Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Bedford Peak Hike (Cleveland National Forest)

Recently a group from the lawfirm I work at, Bremer Whyte Brown and O'Meara, went on a hike to the top of Bedford Peak on a Saturday morning. With spring weather here to stay it was the perfect time to get out and do some hiking. Here are some pictures from our hike to the top of Bedford Peak.  The hike to the top of Bedford Peak in the Cleveland National Forest is a fun rewarding hike with great views of Southern California. Bedford Peak is located almost on the border line between Orange County and Riverside County, in the Santa Ana Mountain Range. The hike to Bedford Peak is a fun hike in Southern California as it offers sweeping views of the Santa Ana Mountains and the greater Southern California area. Bedford Peak sits at an elevation of approximately 3,800 feet. If you are looking for a great peak to hike in Orange County, a detailed trail write-up of Bedford Peak Can be Found by Clicking Here

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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

OC Parks April 2014 Calendar of Events

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

OC Parks APRIL 2014 calendar of events

April 1, 12, 15, 26 – 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. 

April 1 - 19 –Eggstravaganza at Irvine Park Railroad
10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Weekdays
10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Weekends
From Saturday, March 29 through Saturday, April 19, the Easter bunny will be at Irvine Park Railroad for the annual Easter Eggstravaganza. The Easter Eggstravaganza will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends. Children ages 2 through 12 can participate in an Easter egg hunt, where each egg will be filled with candy or a prize. The Easter egg hunts begin daily at 10 a.m. Tickets must be purchased on the day of the event in order to receive a wristband for the Easter egg hunt. There will also be a moon bounce, hay ride, Easter cookie decorating, picture stands, carnival games and face painting.
Location: Irvine Regional Park. 1 Irvine Park Road, Orange, CA 92869
Contact: (714) 973–6835
Parking: $3 per vehicle weekdays/$5 per vehicle weekends
Special Instructions: Please visit http://www.irvineparkrailroad.com/content/easter-eggstravaganza for complete details, including times and costs.

April 3 – 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 steep and uneven terrain with Laguna Canyon Foundation volunteers.
Location: Laguna Coast Wilderness Park. 18751 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, CA 92651
Cost: $2 donation per person Parking: Free  
Contact: (949) 923-2235
Special Instructions: Ages 15 and up. 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).

April 3, 11, 16 – Bonkers for Bunnies – Preschool Program
10 – 11 a.m.
Come learn all about bunnies and meet some up close! Class includes hands on learning and fun crafts!
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. Additional parents/siblings/family/friends must pay admission fee to enter zoo. Please note these Easter-themed classes fill quickly!

April 3, 10, 17 – 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, story telling, 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 8 years recommended. Space is limited and registration is required. Please call (949) 923-2275, or email unbic@ocparks.com to register.

April 4 – Explore the Plants 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 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
Cost: $2 donation per person Parking: $3 per vehicle
Contact: (949) 923-2235
Special Instructions:  Ages 8 and up. Online reservations required, sign-up online: www.lagunacanyon.org/activities. Ages 8 and up. Little Sycamore Canyon Staging Area/Nix Nature Center (west side of Laguna Canyon Road/SR-133, approximately 3.5-miles south of I-5/405). For questions, call (949) 497-8324.

April 4, 11, 18 – 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, hands-on activities 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 8 years. Space is limited and pre-registration is required. Please call (949) 923-2275, or email unbic@ocparks.com to register.  

April 5 – Free Kids’ Fishing Clinic
7 – 11 a.m.
OC Parks would like to invite you and your kids to a fun morning of fishing at Tri-City Regional Park! This Kids Fishing Clinic (for ages 15 and under) is designed to teach kids how to fish, while giving them an opportunity to catch a few from our lake.
Whether this is your first time fishing or you’re a regular, you will have fun trying to catch some fish. Instructors will be on hand to demonstrate, assist and answer any questions.
Please bring your own pole. If you do not have a fishing pole there will be some available for loan. The lake will be stocked with Rainbow Trout and there will be a two-fish limit. Prizes for tagged fish.
Tri-City Regional Park. 2301 Kraemer Blvd, Placentia, CA 92870
Website: http://ocparks.com/parks/tri_city_park
Cost: Free Parking: Free
Contact: (714) 973 -3180
Special Instructions:  Registration is required at the OC Parks check-in table on the day of the event.
April 5, 12, 19, 26 – Nature Walk 
9 – 10:30 a.m.
Join our Naturalists on a nature walk and learn about Trabuco Canyon animals and nature. Light to moderate walk on mostly paved roads. Meet at the Nature Center just inside the main entrance of the park.
Location: O’Neill Regional Park. 30982 Trabuco Canyon Road, Trabuco Canyon, CA 92678
Cost: Free Parking: $5 per vehicle
Contact: (949) 923-2260
Special Instructions: All ages welcome. Event is conditional on the weather.

