I decided to take my sciatica by the horns. I am not going to sit idly by and let this happen so today we went for a hike so I could get some exercise, get in better shape, and strengthen my back and legs. Boy did I! We went for 2.6 miles straight up. Along the trail, we saw a family of seven deer (or a herd or whatever you call it). We continued to see them throughout our hike and that was truly awesome. I didn’t have my camera so I have no evidence but it was beautiful. I have been on this trail a million times and never saw any deer there. Perhaps the trick is to go at dusk. We usually go in the morning but we got there today at 3:30.
After we were down the hill and on our way back to the car, we saw a coyote in real life! We lucked out there too, because a jogger came up just behind us at that every moment and he had a huge dog with him. That dog took off like a shot after the coyote and scared it away. It did scare Bella a bit though but it was only temporary.
The sunset was stunning, the moonrise was right after that and it had a beautiful halo around it. It really was a beautiful walk and well worth the pain! It was significantly jarring to my back coming down the hill from the top but I don’t think it will be lasting.
What a beautiful location! We have never been to this park before and there are miles and miles of trails here. The skies were very overcast and it was quite cold today (for California). This wilderness park is 6500 acres and lies in Laguna canyon. there is really just one road in and out of here. From this ridge, on a clear day (so the sign says), you can see mountains to the north and the ocean to the south and west. Personally, I wouldn’t know this based on today’s hike.
Sandi and I have decided that with all the trails and natural beauty around here we should be able to hike a new trail once a week for quite a while. This is our new hike this week. In this park, there are so many trails I think we could probably hike 50 miles or so without doubling up on a trail. This is just a guess.
The wildflowers are everywhere right now in California and they will continue to bloom as we are expecting rain tomorrow. The trail we chose was covered with wildflowers on either side along with evergreens, cactus, oaks, and other plants that I don’t know the names of. I took tons of pictures of these flowers today and really enjoyed it. I tried to be meticulous in my focus and point of view. I changed many setting in my camera to be deliberate in my shots and took fewer than I ordinarily would of each composition.
Ok, so here’s the problem I had taking any of these shots. Sandi! Sandi was my problem! Whenever we hike, which is often, we joke about mountain lions and coyotes because we live in their territory and there are sometimes stories on the news about sitings and attacks. Well, we are two women hiking on the trails by ourselves and we tend to get carried away with things. We often joke (half joke) about mountain lions (coyotes are not really a threat because they don’t mess with people much). We take two cell phones with us because if the mountain lion gets the one with the phone, what are we gonna do? How can we call for help? These trails are particularly tricky because there are many many places for animals to hide. There is thick brush on either side of the trail. I would stop to take pictures of wildflowers and I would take my time like my new book tells me to do. I meticulously focus on the stamen on the flower or the hairs on the prickly thing here or whatever. While I am taking my time, and focusing on the curly cue here (this specifically happened), we would hear something in the bushes either behind my subject or behind us. Well in this instance with this curly cue and spikey thing, Sandi took off! That’s right! She said she was leaving me cause she didn’t like the sound of the noise in the bushes. There! I got it out. I feel better! Now on with the rest of the pictures.
Does anyone know what these things are? There are more pictures in my Flickr from our hike. I have posted just 20 so if you like these, feel free to stop by over there. I will post my favorite shot from this series below. I love the contrast and the way that the purple flower (very small flower) looks against the orange. It looks particularly set apart I think and very sharp.
The Santiago fire is closing in but we are pretty safe. Schools are open but the winds have shifted I think because there is smoke everywhere. Yesterday and last night there was no smoke. It was all blowing towards the ocean and the fire is slightly south and a little east of us. However, the bad news is that the fire is horribly close to the canyon where I hike very regularly. Peterâ€™s Canyon is just about a 4 lane highway away from the blaze in Orange County. The fire has crossed a toll road that is next to Jamboree which is right next to Peterâ€™s Canyon Park. The park has about 8-9 miles of hiking trails that are chock full of dry and dusty shrubs. Chances are slim that this favorite park of mine will survive this fire. Anway, keeping our fingers crossed and our prayers in order for the entire region. This map shows where Peters Canyon is and the fire is the big area of white immediately to the right of it.
Here is a link to the Fire Authorityâ€™s information about this fire. Tustin (where I live) is the town right next to Irvine to the north. The winds we are having are called Santa Ana winds and blow from the desert to the ocean. This is why they are so hot and dry. Typically our weather is driven from the north and the west which is why we are typically so cool and mild. These particular winds are stronger than we have had in years and a lot more erratic. At this very moment, it is calm, but in a few minutes they could kick up much more. The time of day when the winds tend to be strongest is sunrise or sunset. We are a few hours from that time now but it is completely unpredictable for this area.
Ok so I don`t update my blogroll or the links on the left too much but it`s on my list of things to do. However, there is a good link there showing my hiking stats. Well, I haven`t been hiking much since Bella got out of school and I started back this week. I was hiking with my SIL and we saw the Willow Trail was open so we decided to take it. This is what the trail looked like in March when the closed the trail for 6 months. They close it for the development and habitat restoration of some bird species (it would be good if I knew which kind but I don`t). The trail is scheduled to open on September 15 but it was open yesterday and we took the trail.
Here is what we saw. When we went through yesterday, it looked much spookier and darker and scarier. We kept thinking the spider from Arachnophobia was going to drop down and get us. Of course, for my hike yesterday, I didn`t have my camera so I went back today just to get these shots before too many people have gone through the trail and it lost the look.
All through the park there are these trees that drop off cotton fluff and there is a high concentration of this stuff here in this trail. That is why I wanted to take these shots. There is so much stinkin fluff there it is really overwhelming. The combination of the fluff and the spider webs that are in there are amazing. I experimented with some HDR (I never tried it before) so that we could see the detail and the amount of the fluff. Here is my set on Flickr if you are interested. There are a bunch of them and I like quite a few of them.