Overview of Santa Cruz Island- Channel Islands National Park

IMG_0400.JPGChannel Islands National Park has long been on our list of places to visit. Since Louis’s birthday fell on a Friday this year, I made an executive decision to celebrate his birthday by visiting Santa Cruz Island within Channel Islands National Park. Out of the five islands within the National Parks jurisdiction, Santa Cruz island is the most frequently visited island. Ferries to and from the island are available at least once a day.

This post will be followed by a series of other posts detailing the hikes and kayaking activities during our stay at Santa Cruz island. Continue reading

Trail Running the James Dilley Greenbelt Preserve

The Quick and Dirty:

Location: James Dilley Greenbelt Preserve is located north of Hwy 73 on Laguna Canyon Road inside Laguna Coast Wilderness park in Orange County, California. Use this Google Map link for exact driving directions and use this link for the trail map.
Distance: About 3.4 miles on the Lake, Edison and Ridge Top trail loop (this is the outer loop of the preserve) and additional 2 miles for the Canyon Trail to the Mariposa Trail loop (this is the inner loop of the preserve).
Difficulty:  Easy hike, moderate trail run, lots of good rolling hills for a good workout.
Duration: It took us about 1 hour to finish the 5 mile run with a break at the top of the ridge line.
Dogs Allowed? No dogs or mountain biking are allowed inside the preserve.
Best time to visit: Year-round but spring during the wild flower season is a great time to see all the California native wildflowers blooming inside the preserve.
Trail Parking: Parking is $3 at the designated preserve parking lot. There was plenty of parking early in the morning when we started the run but the lot got pretty full by the time we left.

James Dilley Sign.JPG

The entrance to the James Dilley Greenbelt Preserve on Laguna Canyon Road shortly passing Hwy 73 heading northbound.

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Los Pinos Peak, Cleveland National Forest

The Quick and Dirty:
Los Pinos Peak from Blue Jay campground, Cleveland National Forest
Distance: 5 miles round trip from Main Divide Truck Trail and Long Canyon Trail 
Difficulty:  Easy but watch for mountain bikers on the trail
Duration: 2.5 hours out and back
Dogs Allowed? Yes

Los Pinos Peak.jpg Continue reading

Drought Tolerant Landscaping

If you life in California, there is no escaping the talk of the California drought. The water shortage has been getting worse and worse each year. Being avid backpackers in Southern California, we have definitely noticed the lack of water during our camping trips. It hits us especially hard after seeing the year-round creeks and riverbeds we’ve visited in the past dry up permanently. After an especially warm summer in Southern California, we wanted to do what we can to help conserve water. We decided stop watering our lawn at the beginning of the summer and replace our grassy lawn with xeriscaping. Continue reading

Lost Coast Camp Sites

One of the biggest issues we had with finding information for our trip was understanding common camp grounds along the Lost Coast.  With the exception of a few places, most of the campsites will have water or creeks available. Below is a quick guide to some of the popular camp sites along the northern stretch of the coast.  Sites are listed north to south.  Each site will have information including type of camp site, size, conditions of soil, natural wind protection, and water availability.

Size will be broken out by Large (6+ sites), Medium (3-5 sites), Small (1-3 sites) established camp sites.  There are plenty of viable sites along the trail, but we chose to use established sites for LNT (leave no trace). Continue reading