Sunday, October 30, 2011

Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge (Red Wolf Howling Safari)



One of the places that Ashley and I had the opportunity to visit this past summer in North Carolina was the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge. The Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge is a very unique place with the highest population of black bears on the east coast of the United States and is one of the only areas in the world that you can see the endangered red wolf in the wild. We did the Wildlife Drive, a hike on the Creef Cut Wildlife Trail, the Bear Tour, and the Red Wolf Howling Safari while visiting the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge. (In the video above, the howling starts at around the 4 second mark and you can hear the wolves best around the 30 second mark and 45 second mark, you might have to turn your speakers up sorry for background noise as people were walking)

Directions to Trailhead: The trailhead for the Creef Cut Wildlife Trail at the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge is located in Eastern North Carolina. The address for the trailhead is Milltail Road East Lake, NC 27953. For more information or directions to the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge their office phone is: 252-473-1131 and their fax number: 252-473-1668. For directions and information for road networks in North Carolina click Here.

Description of Hike: Registration is required to take part in the Red Wolf Howling Safari. To make a reservation call 252-216-9464. Usually the Red Wolf Howling Safari's are only offered during the summer months. Summer Howling Safari's cost $7 per person and Children 12 and under are free. However, they also offered Red Wolf Howling Safari's on other dates throughout the year that are free. For a list of the Red Wolf Howling Safari dates click Here. The Red Wolf Howling Safari is not a true hike, but is more of an outdoor experience. The Red Wolf Howling Safari begins at the Creef Cut Wildlife Trail parking area. For a map of that location click Here. The Red Wolf Howling Safari begins with a informational gathering where you learn about the Red Wolf. This is a perfect adventure for kids to do. After the informational portion of the Red Wolf Howling Safari, you travel in a large caravan of cars deep into the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge to a location deep in the woods. Here, you howl and hopefully the wolves howl back at you!

Further Thoughts: Ashley and I really enjoyed the Red Wolf Howling Safari. The informational portion of the Safari was great. You get to learn about the almost extinction of the Red Wolf and how the captive breeding program has led to the re-introduction of the Red Wolf into the wild again. Their program is modeled similarly to the program used to introduce the grey wolf back into the Yellowstone Ecosystem. You can also hold the pelts of Red Wolfs that have died of natural causes at the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge.

The Red Wolf Howling Safari is something that the entire family will enjoy. There were many families on the safari. The Red Wolf Howling Safari typically lasts about two hours. You are going to want to make sure you bring a flashlight and insect repellent. Also, dress for the weather; the Red Wolf Howling Safari will occur except with lightning, heavy rain, or wind or impassable roads. Decision to cancel will be made at least 1.5 hours prior to the scheduled program. Also, plan ahead! The Creef Cut Wildlife Trail is about a 20 minute drive from Manteo. (Picture on this paragraph from our visit to the Durham Museum of Life and Science)

Make sure you exercise patience when you get to the howling portion of the safari. The wolves usually cooperate and howl back at you (But it is not always guaranteed). It took the wolves about 15 minutes to begin to howl back at us. Unfortunately by that some people had given up and began to walk back to the place their cars were parked.  Overall, Ashley and I would highly recommend the Red Wolf Howling Safari. We really enjoyed it in addition to spending a day at the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge. (Picture on this paragraph from our visit to the Durham Museum of Life and Science)

Rating: Elevation Gain: Minimal (Very Easy), Distance: 0.25 Miles (Very Easy).

Time to Complete Hike: 2 hours.

MORE TRAIL WRITE-UPS ON THE ALLIGATOR NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE


Red Wolf Howling Safari (This Post)


View Red Wolf Howling Safari in a larger map

Fee Free Days at our National Parks


America's Best Idea, the national parks, is even better when visiting on one of the fee-free days at more than 100 of our national parks that usually charge entrance fees. If you are looking to plan a trip to some of our Nation's National Parks in the next 12 months, it might be a good idea to plan your trip around some of the fee free days. The following are the dates for the last fee free days for 2011 and the list of the fee free days for 2012.

