Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Wagon Wheel Loop

Welcome to the Wagon Wheel Loop trail, just outside Coto De Caza. This park had a very sweet butterfly garden and interactive activities for youngsters to enjoy. The trails are open to bikes and horses along with hikers, but were not overly worn out. There are supposedly quite a few deer in the area, one buck with 7 tips according to one biker, but we didn't see any. And where there are deer there are mt. lions, but we didn't see any of them either. The big excitement of this hike was to once again have Melinda with us!
It was on this hike that Melinda showed her expertise in scatology, earning her the important post of the Trail Tickler's official "Scatologist". We are very proud of her.
She educated us along the trail with interjections, such as: "This is from an animal that eats grass". Martine and I were truly enlightened.

So here we are, at the top, for our official Tickler Christmas photo.
This is our tenth hike, and to celebrate, Martine avoided illegal activity, Melinda made a new friend, and I read the book carefully so we didn't get lost. Not even once.
In short, it was a perfect hike.

Thursday, December 24, 2009


Merry Christmas to you, my dear family and friends. May the Spirit of Christ be a special visitor in your homes this year as we celebrate His birth.

I hope you enjoy this short video...
With much love, Kelli

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

This hike was Beautiful! (and spooky)

Today the Trail Ticklers braved Casper Wildlife Park, and we saw, and gratefully did not see certain, wildlife all around us. This park is to the east of San Juan Capistrano off the Ortega Highway. Driving to the trail head alone was worth the 45 minute trip from our home. Ground squirrels were everywhere, and along the roadway were 2 families of mule deer. Hawks were everywhere and the only other people we saw were 2 men on horseback. The beginning of the trail was quite steep, but most of it was under beautiful oak trees with their colored leaves scattered everywhere along the ground. The book recommends taking this hike in the cooler months as it can be "enervating" in hot weather, and I heartily agree. Today, in contrast to all of our other hikes, was beautifully cool. A small storm passed by during the proceeding night and left the trail clean and dust free (yippee!). At the top of the hill, along the crest, the view was spectacular of hills and mountains without a single bit of development to be seen. We were at the top of sandstone cliffs, which in their own rights, were impressive. It was a lovely time of year for this hike, with the changing colors of some trees and the freshness of green in the others, with the occasional glimpse of the intricate branches of deciduous trees allowing the peeking out of the undergrowth. Some parts in the valley under Bell Canyon were surprisingly pretty with huge oaks forming an immense canopy for us to walk under.
The day was extra fun owing to 3 new Ticklers joining us. Mike, Lindsey and Evan came along to add a bit of interest and to learn a few new things. The boys quickly found out that prickly pears are aptly named. Someone in the group, who shall remain un-named, was only stopped from legal misdeeds by carefully placed razor wire. They were also awed by Martine and my impressive tracking skills, aided by my new compass (thanks Martine!).
The spooky part came when Martine first noticed fresh mountain lion tracks in the soft mud where we were walking. After that we saw many more tracks. It appeared that the mountain lions like to use the trails, too. While keeping a watch for things in the brush, I was glad that Mike has a voice that travels well and that there were 5 of us instead of our usual two. When I got home and told Dave where we had been I remembered that Casper Park is where the terrible incident with the bikers being attacked by the mountain lion had occurred a few years back. Thankfully, we made it out in one piece, and loved every minute of our adventure. This park is definitely a thumbs up. And I would go back anytime...with a large group of Ticklers!

Christmas House Party Time!

One of our favorite family traditions is that of making "gingerbread" houses out of graham crackers and candy. This year we had some of our special friends join in the fun. Jan, Kyle and Electa, Trent and A.J., Kean, and Miles were all quick studies in the intricate skills of cracker craftsmanship. I hope you enjoy looking at the photos as much as we enjoyed building and being together. Merry Christmas!
Kean's impressive creation. We are hoping it made it to his home in one piece so his mom could see it!
Lovin' the hair-do

Smiling with the bottom teeth.
This is Chelsie's rendition of her dog, Rusty!
Mike's interpretation of Huntington pier
The lowly manger
The gang:-)