Thursday, May 11, 2023

Hiking Maui's Haleakalā Volcano in Haleakalā National Park

Recently, we visited Maui's Haleakalā Volcano.  Haleakalā volcano is located within Haleakalā National ParkSpanning more than 30,000 acres of public land, the stunning landscapes in Haleakalā National Park range from Mars-like red deserts and rock gardens near the summit to lush waterfalls and streams in the park’s coastal Kīpahulu section.  

Directions To Maui's Haleakalā VolcanoHaleakalā volcano is located on the Island of Maui and the Visitor Center is located at Haleakala Hwy, Kula, HI 96790.  You can reach the summit of the volcano by a slow winding road that goes to the summit at approximately 10,023 feet above sea level.  The drive to the top offers beautiful scenery on clear days.  On rainy/cloudy days make sure to take your time and drive carefully, given a wrong turn have dire consequences.  The cost to enter the park is currently 30 dollars per vehicle. 

Description of Hike: There are countless opportunities for adventure, fun, sightseeing, and solitude in Haleakalā National Park. From the lush rain forests, to the rocky coastline, or the majestic overlooks of a volcanic landscape above the clouds— Haleakalā has a great deal to offer.  With our two kids, we spent most of our time at the summit of Haleakalā.  We explored the trails around the top/near the observatory.  During our trip, the short hike felt like we were on another world, given the volcanic landscape and the fact that it was cloudy and periodically raining (it was heavy rain at times!).  Make sure to be prepared for all types of weather conditions, given how quickly the weather can change. 

When visiting Haleakalā National Park, make sure to be prepared for all types of weather, including rain and cold weather near the summit of the volcano.  The park appears to be well maintained and at the time of our visit in 2023, the park service was renovating the visitor centers.  There are many options for hiking here, including short hikes under a half mile near the summit and much longer hikes in the park.  The shorter hikes are great for families with young children, like ours.

Further Thoughts & Information On 
Haleakalā Haleakalā is a massive shield volcano located on the island of Maui in Hawaii. It is one of the most prominent geological features of the island and holds great cultural and natural significance. Here's some information for our readers about the Haleakalā volcano:
  1. Volcanic Formation: Haleakalā is a dormant volcano, meaning it is currently inactive but has the potential to erupt again in the future. It formed through a series of eruptions over the past million years and has shaped the landscape of Maui.
  2. Summit and Crater: The highest point on Haleakalā is its summit, which reaches an elevation of about 10,023 feet (3,055 meters) above sea level. The summit area is home to a massive crater known as the Haleakalā Crater or the "House of the Sun." The crater is approximately 7 miles (11 kilometers) long, 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) wide, and 2,600 feet (790 meters) deep, making it an impressive sight to behold.
  3. Natural Beauty: The Haleakalā National Park encompasses the volcano and offers visitors a chance to explore its unique landscapes. The summit area of Haleakalā is characterized by its otherworldly appearance, with barren volcanic terrain, colorful cinder cones, and unique plant species adapted to the harsh environment. The park also features stunning sunrises and sunsets that attract many visitors each day.
  4. Hiking and Outdoor Activities: Haleakalā offers numerous hiking trails that allow visitors to explore the volcano's diverse ecosystems. The most popular hike is the Sliding Sands Trail, which descends into the crater and provides opportunities to witness the unique flora and fauna up close. There are also trails that lead to other areas of the park, such as the Pipiwai Trail, which takes you through a bamboo forest to the majestic Waimoku Falls.
  5. Cultural Significance: Haleakalā holds significant cultural importance to the Native Hawaiian people. It is considered a sacred place and is associated with various legends and stories. The name Haleakalā means "House of the Sun" in Hawaiian, and according to legend, the demigod Maui captured the sun here to lengthen the day.
  6. Visiting Haleakalā National Park and witnessing the volcano's grandeur is a popular activity for visitors to Maui. Whether you're interested in hiking, stargazing, or learning about the rich cultural heritage, Haleakalā offers a unique and memorable experience on the island of Maui.

: Easy to Strenuous depending on Trail.

Time to Complete Hike: Varies.

Thursday, May 4, 2023

Researchers find black bear living in the Santa Monica Mountains

For those that hike in the Santa Monica Mountains, recent news reports this week from ABC News, CBS News, and the Los Angeles Times, are reporting the discovery of a Black Bear in the Santa Monica Mountains.


Biologists in Southern California believe they have found the only bear to currently live in the Santa Monica Mountains, according to the National Parks Service.  Biologists captured and radio-collared a 210-pound black bear in a natural area of the western Santa Monica Mountains, south of the U.S. Highway 101, on April 23, the National Parks Service announced on Wednesday.

The bear, dubbed "BB-12," is believed to be about 3 or 4 years old, biologists said. The nearest population of black bears is in the Santa Susana Mountains, about 50 miles north, according to the NPS.  Bears have occasionally been documented in the Simi Hills and in the Santa Monica Mountains but there is no evidence of a breeding population in either area, biologists said.

BB-12 has likely been living in the region for at least two years, Jeff Sikich, lead field biologist of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area's two-decade mountain lion study, said in a statement.

Tuesday, May 2, 2023

OC Parks May 2023 Outdoor News & Events

 Here are some fun events to consider for the month of May.  If you have any questions please feel free to reach out to OC Parks. 


Rancho Days Fiesta, 2019. 