The final fee-free days of 2011 are as follows:

November 11-13, 2011
Veterans Day weekend

The fee free days of 2012 are as follows:

January 14-16, 2012
Martin Luther King Jr. weekend 

April 21-29, 2012
National Park Week 

June 9, 2012
Get Outdoors Day 

September 29, 2012
National Public Lands Day 

November 10-12, 2012
Veterans Day weekend 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge (Creef Cut Wildlife Trail)


One of the places that Ashley and I had the opportunity to visit this past summer in North Carolina was the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge. The Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge is a very unique place with the highest population of black bears on the east coast of the United States and is one of the only areas in the world that you can see the endangered red wolf in the wild. We did the Wildlife Drive, a hike on the Creef Cut Wildlife Trail, the Bear Tour, and the Red Wolf Howling Safari while visiting the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge.

Directions to Trailhead: The trailhead for the Creef Cut Wildlife Trail at the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge is located in Eastern North Carolina. The address for the trailhead  is Milltail Road East Lake, NC 27953. For more information or directions to the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge their office phone is: 252-473-1131 and their fax number: 252-473-1668. For directions and information for road networks in North Carolina click Here.

Description of Hike: The Creef Cut Wildlife Trail is a half-mile long (1 mile roundtrip) hike with minimal elevation gain. There is an informal trail that continues all the way to the highway which would make the total hike close to 2.5 miles roundtrip. It is a universally-accessible trail that's ideal for school groups or families, as well as individuals. A kiosk at the trailhead provides information about the refuge and the habitats and wildlife that occur. Also at the trailhead is a universally-accessible fishing platform. Since there is a canal that links this site directly with South Lake, there is a constant supply of crappie, bluegill, and other freshwater fish. A state fishing license is required.Interpretive signs along the trail identify vegetation types or wildlife that may be seen in the area. A 200-foot boardwalk takes visitors out onto the freshwater marsh to the north of the trail. On the south, an overlook provides viewing of the Creef Moist Soil management area where waterfowl, raptors, and other migratory birds can be seen. The entire Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge is open during daylight hours only, a 1/2 hour before sunrise to a 1/2 hour after sunset. The speed limit on all refuge roads, unless otherwise posted, is 35 miles per hour. Motorized vehicles are allowed only on designated roads. For a map of the trails location Here.

Further Thoughts: Ashley and I really enjoyed our hike on the Creef Cut Wildlife Trail in the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge. The majority of the trail is paved, which is good because of the marshy terrain the trail goes through. You have an excellent chance of seeing wildlife. When Ashley and I were on the trail there were fresh black bear tracks that cross the trail in several places. Additionally, we were told that alligators frequent some of the ponds there.

The Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge encompasses a broad expanse (152,000 acres) of wildlands and waters. There are many options available to explore the refuge and the designated wildlife drive and trails offer the best wildlife viewing opportunities. Black bear, deer, river otters, and red wolves, along with a variety of birds, reptiles, and amphibians may be seen here. During the winter months, large numbers of waterfowl and other migratory birds are present.

We would suggest that you make sure to bring plenty of insect repellent and water, especially during the hot summer months. Additionally, to better see wildlife at the viewing areas, you might want to bring a pair of binoculars. The Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge offers a wide variety of programs that you can attend. They have the Red Wolf Howling Safari, Bear Tours, and much more. For a list of programs click Here.

Rating: Elevation Gain: Minimal (Very Easy), Distance: 1 Mile Roundtrip (Easy).

Time to Complete Hike: 30 minutes to 1 hour.

MORE TRAIL WRITE-UPS ON THE ALLIGATOR NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE

Creef Cut Wildlife Trail (This Post)

Red Wolf Howling Safari

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge (Wildlife Drive)

One of the places that Ashley and I had the opportunity to visit this past summer in North Carolina was the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge. The Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge is a very unique place with the highest population of black bears on the east coast of the United States and is one of the only areas in the world that you can see the endangered red wolf in the wild. We did the Wildlife Drive, a hike on the Creef Cut Trail, the Bear Tour, and the Red Wolf Howling Safari while visiting the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge.

Directions to Trailhead: The Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge is located in Eastern North Carolina. The address for the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge is Milltail Road East Lake, NC 27953. Office Phone: 252-473-1131, Fax: 252-473-1668. For directions and information for road networks in North Carolina click Here.

