Everyone comes to see Disneyland sooner or later. But once they have finished with the Magic Kingdom and nearby Knotts Berry Farm, what is there to do? This brief list is not all inclusive, but it can help you find interesting places to visit once you have bought your Mickey Mouse ears and need a change of scene.
- Balboa This little community guarding the lower Newport Bay features a pier, a boardwalk, and a ferry. A good walk takes you from the pier to the Wedge, a famous surfing spot featured in the movie Endless Summer. Another walk takes you to Newport Pier. There are plenty of good restaurants in the neighborhood. The red-walled Crab Cooker at Newport Pier is an institution.
- Bower’s Museum This small museum features art from around the world, California painters, and Native Californian relics.
- Bunnyhenge This controversial sculpture/playground (each rabbit cost the city $13,000 a piece) is part of a sculpture garden on the lands of the Newport Beach Civic Center. Several other works stand on the land as well. After viewing the sculptures, one could make a quick trip to nearby Fashion Island for a little shopping or a snack.
- Crystal Cove State Park Crystal Cove offers visitors many different kinds of experiences. I usually take them to the beach where they can examine the famous “Hamburger Rocks”. Another option is to explore the Moro Canyon back country.
- Holy Jim Falls It is a bumpy road to Holy Jim, but in the spring the journey is worth it. This elfin waterfall has been described as a chapel in the woods. The trail is 1 1/2 miles long and passes through a tunnel of fig trees and a shaded canyon bottom forest.
- San Clemente There are lots of places to visit here. My favorite photo spot is the pier. You can walk south from here to San Onofre State Beach if you want and watch the surfers. Look for Richard Nixon’s “Western White House” perched overlooking the boundary between San Clemente and the State Beach.
- Mission San Juan Capistrano The oldest piece of Orange County history dates back to 1776. It was one of several missions founded by Saint Junipero Serra. The grounds feature extensive gardens and ruins of the mission church which was leveled by an earthquake in 1812 as Father Serra was saying what he thought was his last mass in California.
- Ortega (Rattlesnake) Highway This route crosses the Riverside County line. You pick it up at San Juan Capistrano and can keep driving until you meet Interstate 15 in Lake Elsinore. You can stop across from the candy store to enjoy hiking the San Juan Loop with its two waterfalls or cross the highway to explore the San Mateo Wilderness. Further down the road is an overlook of Lake Elsinore, the largest sag pond in the state of California.
- The Pilgrim This replica of the ship which carried Richard Henry Dana around the Cape Horn can be found at the Dana Point Marina. The nearby Ocean Institute features exhibits and a gift shop. Several fine seafood restaurants are a short walk away.
- Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary This small reserve is located at the end of Modjeska Canyon Road. Visitors can observe birds through a glass. One thing that never ceases to amaze my guests is how territorial hummingbirds can be. A small museum features a large stuffed grizzly bear and other animals. The Harding Trail begins in the parking lot: two good destinations are Goat Shed Point and Laurel Spring.
- Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park The Red Rocks are always a good destination for those who like to hike. The trail passes through a live oak woodland before entering an unshaded wash. The canyon itself is narrow, but it gives you the impression that you have been moved to southern Utah. Other destinations in Whiting include the Vista Outlook and Dreaded Hill, atop of which stands a memorial to a trail biker who was eaten by a mountain lion at its base.
I have taken to borrowing my wife’s trekking poles when I go on my long hikes in Whiting Ranch. The big question that I suppose you are asking is whether they help or whether they are just extra weight. They do work as advertised, helping me on both uphills and downhills.
As you know, I am not a strong climber due to my heart defect, a narrowing of the coronary artery. This is as it sounds — one of the arteries feeding my heart has a section where it attenuates. It means that I have to watch my cholesterol and moderate my speed on uphills. The trekking poles help me go a little faster. I struggle less and can go farther on steep stretches before I tire.
The most tiring piece of advice that you can receive when you live with depression is “Get some exercise!” There’s merit in the suggestion, but the nature of the condition is such that getting out of your bed and onto your feet can be difficult. The accusation that melancholy is due to laziness wraps its sufferers in a ball of stigma that takes some effort to escape. Buying into the belief that your sickness is due to your stubborn unwillingness to do anything traps you in a downward spiral of self doubt and anxiety.