April 5 – Moulton Peak Geology and Natural History Hike   
9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Join Laguna Canyon Foundation volunteer naturalists on this 4-mile Geology hike (600-ft. elevation gain) over steep and uneven terrain. Hike through the oak-filled woodland of Wood Canyon and continue to the park’s highest peak. We will pass by rock formations that tell of ancient floods, landslides and the building of a great shell-filled limestone reef. This hike is not for beginners! Bring water, hiking shoes (hiking poles suggested), snacks, and field guides of your choice and a sense of adventure!
Location: Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park. 28373 Alicia Parkway, Laguna Niguel, CA 92677
Cost: $2 donation per person Parking: Free
Contact: (949) 497-8324
Special Instructions: Ages 15 and up. 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.

April 5, 6, 12, 13, 19, 20, 26, 27 – Redwood Grove Hike
9:30 – 11 a.m.
Join OC Parks' trained staff on an easy 1.1-mile hike to the park's Coastal Redwood grove. You will use your 5 senses to engage with nature as you stroll to the Redwoods. You will also have an opportunity to learn about our native plants along the way. The hike begins each Saturday and Sunday morning at 9:30 a.m. from the park's Nature Center. Don't forget to visit our Nature Center when you are there, too!
Location: Carbon Canyon Regional Park. 4442 Carbon Canyon Road, Brea, CA 92823
Cost: Free Parking: $5 per vehicle
Contact: (714) 973-3160
Special Instructions: All ages. Participants should remember water, sunscreen, hat, hiking shoes. Meet at Nature Center located at east end of the park. Reservations preferred, please call (714) 973-3160 or email carboncanyon@ocparks.com.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Yaktrax Product Review

Recently the folks at Yaktrax sent Ashley and I a pair of YakTrax to review on one of our hikes. They sent Ashley a pair of their Yaktrax Pro and me a pair of their Yaktrax Run. Unfortunately, the winter of 2013 - 2014 in Southern California was extremely light with limited to no snow in the Southern California Mountains. We did not have the chance to test out the pairs of Yaktrax on one of our hikes in Southern California.  However, we did get a chance to test them out on our recent hiking trip to the Grand Canyon National Park in mid-February.

We tested our pairs of Yaktrax out on one section of the Bright Angel Trail in Grand Canyon National Park.  The conditions when we hiked the Bright Angel Trail were light snow and ice on the upper portion of the trail closer to the canyon rim with more snow/ice on north facing slopes. Temperatures at night during our visit were in the upper teens with highs during the day in the low forties. Needless to say we had a good chance to test these out and will update this review once we get a chance to hike in the snow next year in Southern California. We only went down the Bright Angel Trail 1.7 miles to the second tunnel which has an elevation gain/loss of approximately 600 feet.

Here is a little bit more about the Yaktrax Pro (pictured below): It features a spike-less light weight design and has 360 degrees of traction with a patented skid lock coil system. It also has a durable natural rubber blend for a good fit of the Yaktrax Pro. The removable performance strap and the heel tab allows for a good fit and easy installation and removal of the Yaktrax Pro.

The Yaktrax Pro performed good on the hike. They provided noticeably improved traction as compared to regular shoes without them. They were also really easy to put on and take off.  The coils really seemed to grip very well on the ice and snow on the Bright Angel Trail. Brian and I saw several other hikers wearing Yaktrax Pros as well while on the Bright Angel Trail. We were glad we had them for the snowy/icy portions of the Bright Angel Trail because it might have been a little to slipper to do without.

Here is a little bit more about the Yaktrax Run (pictured below):: It is an ice traction device anatomically designed for use with running shoes (and can easily be applied to trail running shoes). It allows you to run naturally on packed snow and ice with the Yaktrax Run's combination of removable spikes and steel coils, providing 360° of traction. According to the manufacture, the Yaktrax Run can be worn in temperatures as low as ‑41° Fahrenheit. (This number was not actually independently tested by either Ashley or I.  If it is ever ‑41° Fahrenheit I can guarantee you we will be indoors.)