Description of Hike: The wildlife drive, is not a hike, but is a drive through the Alligator National Wildlife Refuge. The drive allows you to see how expansive the refuge is and provides you with an excellent opportunity to view wildlife. While on the drive Ashley and I did see 2 black bears. There is no cost to drive on the refuge, but donations are welcome. The refuge is open during daylight hours only, a 1/2 hour before sunrise to a 1/2 hour after sunset. The speed limit on all refuge roads, unless otherwise posted, is 35 miles per hour. Motorized vehicles are allowed only on designated roads. When driving on the refuge, when you stop, make sure that your vehicle does not block the road, or you risk the possibility of citations. One other priority is to make sure you have a full gas tank when you go on the drive as there are no gas stations in the immediate vicinity. For a map of the drive click Here.

Further Thoughts: Ashley and I really enjoyed our visit to the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge. We especially enjoyed the wildlife drive because it truly allowed us the opportunity to see the wide variety of habitat and large expanses of land that compose the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge.

The Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge encompasses a broad expanse (152,000 acres) of wildlands and waters. There are many options available to explore the refuge and the designated wildlife drive and trails offer the best wildlife viewing opportunities. Black bear, deer, river otters, and red wolves, along with a variety of birds, reptiles, and amphibians may be seen here. During the winter months, large numbers of waterfowl and other migratory birds are present.

Ashley and I had the chance to see many different types of birds and we even saw two black bears while on our drive in the refuge as well as several deer. Wildlife in the refuge is usually most active at dusk and dawn. Ashley and I highly recommend that you bring plenty of insect repellent and water, especially during the hot summer months. Additionally, to see the wildlife best, make sure to bring a pair of binoculars or even better a spotting scope! Furthermore, the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge offers a wide variety of programs that you can attend. They have the Red Wolf Howling Safari, Bear Tours, and much more. For a list of programs click Here.

Rating: Elevation Gain: Varies depending on how much you get out of your car (Easy), Distance: Varies depending on how much you get out of your car (Easy).

Time to Complete Hike: 1 - 2 hours. (It really depends on how long you stop to watch for wildlife in each area.

MORE TRAIL WRITE-UPS ON THE ALLIGATOR NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE

Creef Cut Wildlife Trail

Red Wolf Howling Safari

Wildlife Drive (This Post)

View Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in a larger map

Saturday, October 15, 2011

San Gorgonio Backpacking

Recently, myself and a few friends had the chance to go hiking/backpacking on Mt. San Gorgonio. The purpose of our weekend adventure was to relax and have a good time. There was snow present last weekend above 9,000 feet from our first rainstorm of the season. I would imagine that most of the snow is gone by now, especially given the recent warm spell we had this past week in Southern California. Regardless of the current weather in the Los Angeles basin, now is a great time to visit the San Gorgonio Wilderness, before winter storms become a regular occurrence in Southern California and the days get shorter. If you have not visited the San Gorgonio wilderness recently, you might want to put it on your to do list. A couple of good options to check out are Dry Lake, Mt. San Gorgonio via the Vivian Creek Trail, or Mt. San Gorgonio Via the South Fork Trail.

There are some great camping locations in the San Gorgonio Wilderness. Some great camping options along the Vivian Creek Trail are Halfway Camp and High Creek Camp. The best place to camp along the South Fork Trail is Dry Lake. Or for those looking for a true night out, you can get a permit to camp at the summit of Mt. San Gorgonio. In my opinion, dry lake is one of the best wilderness camping locations in of all of Southern California. We have posted a couple of pictures on this post from last weekends trip. If you want to see more pictures make sure to check out our Facebook Page.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Orange County's National Natural Landmark

Recently, a number of local bloggers were invited on a tour of a portion of the Irvine Ranch in celebration of 5 years as being designated as a National Natural Landmark. The tour took place in Limestone Canyon, which is a truly beautiful location in Orange County. Ashley and I were unable to attend the event, but we had two guests/reporters (Debbie and Sue) that attended on our behalf and provided pictures and descriptions of the tour. Before the details on the tour, here is a little information about the land, the designation of being a National Natural Landmark, and why you should visit.

Nearly 40,000 acres of open space on the historic Irvine Ranch have been designated a Natural Landmark by both the State of California and the U.S. Department of Interior. This honor recognizes the exceptional value of these lands to California and the entire nation. The Natural Landmarks are protected and maintained by a network of cooperating landowners and managers including the County of Orange, the City of Irvine, the City of Newport Beach, and California State Parks. They share the common vision of planning and managing the long-term preservation of native habitats and species, and of bringing people and nature together through public access, education, land stewardship, and other programs.
This October marks the fifth anniversary of the U.S. Department of the Interior designating nearly 40,000 acres of protected land on the Irvine Ranch as a National Natural Landmark. It received this prestigious distinction because of the land's rare biological and geological features, and is one of less than 600 such sites in the United States to be classified as a National Natural Landmark. If you have not had a chance to hike or visit this wonderful wilderness that is located in Orange County, then it is time to go!

