Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Foothills!

Some men storm imaginary Alps all their lives, and die in the foothills cursing difficulties which do not exist.

Fortunately we did not die in the foothills of Orange County, but as you can see by the sign, the Trail Ticklers do face danger at every turn. I am going to invest in a bear bell, just to hedge my chances for survival, because, Mr. Howe, there can be difficulties in the foothills, too.

It was a beautiful day, and cooler than it had been lately, but still warm enough for us. The Peters Canyon Lake Loop is in the foothills just before reaching Irvine Park on the Orange side. The paths have been changed a bit, so the friendly Park Ranger gave me a map and very nice directions on how to locate the trail head. (Which was 3 feet in front of where I parked the car, but I didn't tell him that.) A very nice feature of this hike were the signs with blue dots at 1/2 mile intervals along the trail. (I think this is the first time we have not gotten a little lost. Thank you blue dots!)

As we started out a very large group of hikers were coming along the opposite way we were traveling, making things a bit congested in a friendly way. But they were soon past us and we only met up with a few more hikers and a couple of bikers. The second photo is the view from the highest part of the trail, which was actually a pretty steep hike, but nothing like the death march that one blogger described it as, thank goodness! Descending that hill, we came into view of the lake (third photo), which must be part of the O.C. reservoir system, as it was as dry as a bone, with huge cracks in the lake bottom. The path then went down along the dam side. This part was the most fun, with a few scrub bushes and rocks that had to be navigated around. After we came to the bottom, a bike rider zoomed by, stating"that was not me that was just squealing like a girl" as he rode his bike down the trail! I think it was him, but didn't say anything, because I would have been screaming if I were the one on the bike.

As we neared the end of the trail, there was a special detour that is only open a few short months a year since it cuts through the nesting grounds of an endangered species of migratory bird, who's name eludes me at this time. The habitat was full of willow trees and poison oak, but no birds. Still it was shady and very pretty, so we were glad to have found it.

Along the entire trail we came across many prickly pear plants which were ready to have their fruit harvested. Martine knew this because she watches California's Gold. Perhaps some day Huell will come along with us on one of our hikes. I bet he would think the Trail Ticklers are truly a part of California's gold! I do.

It was a successful hike, even if it was not one of the prettiest we have been on. The important part is that we saw an interesting part of our county, enjoyed the things we did see and can check off our first foothills hike!

p.s. for Jerri- What are we going to do about Martine? Was she like this as a child???

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