The County of Orange and OC Parks invite you to experience the annual Rancho Days Fiesta at Heritage Hill Historical Park in Lake Forest Saturday, May 6 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. This event celebrates the history of rancho and Native American cultures through hands-on activities, music, dancing and more in a family-friendly atmosphere. Rancho Days Fiesta will feature activities for all ages including exhibitors, vibrant performances, crafts, piñata breaking and more. Folklórico and Native American dancing will be showcased, along with Charro horse riding and roping demonstrations. The historic buildings at Heritage Hill Historical Park will be open for tours, courtesy of the Amigos de la Colina docents.

For more information click here.

May 6 | 8 AM - 2 PM


Black Star Canyon Wilderness Park.

Black Star Canyon, part of OC Parks’ Irvine Ranch Open Space, offers pleasant introductory trails for beginner hikers and families as well as challenging experiences for seasoned trail users. Designated trails are available for self-guided hiking, biking and equestrian use. A variety of trail loops offer extended exploration throughout the canyons. Take time to explore the local plant communities and beautiful scenery in easy 30-minute walks or take in 7+ miles in a strong cardio trek.

For more information click here.    

MAY 16 | 10 - 11 AM

Western tiger swallowtail.  

Discover our 6-legged friends of Irvine Regional Park! Insects have so many interesting features, such as their different shapes, sizes, colors and patterns. Take a closer look at  examples of insects before you go on a fun insect walk. This program is geared for ages 2-6. Space is limited; parents and guardians must register themselves and each child. The program is free though there is a park entrance fee per vehicle.

For more information click here.   

May 20 | 10 AM - 12 PM, 12 - 2 PM, 2 - 4 PM


Arden: Helena Modjeska Historic House and Gardens.

Spring into the season with a visit to Arden: Helena Modjeska Historic House and Gardens! Enjoy Shakespearean performances by the Modjeska Shakespeare Players throughout the day as well as live music performances. Tour the house and explore the grounds as OC Parks' volunteer docents will be available to share stories and answer questions about the property. This event is free with free parking, but reservations are required due to limited parking on-site. 

 For more information click here or contact the park office at (949) 923-2230.

Monday, April 24, 2023

Orange County Fire Watch to Host Annual Fire Watch Symposium on National Wildfire Preparedness Day


Below looks like a fun informational activity fire preparedness in our local area


Orange County Fire Watch will once again host the 2023 Fire Watch Symposium on Saturday, May 6 at the Quail Hill Community Center in Irvine. Held annually during California Wildfire Preparedness Week, the Symposium will educate the community about the upcoming fire season and the steps being taken by local agencies and organizations to prepare for potential wildfires in Orange County and mitigate such negative impact caused. The event is open to the public with the opportunity to attend in person or stream online from the Irvine Ranch Conservancy’s YouTube page.

During the program, attendees will hear presentations from fire prevention specialists, wildland resource planners, park rangers, and fire agency representatives. The event will also feature a keynote presentation from NOAA/National Weather Service Meteorologist, Alex Tardy who will share information on the recent storms and heavy rains, and how they have affected the California drought, as well as their connection to the La Niña and El Niño. OC Fire Watch will also present technology from youth scientist and entrepreneur Ryan Honary from SensoRy AI. The Orange County Fire Watch program is facilitated in partnership with OC Parks, City of Irvine, City of Newport Beach, Irvine Ranch Conservancy, and Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA). The volunteer program is managed by Irvine Ranch Conservancy staff, and its mission is to reduce catastrophic wildfires through education, early reporting and deterrence.

Saturday, May 6 from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.

  • 7:30-8:00 a.m. - Registration and sign in

  • 8:00-8:30 a.m. - Refreshments (breakfast, beverages and other snacks) and socialize

  • 8:30 a.m. -12:00 p.m. - Presentations

Quail Hill Community Center, 39 Shady Canyon Dr., Irvine, CA 92603


For more information on the 2023 Fire Watch Symposium and to register, please click HERE.

Monday, April 17, 2023

Irvine Ranch Conservancy Partners with the City of Irvine and OC Parks on the City Nature Challenge


Below looks like a fun free hiking activity for families in Orange County


Irvine Ranch Conservancy (IRC) is hosting two City Nature Challenges for the public April 29-30, 2023, at the City of Irvine’s Bommer Canyon Preserve and OC Parks’ newly opened Saddleback Wilderness, both within the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks. These interactive and exploratory events focus on finding and identifying as many of Orange County’s rare and threatened plant communities and wildlife species as possible to gain a better understanding of our ecosystem and aid in biodiversity conservation. Guests will look for plants and animals, learn how to identify them using the iNaturalist app, and catalog their findings in a community iNaturalist project. High-quality data uploaded to iNaturalist become part of the Global Biodiversity Information Facility, an open-source database used by scientists and policymakers around the world.


Following the activity, participants will collectively submit their findings in the City Nature Challenge, a global effort to discover and document biodiversity in cities around the world.


Registration is required and begins April 21, 2023

      2023 Nature Challenge at Bommer Canyon Preserve-Beginner Route: Register here

      2023 Nature Challenge at Bommer Canyon Preserve-Intermediate Route: Register here


Registration is required and begins April 22, 2023

      2023 Nature Challenge at Saddleback Wilderness: Register here



Saturday, April 29, 2023

Bommer Canyon Preserve-Beginner Route: 8:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.

Bommer Canyon Preserve-Intermediate Route: 8:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.


Sunday, April 30, 2023

Saddleback Wilderness: 8:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.


Bommer Canyon Preserve Cattle Camp Staging Area

1 Bommer Canyon Rd., Irvine, CA 92603


Saddleback Staging Area

3066 Santiago Canyon Rd., Orange, CA 92869


Guests of all ages hiking through the Irvine Open Space Preserve, identifying plants and animals, wide panoramic views of Bommer Canyon Preserve and Saddleback Wilderness, wildlife and plants residing in their natural habitat.