The best thing about visiting the National Natural Landmark is you don't have to spend lots of money and energy to visit this world class wilderness area. The National Natural Landmark offers amazing hiking, wildlife viewing, and educational learning opportunities. And best of all, most of the outdoor programs that are offered are free. There are equestrian programs, guided kayak programs, hiking and fitness programs, interpretive programs, mountain bike programs, stewardship programs, special events, and wilderness access programs. Bottom-line is there is something for everyone. Ashley and I have enjoyed the guided programs we have attended. The volunteers and docents are extremely knowledgable and you are guaranteed to learn something new about the land. You can check out the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks various activities and programs by clicking Here.

The Tour: (from the eyes of Debbie and Sue) The tour of the Limestone Canyon Wilderness Area was put on by the people at the Irvine Ranch. It began at the Augustine Staging area at 9:30 am. The tour was well done and was conducted by a number of gracious hosts; Wida Karim and  Evelyn Brown who were with IRC, Adam Shuck a Ranger with OC Parks, Ed who was a volunteer with IRC and the volunteer driver, and Lyndie Bradshaw with REI. It was fun to ride around in the back of a covered Ford F-250 truck that was lined with seats. The tour started up Hicks Haul Road, which is a paved surface in the Limestone Canyon Wilderness Area. It is an old ranch road and is in reality an extension of Jeffry Road. It goes right by a UC-Irvine research station that is located in the Limestone Canyon Wilderness Area.

Next the tour headed up the Loma Ridge Trail which offered spectacular views of the surrounding countryside. On the day of the tour, the views were spectacular and we had views all the way from the San Gabriels to Catalina. It was just off of the Loma Ridge Trail, down in the valley at Box Springs, that we enjoyed a picnic with everyone. It was an awesome experience to enjoy lunch while sitting under huge coastal oak trees while getting to talk with great company. This was also the area that we also saw a tarantula. After lunch, the tour next visited one of the biggest sights in the Limestone Canyon Wilderness Area, the Sinks(First picture on post). The Sinks is frequently called the "Grand Canyon of Orange County". It is a beautiful geological formation. There is a viewing platform that is present, which allows you to take in the surrounding beauty of the area. The sinks were carved by a landslide that was either caused by a major storm or fault movement.

After viewing the sinks, the tour concluded with a drive back on Limestone Canyon Road back to the Augustine Staging area. Along the way, the tour saw a tarantula, several deer, and multiple raptor species of birds. If you have not had a chance to visit Limestone Canyon, it is truly a must do! Ashley and I want to thank the people at the Irvine Ranch for putting on the tour show casing the true gem that the Limestone Canyon Wilderness Area is. We also want to thank Debbie and Sue for attending on our behalf and for taking the pictures and their report. For more pictures of the tour you can see them on our Facebook Page.

The reality is that you cannot go wrong with visiting any area in the National Natural Landmark. It is some of the most pristine wilderness still left in Orange County. These areas offer amazing scenery, the chance to see local wildlife, and best of all a break from the hectic pace of life. The following are a list of hikes that Ashley and I have been on that are located in the National Natural Landmark. Also make sure to sign up for some of the activities and programs that are offered by the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks by clicking Here.






October REI Classes and Events

We know that a lot of our readers frequent REI when your are looking for high quality gear. Here are some classes and events that are being offered for the month of October at our local REI's. Follow the links for more information about the details on each program.

Adventure Videography 10/13 6:30p
http://www.rei.com/event/30248/session/37609

Introduction to GPS (Paid class $30) 10/18 6:30p
http://www.rei.com/class/64/market/162

Emergency Preparedness 10/19 6:30p
http://www.rei.com/event/30202/session/37640

Introduction to Mountaineering – 10/19 6:30p
http://www.rei.com/event/30271/session/37691

Dressing Warm for Cold Weather – 10/26 6:30p
http://www.rei.com/event/30270/session/37690

Friday, October 7, 2011

Back of Beyond Audio Book Review


A little while ago Ashley and I were asked to do a review of the audio book of Back of Beyond. This was the first Audio Book that Ashley and I have listened to together and we decided to do this review because everyone needs a good story (murder mystery) to listen to on the drive to the trailhead that is outdoor related. (We want to caution our readers with kids, due to the nature of the language in this audio book. We would both give it a PG-13 rating on language). The following is a little bit about the book as well as our thoughts on the story line.

