Today's hike was a bit of a surprise. The parking lot of the original hike starting point was closed today for repairs and the lady at the park information center informed me that I could park at a lot up the road a bit and walk down. The little bit turned out to be 1 mile, and as it was already hot (96), I did not want to add 2 more miles to the hike walking next to the highway! (call me lazy) As I drove up a little more looking for a place to turn around, there was the entrance for the Nix Center at Little Sycamore Canyon. I called Martine and she was just about to come upon the park and was able to make a quick turn into the entrance.
This is a very pretty spot and a part of the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park. I'm sure that the trail we hiked for #3 was just along the crest of the hill in front of us. There is a very nice visitors center and several real restrooms. Our favorite part is pictured above... adirondack chairs in the shade, looking out over the very nicely restored wilderness area.
Along the trail were new areas of extensive native plantings. I am starting to take a liking to the native plants and their drought tolerant attributes. I shocked myself a little when, after enjoying the scenery of the wild flowers and bushes, we came to a vista of huge green lawn areas and they looked so out of place and thirsty.
While this was not a hike with the most splendid view (at the top of the hill we were standing under Edison electricity towers) we did have a very nice view of Irvine and the surrounding area.
There were a few hazards to watch for...places were not marked very well, several of the trails we thought we wanted to travel for our loop were closed, and as you can see, I had to stop Martine from committing misdemeanors along the way.
This hike was also educational. We were able to see Lake Barbara. According to the sign, Lake Barbara is the only natural lake in Orange County. Who knew!!! It is very pretty and quiet. For those who wish to see it, you will be happy to know it is at the beginning of the hike, before any hills are reached. It would be a very nice place for anyone to visit and enjoy.
Finding Lake Barbara is a reminder of why these hikes are becoming addictive. There are beautiful places tucked away among all of the hustle and growth of Orange County. What a blessing that people decided to protect and preserve these spots for us to enjoy, and be able to see a small slice of what California once was.
There is just one more beach hike left in the book, it is also the hardest beach hike and 5.3 miles long. So stretch out those muscles Trail Ticklers and come join us!