration is required. Please call (949) 923-2275, or email unbic@ocparks.com to register.

February 6 – Family Nature Explore: Leafing Around
9 – 11 a.m.
Join Laguna Canyon Foundation Volunteers and OC Parks staff to explore leaves in their many shapes, sizes, and textures.  Enjoy a leaf story, a leaf song, leafing around, a leafy-snack, and make your own leafy Valentine’s Day card!  An easy half-mile walk. 
Location: Laguna Coast Wilderness Park. 18751 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, CA 92651
Parking: $3 per vehicle
Contact: (949) 923-2235
Special Instructions:  Ages 3 and up with a parent or adult. Online reservations required, sign-up online: www.lagunacanyon.org/activities. Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, Little Sycamore Canyon Staging Area/Nix Nature Center (west side of Laguna Canyon Rd/SR-133, approximately 3.5 miles south of I-5/405). For questions, call (949) 497-8324 Mon – Fri or (949) 923-2235 Sat - Sun.

February 6 – Wild Tales
10:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Visit with Preserve staff for story-telling fun! After a story, learn more about the natural history of the Bay through crafts and nature walks. Come prepared for an exciting outdoor experience!
Location: Upper Newport Bay. 2301 University Drive, Newport Beach, CA 92660
Cost: $5 per student Parking: Free
Contact: (949) 923-2290
Special Instructions: Ages 2 to 5 years. Space is limited and pre-registration is required. Please call (949) 923-2275, or email unbic@ocparks.com to register.  

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Munk Pack Variety Pack Giveaway Winner!

We had a number of good submissions for the Munk Pack Variety Pack Giveaway. Ashley and I, have made our selection and we want to congratulate Teresa Hulett for her comment on our Facebook Page, good luck on your hiking adventure to the top of San G. this year! Please contact us at ABhikingblog@gmail.com and we will get your prize to you! Thank you again to the folks over at Munk Pack for the opportunity to do the giveaway. For those submissions who were not selected, please stay tuned because we usually do several giveaways a year!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Munk Pack Variety Pack Giveaway!

The folks over at Munk Pack have been kind enough to do a product giveaway of one of their Munk Pack Variety Packs to one of our readers. Their Variety Pack contains each flavor of the flavors in our review! Munk Pack makes a variety of healthy oatmeal fruit squeezes. They make three different flavors of Munk Pack; Apple Quinoa Cinnamon, Blueberry Acai Flax and Raspberry Coconut. The oatmeal fruit snacks are packed with certified gluten-free oats and fruit bites. They’re also packed with fiber (3 or 4 grams each, if you’re counting) and omega 3. Munk Pack oatmeal squeezes are also certified gluten-free, non-GMO, vegan, and kosher. Driven by the need for convenient, portable, whole food snacks, and inspired by nature, Munk Pack provides delicious, on-the-go nutrition for sustained energy to last throughout the day. You can find our review of Munk Pack by clicking Here. Make sure to check Munk Pack out on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

Details of Contest: Please leave one comment on this post or Facebook page, about which hiking adventure Munk Pack will fuel for you? Feel free to leave as much or as little detail as you want about the particular hike you plan on bringing your Munk Pack on. You must leave your name in the post, anonymous posts will not be considered. The contest will be open through next Saturday, January 24, 2015 at Midnight. Only one entry per person. Ashley and I will select one winner next weekend! We look forward to reading everyone's submissions, good luck!

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