The Plot: Back of Beyond is about Investigator Cody Hoyt, who while a good cop, is also a loose cannon. He is an alcoholic struggling with two months of sobriety and Cody almost loses it when his mentor and AA sponsor, Hank Winters, is found burned to death in a remote mountain cabin in Montana. At first, the fire seems like the suicide of a man who’s fallen off the wagon, but Cody knows Hank would never break his vow of sobriety. Upon closer look at the scene of his friend’s death, Cody detects evidence of foul play.

When clues found at the scene link the homicide to an outfitter leading tourists on a multi-day wilderness trip into the remote corners of Yellowstone National Park, a pack trip that includes his son Justin, Cody is desperate to get on their trail and stop the killer before the group heads into the wild. Suspended from his department because of a history of reckless behavior, Cody can rely only on his loyal partner, Larry, and his own police instinct to track down the murderer who’s slowly killing off members of the group, one by one.

In a fatal cat and mouse game, where it becomes apparent the murderer is somehow aware of Cody’s every move, Cody treks into the wilderness to stop a killer hell bent on ruining the only thing in his life he cares about. This audiobook is narrated by 2008 Audiofile Earphones Award winner Holter Graham. As a bonus, the audiobook includes an interview with the author where C.J. Box discusses the importance of the Western setting of Back of Beyond, explaining, “The landscape and the culture and the environment are as much a part of it as any other aspect of the story.”

Our Review: When listening to the audio book, you cannot help but notice the author's love and respect for the wilderness. His descriptions of Yellowstone and its geologic formations are breathtaking. We get to see Wyoming and Montana from the eyes of a writer who loves the spaces of the great outdoors. The characters are well developed and you get to know and like most of them. The authors descriptions make it seem like you are on the trail with the rest of the tour in Yellowstone. Also, it's not always that easy to guess who the bad people are, which is always a plus.

The only negative we found was that either the plot started a little slow or it took us a while to get used to listening to the audio book due to the start and stop nature of getting in and out of the car. Ashley and I, tend to agree that it was the latter in that we were getting accustomed to listening to an audio book. We will leave it up to you on whether you are the type of person who likes audio books or regular books. Back of Beyond is available in both versions. The audio book is about 11 hours long and is 1.22 gigabytes. Over all we though the audio book was good, the descriptions the author used were great, and the book really begins to move once you are at about chapter 5. Overall, if you like murder mysteries and audio books, this is a good one to buy. It is great entertainment for the trip out to the trailhead.

About the Author: C.J. BOX is the bestselling author of Three Weeks to Say Goodbye and ten novels including the award-winning Joe Pickettseries. Box won the Edgar® Award for Best Novel in 2009 for his novel Blue Heaven, and he has also won the Anthony Award, the Prix Calibre 38 (France), the Macavity Award, the Gumshoe Award, and the Barry Award. His first novel, Open Season, was a New York Times Notable Book and an Edgar® Award and L.A. Times Book Prize finalist. His novels have been translated into 25 languages. Box lives in Wyoming.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Bark-toberfest at Mile Square Regional Park

We know that many of our readers like to go hiking with their dog(s), so here is an event at Mile Square Regional Park that might be of interest "Bark-toberfest: Saturday, October 15 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m."
Come enjoy a day at Mile Square Regional Park geared specifically for you and your four-legged, furry friend! OC Hiking Club will lead two dog walks, one at 11 a.m. and the other at 1 p.m. Children’s crafts and activities will also be provided. There will be something for the whole family! Participants include: OC Animal Care, OC Hiking Club, Pet’s Paradise, Your Animals Best Friend Services, Animal Health Foundation, All Paws Dog Daycare and more! Free hot dogs courtesy of Orange County Employees Association, while supplies last! Please remember all dogs must be on a 6-foot leash at all times.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Why Hike?

This is a post that Ashley and I wanted to put on the blog for a while. This is a post about the reasons why you should hike. This is not an all inclusive list of reasons but are some that we think are the most important. Feel free to add the reasons why you hike!

Hiking is an accessible activity for Southern California residents because of the abundance of open space we have. Hiking doesn't require any special skill set and is an activity you can do with your friends and family. If you are looking for an economical activity, the chance to see nature up-close, adventure, and great exercise then you might want to go on a hike.