The advice is overstated. Research shows that exercise has a moderate effect on depression. You’re not inflicting your depression on yourself by not exercising, it seems, but the lack of desire to exercise is one of its symptoms.
Those who want to help us who live with depression or bipolar disorder need to understand that we cannot just throw aside the crutches of our coping with the illness and start to walk again. I would urge helpers and caretakers to review this helpful publication from the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance before proceeding with this blog post. Sufferers stay with me. I have secrets to impart.
Great Basin Western Fence Lizard, O’Neill Regional Park, June 21, 2014
Started a nature journal today. Here is what I did: First, I purchased a notebook that I liked. The brown leather cover contrasted with the black moleskines I had purchased for other purposes. The only mistake that I made in retrospect was that I bought ruled pages instead of graphs. Graphs made it easier to draw maps and pictures. Photos from my camera would have to suffice for many things.
When I arrived at the place where I began my walk, I noted the time, the temperature, and the elevation. My GPS’s batteries had died after a long dormancy, so I resorted to a Samsung Galaxy app called “S Baro” which gives you the elevation within fifty feet based on the barometric pressure. I also made a mental note to put fresh batteries in the GPS.
Sign, Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary, Modjeska Canyon, California.
Summer offers mercies to the chaparral hiker. One of these is the change of the colors of poison oak from a glossy green to an autumnal red. Poison oak cannot be called an herb or a shrub or a vine or a tree: it can be any of these. I know of patches where it sprouts as a bush and other places where it throttles a tree. There is a spot in O’Neill Regional Park where it stretches to the forest canopy as a large sapling. If there is shade, there is probably poison oak mixed in the ground cover. And if there is sun, it may well be there, too. The pretty leaves tricked one hiker I know to use them as a wipe. How could anything so beautiful cause suffering? was the reasoning that passed through her head. Toxicodendron diversilobum is a most devious plant, the closest thing I can think of as an argument for intelligent design if not by a benevolent creator, then by a demon.
Wide fire roads and ranch roads from the days before foothill subdivisions attract trail bikers to the Southern California wilderness margins. Some will dare the narrow single tracks and in some cases local parks authorities allow this. Just witness the Cactus Hill, Sleepy Hollow and Sage Scrub trails in Whiting. Walking should not entail taking your life into your hands, but keen use of all the senses especially sound and sight will keep you bones unbroken and your vitals unsquashed. Most bikers show respect for walkers. There are those, however, who forget themselves as they feel the adrenaline rush of speed and forget that paths in the chaparral are not rides at Disneyland or Knotts Berry Farm.
It felt like I was walking on a twig laid across where the forward ball of my foot ascended to the arch. I limped along, wondering what had gotten into my shoe. When I got home, I took my shoes and socks off. The sock had a huge hole and curled edges. I concluded that that was the cause of my suffering.
Yesterday, I found a pair of clean socks not in need of repair, put them on with my boots, and walked a few steps only to find that the pain had returned. I sat down in my red retro chair, took off the boot, and shook it. Nothing came out. I rolled off the sock and examined my foot where I found a long, irregular blister spread over the sore spot. The notion of puncturing it with a needle passed through my head but briefly: I did not want to be an heir in death to Calvin Coolidge, Jr.
A better remedy from Boy Scouts suggested itself: I taped a Bandaid over it. This pushed down the lump and prevented the skin from stretching as I walked. The pain bothered me just a little and only on slopes.
First aid for blisters.
When I spent four years in North Carolina about 35 years ago, I hated going into the woods because doing so without a hat invited ticks to drop on my head. I remember one long post-hike affair when my girlfriend and I stripped ourselves naked and spent a distinctly unerotic hour searching for the vectors on our skin and in our various hairy bits. We broke up shortly afterwards, though not because of the ticks, I think. The plastic helmet that I started to wear to protect myself proved a more decisive factor — among many.
Ticks scare me. Just the thought of a creature burrowing its head into my body and sucking deeply from the nearest capillary gives me no happy thrill. I shivered when my dog’s veterinarian found one attached to his neck. It looked like a lump of grayish brown dog flesh to me. I backed off when he raised it to show to me. Good thing, I thought, that I didn’t let my Boston Terrier sleep with me. Who wanted to become a second course to a known carrier of Lyme Disease?