When hiking I first found that it was relatively easy to put on and take off the Yaktrax Run. I would recommend obviously sitting down while doing this. I felt that the spikes and traction coils did their job on the mixture of hard packed snow and ice. We also wore them on section of the trail with little to no snow and they still held up very well. The rubber also appeared pretty sturdy and it looked like they would hold up for a while (Good Durability). I am going to caution readers that these are traction devices and not crampons. If you are doing any sort of a hike with significant ice/snow and lots of climbing then you need to invest in a good pair of crampons.

If for some reason you had a pair and they were to break, YakTrax will replace them so long as they are under warranty if you contact them within 90 days (should cover a winter of use – they are clear to say that these are not to be used on bare asphalt or concrete). I would assume retails stores would also honor the warranty but I am sure that probably varies depending on location.

The Price for the Yaktrax Run is $40.00 and the cost of the Yaktrax Pro is $30.00. They are both reasonably priced and the Yaktrax Run probably offers just a little bit more traction with the spikes. They can be purchased in retail stores like REI or through online retailers like Amazon.

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Mountain Lion Spotted in Hollywood Hills Is "Definitely" P-22

Many readers of our blog are probably already aware of the resident mountain lion that has taken up residence in Griffith Park over the past two years. P-22 was tagged with a GPS collar in March 2012. The 4-year-old mountain lion had left the Westside of the Santa Monica Mountains and reportedly made its way to Griffith Park after crossing the San Diego (405) and Hollywood (101) Freeways. A photo of the lion was captured late last year by a National Geographic Photographer. Here is last weeks news story with the video of the mountain lion taking a stroll in the Hollywood Hills. Ashley and I figured everyone would enjoy knowing about the survival of this amazing animal so close to one of the most populated cities on earth.

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Monday, March 17, 2014

Police Seek Public's Help to Identify Woman's Remains from Caspers Wilderness Park

After an investigation failed to turn up any leads, police are hoping newly released photos (of clothing) will help the public identify a woman whose remains were discovered in Orange County's Caspers Wilderness Park earlier this year. NBC Los Angeles has a full report on the matter which can be found Here.

The body in question was found Jan. 6, 2014 in a rural southeast area of Orange County, but officials did not make the discovery public until March 14, 2014 after they performed tests to determine if the remains were that of a human. Authorities said the remains are estimated to have been exposed to the elements in San Juan Capistrano's Caspers Wilderness Park for at least six months. The cause of death remains unknown and is still under investigation. 

Using an anthropologist to identify the bones, police said the remains are those of a petite female, at least 30 years old who had shoulder-length brown hair with light highlights. The woman also had a "distinct gold-colored dental bridge on her left lower jaw," as well as a broken nose at some point in her life, police said.

Anyone with information is encouraged to call Orange County Sheriff Lt. Jeff Hallock at 714-904-7042.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Adventure Day Celebrates 40 Years of Caspers Wilderness Park

Adventure Day Celebrates The 40th Anniversary Of Caspers Wilderness Park

(San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) – OC Parks presents the annual Adventure Day at Caspers Wilderness Park in San Juan Capistrano on Saturday, April 5 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event celebrates the 40thanniversary of Caspers Wilderness Park and invites guests to enjoy a day of adventure in the great outdoors with natural history tours, wildlife exhibits, musical entertainment, arts and crafts, games and refreshments.

Caspers Adventure Day will host wildlife-inspired games of ring-toss, cowboy lasso, a scavenger hunt and storytelling. Educational programs and interactive experiences include learning about bugs, raptors, conservation, navigation, Native Americans and the rich history of Orange County. Participating vendors include Irvine Ranch Conservancy, OC Bird of Prey Center, Cleveland National Forest, Caspers Park Foundation and Sierra Club. Guests can participate in a raffle to win a bike donated by Buy My Bikes. Country Americana group, Moonsville Collective will provide the musical entertainment for this special event.

Caspers Adventure Day admission is free and adults and children of all ages are encouraged to attend and participate in the fun. Caspers Wilderness Park will be extending complimentary parking to all attendees for this special day. Let the adventures begin!

Caspers Adventure Day
Date: Saturday, April 5, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Event Fee: FREE Parking Fee: FREE
Location: Caspers Wilderness Park. 33401 Ortega Highway, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
Contact: (949) 923-2210

Brian and Ashley's Comments:
For our detailed write-up on hikes at Caspers Wilderness Park click Here.

Don't Forget that the a great hike at Caspers Wilderness Park is the hike to the San Juan Hot Springs. Our detailed write-up can be found by clicking Here.

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