Hiking is an economical activity. It doesn’t cost much to go on a local hike. Many local parks offer free parking and free access to trails. For the parks that do charge fees for access, they are usually only nominal fees. As far as equipment goes, you don’t need much to start hiking. All you really need is a good sturdy pair of shoes, a backpack to hold water and a lunch, some knowledge and a map of where you are hiking, and you are set to go see what the trails in Southern California have to offer.

Hiking offers unparallel views into the beauty of nature. If you are looking to see Southern California in a way that most people never do, then you need to go on a hike. When hiking you will notice that the scenery around us is constantly changing due to the seasons and the weather. You will see breathtaking views on the tops of peaks/hills and appreciate the simplicity in the small things like listening to a babbling stream during the rainy season. Best of all hiking allows you to slow down and enjoy the open space and wilderness preserves that abound in Southern California.

Hiking is truly an adventure. When setting out on a hike you have no idea of the sights or things that you will encounter. Hikers are usually a friendly bunch. You will find that hikers often share tips on the trails they have hiked and of the neat things they have seen on specific trails. Additionally, you might get to see and take a picture of local wildlife such as mule deer or a fox. Ultimately, no two hikes are really ever the same due to the changes in scenery, the people you encounter, and the wildlife you will see.

Lastly, hiking is great exercise. If you want to get a good workout that is outside of the gym then hiking is for you. Hiking is an activity that has many benefits and we have listed only a few in this post. Feel free to add in the comments below the reasons why you hike. Happy Trails!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Hiking Poop-Out Hill (San Bernardino National Forest)

Poop-Out Hill is a fun short hike in the San Bernardino National Forest, that offers great views of Mt. San Gorgonio and the San Gorgonio Wilderness. This is a fun hike that Ashley and I have done in conjunction with several of our hikes to Mt. San Gorgonio via the South Fork Trail and our hikes to Dry Lake. If you are looking for a moderate hike with great views of San Gorgonio and the San Gorgonio Wilderness, then this is the hike for you. The hiking trail to Poop-Out Hill in the San Bernardino Mountains rewards hikers with beautiful mountain views! 

Directions to Trailhead: To get to the South Fork Trailhead to hike to Poop-Out Hill, going from Orange County, take the 91 freeway east towards Riverside. Stay on the 91 freeway which eventually becomes the 215 freeway. The 215 freeway eventually intersects with Interstate 10. At the 215 freeway and Interstate 10 interchange, take Interstate 10 going East toward Palm Springs. Exit from Interstate 10 on University which is in the City of Redlands. Make a left and follow University (You will pass through Redlands University) until you meet Highway 38. Take a right on Highway 38, going toward the San Bernardino Mountains. In several miles you will pass the Mill Creek Ranger Station, continue on up into the San Bernardino National Forest. Highway 38 will take you to the trailhead. Exit highway 38 onto Jenks Lake Road (This road is located before Barton Flats). Take Jenks lake road a couple of miles and the trailhead is on your left hand side. It is a large parking lot with a big sign indicating the South Fork Trailhead. (A Forest Adventure Pass is needed to park at the South Fork Trailhead, however you do NOT need a the additional San Gorgonio Wilderness Permit to hike to Poop-Out Hill)

Description of Hike: The hike to Poop-Out Hill is a fun hike that goes right up to the edge of the San Gorgonio Wilderness. Actually, the area by Poop-Out Hill is the old trailhead to the San Gorgonio Wilderness. The trail to Poop-Out Hill begins at the South Fork Trailhead. The trail is uphill most of the way to Poop-Out Hill, which is 2.4 miles from the trailhead and a little over 900 vertical feet higher. The hiking trail is well maintained and goes through some beautiful areas in the San Bernardino National Forest. At Poop-Out Hill you are rewarded with scenic vistas of the San Gorgonio Wilderness as well as great views of Mt. San Gorgonio. The resting area at Poop-Out Hill is a great place to take pictures. There are several informational plaques at this location about the San Gorgonio Wilderness. You can return via the trail you took, or you can make a loop by using the dirt forest road to get back to the trailhead. The trails in this area are well maintained and are usually well marked.

