Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 Year In Review

2009 has been a great year for Brian and Ashley's Hiking Blog. The blog in its current form was created earlier this past year in a process that took several months. The blog evolved from our personal blog where we would write up the hikes that Ashley and I had been doing together since 2007. Earlier this year we decided to revamp the blog and make it into a format that can help other Orange County Hikers find great trails in their backyard, while yet still retaining the feel of our personal blog.

The revamp of the blog added google maps for each hike, a master map which contains all of our hikes, more links, directions to each hike, a rating of each hike, description of the hiking area, and as always our personal experience on the hike. We have been receiving great feedback on the blog in the form of emails and comments on the blog from other hikers. Here is a comment we received on our Riley Wilderness Hike.

"What an outstanding website. I came across it by a google search. You guys need to be on a bigger scale. I absolutely love this site and the way you have went about constructing it. I went on the the Riley Wilderness Hike this past weekend with my whole goal to see deers. 5 minutes into the hike at 8am we saw 7 of them. It was so great. Thanks for the info as I will continue to reference your site."
The readership on the blog has been up tremendously since this past summer and we currently have 30 different hikes on our website. Both Ashley and I have a love for the outdoors and hiking. It is our hope, through this blog, to share our hiking experiences with others so they can see the great outdoors that Orange County and Southern California in general have to offer. We truly are blessed with a beautiful place to call home. Most people do not think of Southern California as a great hiking destination, but we are surrounded by 4 National Forests and many nature preserves that offer great places to hike. We wish everyone a happy and prosperous 2010.


  1. I am a mother in North Carolina between the Outer Banks and Great Smokey Mountains. My children bike, hike, kayak, surf, and generally love the outdoors...and yet each year we have dreaded our bi-annual pilgrimmages to Southern California.

    I have been visiting my grandmother, in California, since I was six (1976). Every visit has been a mash of eating, nagging, and complete familial aggravation since few leave the house, most are overweight, and the TV is blaring whilst most of the family is over 65 and hard of hearing.

    Last summer I came out with my 10 and 6 year old determined to find wildlife in Orange County! We went straight from John Wayne Airport to REI and bought every book I could find on hiking Orange County before we arrived at granny's in Mission Viejo. We had a fabulous week of hiking, but without the personal feedback it was hard to guage for the kids, and a few were too hard for them ...and it was hard for me to prioritize.

    I left the books in California for other visitors (although the rest of the family prefers the sitting eating version of visiting). Now I am returning in 2 weeks for Granny's 90th and bringing my athletic boyfriend and no kids. You can't imagine how helpful your blog has been in planning our visit! Great pics, maps, and descriptions of animals. We don't have mule deer on the East has been a while since I have seen one!

    I will pass it on to my other NC friends trapped in plastic Southern California visits.

  2. Ashley and I are glad that you have enjoyed our hiking blog and we hope that you both enjoy your time in Southern California Hitting the trails. Let us know if you want suggestions on any hikes and we hope you see lots of mule deer and other wildlife. Please let us know if you do.

  3. Happy New Year! Great blog! I refer to your blog everytime hubby, doggy and I want to explore a new trail... so far, we've done Santiago Oaks Regional Parks and the trail off of El Toro based on your blog. I wanted to suggest a trail that you guys might enjoy. We frequent Santiago Truck Trail up Modjeska Grade Road (Take El Toro Road towards Cooks Corner, pass Cooks Corner) and make a right on Modjeska Grade Road. The trail head will be on your right. Park on the left hand side of the road facing downhill to avoid getting a ticket. Anyway, we've hiked to the flag (about 7 miles out and back) and it's a great hike with views all the way to the ocean on a clear day. It is frequented by mountain bikers as they bike the trail down the Luge or they go to Old Camp and back. It's a steady but gradual climb and we always have a great time. The last two times we've hiked it (12/26 and 01/03) we've seen fresh mountain lion tracks.. but there were other hikers so we weren't scared.

    Also, we like to hike where we can take our dog with us. We live right by Whiting Ranch and we're bummed we can't hike it with our dog, do you guys have any suggestions as to where else we can take him?

    Keep up the good job on the blog!

  4. Mary Anne

    Thank you for the kind words and for the information on the hiking trail. Ashley and I will be out there soon to try that new trail.

    As for places to hike with your dog, You can take your dog with you hiking on any trail in the Cleveland National Forest. When Ashley and I did sitton peak a week ago, we saw a hiker up there with two of his dogs. When we did the Morgan Trail last summer we also saw another hiker with his dog on the trail.

    Here are some suggestions that are not to far from home: The San Juan Loop Trail, Sitton Peak, the Morgan Trail and the El Cariso Nature Trail.

    You could also try the Laruel Springs Hike, since they reopened the harding truck trail.

    Another option that we have not done yet is either bedford peak or the maple springs trail by silverado canyon. Both of those trailheads begin at the end of silverado canyon.

    The OC Wilderness Parks don't allow dogs, but the regional parks like Santiago Oaks and Irvine Regional Park do. Ashley and I are going to try and get out to Irvine Regional Park this month to do some hiking there. Irvine Regional Park is another option but I have not personally been there yet and could tell you what to expect.

    Hope some of the suggestions help. Have fun on the trails!


Ashley and I encourage and welcome our readers to submit comments about their experiences on the trails we have posted on our blog or about their own hiking experiences in general.