Further Thoughts: Ashley and I have done this hike to Poop-Out Hill in connection with our hikes to Mt. San Gorgonio and Dry Lake. The hike to Poop-Out Hill in itself is a great hike for those that are looking for a less strenuous option to view Mt. San Gorgonio. We have seen a number of people hike on this trail with their dogs. This is a very popular trail and when you are hiking here, especially on weekends during the summer months, you are likely to see other hikers. Make sure to bring your camera with you as we have seen deer and other wildlife while on this hike in the San Bernardino Mountains.

Also, during the summer months, be on the watch for afternoon thunderstorms when on this hike. Ashley and I have encountered a couple of thunderstorms on several different occasions during the summer when hiking in this area. Remember to seek shelter immediately if a thunderstorm develops and do not stay on peaks or in open areas. Also, during the winter time, this area can get quite a bit of snow. Bottom-line is be prepared for the weather conditions when you do this hike. If you want to see the current weather conditions, click Here for a live webcam of San Gorgonio courtesy of BigBearWeather.com. Overall, the hike to Poop-Out Hill is a great hike the whole family can enjoy together. There is plenty of shade on most portions of the trail which will help you stay cool on warmer days.

Rating: Elevation Gain: 960 ft. (Moderate), Distance: 4.8 Miles Roundtrip (Easy - Moderate).

Time to Complete Hike: 1 - 2 hours.


View Poopout Hill in a larger map

Saturday, October 1, 2011

October Special Events at the Irvine Ranch

The following are 13 special events this month, in celebration the fifth anniversary of the designation of 40,000 acres of open space on the historic Irvine Ranch as a National Natural Landmark (NNL) by the U.S. Department of the Interior. To learn more about the landscape, plants and animals that live on the Natural Landmark, visit http://www.irlandmarks.org. For more information about special events in October to celebrate the Landmark’s fifth Anniversary, go to http://www.irlandmarks.org/activities . Become a friend of the Landmarks at www.facebook.com/irlandmarks and stay current on all the latest happenings in the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks. (Picture above is from the Sinks)

Discover the Landmarks – Wilderness Access Day, Saturday, October-1, 9am to 3pm, Augustine – Limestone Canyon, IRC. http://www.irlandmarks.org/activities.

Study the Landmarks – Adapt or Perish – Examples in Nature in Round Canyon, Monday, October-3, 8am to 10am, Portola – Round Canyon, IRC. http://www.irlandmarks.org/activities

Celebrate the Landmarks – Sunset Photographic Hike – a Different Prospective, Saturday, October-8, 3:30pm to 6:30pm, Augustine, IRC. http://www.irlandmarks.org/activities

Traverse the Landmarks – Bommer Canyon to the Sea, Sunday, October-9, 8am to 12:30pm, Bommer Canyon, COI. http://www.irlandmarks.org/activities

Experience the Landmarks – Native American Crafting – Basket Weaving in Baker Canyon, Sunday, October-9, 9am to noon, Black Star, IRC. http://www.irlandmarks.org/activities

Discover the Landmarks – Wilderness Access Day, Saturday, October-15, 9am to 3pm, Bommer Canyon, COI. http://www.irlandmarks.org/activities

Bike the Landmarks – Challenging MTB Ride – FREEK Loop – 4-5 Hour Pace, Saturday, October-15, 7:30am to 12:30pm, Black Star, IRC. http://www.irlandmarks.org/activities

Run the Landmarks – Trail Run through Oak Woodlands, Sunday, October-16, 8:30am to 11am, Irvine Regional Park/OEC/Weir, IRC. http://www.irlandmarks.org/activities

Explore the Landmarks – Bugs and Plants – Exploring the Arthropods and Flora of the OC Wildlands, Sunday, October-16, 9am to 1pm, Black Star , IRC. http://www.irlandmarks.org/activities

Ride the Landmarks – Equestrian Ride in Limestone Canyon to the Sinks, Friday, October-21, 9am to noon, Augustine, IRC. http://www.irlandmarks.org/activities

Adventure in the Landmarks – Tales and Characters of the Santa Ana Mountains, Sunday, October-23, 9am to noon, Irvine Regional Park/OEC/Weir, IRC. http://www.irlandmarks.org/activities

Hike the Landmarks – Limestone Grand Tour Distance Hike, Thursday, October-27, 8am to 2:30pm, Augustine, IRC. http://www.irlandmarks.org/activities

Write the Landmarks – Words in the Wild: Using Writing to Connect to Nature, Saturday, October-29, 2pm to 5pm, Irvine Regional Park – Lot 15, IRC. http://www.irlandmarks.org/activities