Category: Explore

Hikes & Bikes

hikesnBikesPRL

If for some reason you can’t make it out to visit one of our National Parks this weekend to celebrate our National Park’s 100th birthday, here’s a few local hikes and a intermediate bike ride you can take part in.

These guided hikes and the bike ride are all courtesy of our Orange County Parks and are all FREE – just cover the parking!

Saturday, August 27, 2106

Intermediate Bike Ride: Shoestring Canyon, Loma Ridge, to the Back Side of The Sinks – Irvine Ranch Open Space
Join a strenuous, extremely challenging early morning mountain bike ride through Limestone Canyon Nature Preserve. Riders will visit the East Sinks Viewing Deck and gain beautiful vistas of Agua Chinon Canyon and beyond.

  • Pre-registration is required.
  • Driving directions will be provided after registration.
  • For more events in Limestone Canyon,click here.


Online Registration

Date:  8/27/2016
Time:  6:00 AM – 8:00 AM
Laurel Loop Geology Hike – Laguna Coast Wilderness Park
Enjoy an afternoon of unspoiled canyon views and learn about the geology of this area.  The rocks and fossils reveal fascinating stories about the park’s ancient environments. This will be a 3.5-mile hike over steep and uneven terrain (600-ft. elevation gain).

  • Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, Willow Canyon Staging Area (20101 Laguna Canyon Rd, just south of El Toro Rd intersection).
  • For questions, call (949) 497-8324 Mon-Fri & (949) 923-2235 Sat/Sun.
  • Parking: $3 per vehicle.


Online Registration

Date:  8/27/2016
Time:  8:00 AM – 11:30 AM
Walk with a Naturalist – O’Neill Regional Park
Join O’Neill Regional Park naturalists and learn about the animals and nature of Trabuco Canyon. This will be a light to moderate walk on mostly paved roads.

  • All ages welcome.
  • Fee: Free
  • Parking: $5 per vehicle

Event is conditional on the weather.

Date:  8/27/2016
Time:  9:00 AM – 10:30 AM

 

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Guided Nature Hike – Ronald W. Caspers Wilderness Park
Join the Park Ranger for a one mile nature hike in the beautiful Bell Canyon area of Caspers Wilderness Park. Hike lasts approximately one hour and is suitable for all ages.

  • Contact park office for hike updates.
  • Parking: $5 per vehicle (day use fee).
  • Meet at the Old Corral Day Use Area.
Date:  8/28/2016
Time:  8:00 AM – 9:15 AM
Bird Walk – Laguna Coast Wilderness Park
Spot year-round and summer resident birds with Laguna Canyon Foundation volunteer naturalists on this 2-mile hike over uneven, sometimes steep terrain (up to 200-ft. elevation gain) through one of the most diverse plant communities in the United States.

  • For ages 12 and up (minors must be accompanied by an adult).
  • Wear hiking or walking shoes and bring your binoculars. Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, Willow Canyon Staging Area (west side of Laguna Canyon Rd/SR-133, just south of El Toro Road).
  • For questions, call (949) 497-8324 Mon-Fri & (949) 923-2235 Sat/Sun.
  • Parking: $3 per vehicle.


Online Registration

Date:  8/28/2016
Time:  8:00 AM – 10:30 AM
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Happy 100th Birthday National Park Service

Image courtesy of nps.gov
Image courtesy of nps.gov

Today marks the 100th birthday of our National Park Service and they are inviting everyone to celebrate with special events and FREE admission to all of the 412 National Parks from today through Sunday, August 28th.

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ProjectRefinedLife.com

Our National Park Service is encouraging everyone to #FindYourPark and attend one of the special events they have planned.

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ProjectRefinedLife.com

We’ve been pretty busy this summer with our summer exploring trips. We’ve visited Sequoia and Kings Canyon as well as two trips to Yosemite. One of which included camping inside Yosemite National Park. The parks are all surrounded with beauty and wonder at every turn.

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ProjectRefinedLife.com

In Yosemite, we were able to go to sleep to the sound of Yosemite Falls in the background and wake up to look up at Half Dome. There is always so much to see and do in our National Parks and never enough time to finish exploring.

JR-Centen-Wood

In addition to their special centennial programs offered through out the country this weekend, the NPS offers their Junior Ranger Program everyday as well as  the special Girl Scout Ranger Program and the Scout Ranger Program for Boy Scouts.

nps-gs-ranger-patch

If you have other plans this weekend – break them and go FindYourPark  (EncuentraTuParque).

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ProjectRefinedLife.com

Don’t forget if you have a 4th grader – your entire family gets into the park for free for a full year with the Every Kid in a Park program.

Every Kid in a Park

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Pokémon Go Hike

Image courtesy of pokemongo.com
Image courtesy of pokemongo.com

Here’s a fun hike for all you gamers out there! Get your game on at this upcoming Pokémon Go Hike. This 4 mile hike in Whiting Ranch does require reservations and there are still a few spots available, so act quick! 

whiting ranch

Come mingle with other like-minded gamers while you explore the great outdoors. Join us at the active Poké Stops at the Whiting Ranch trailhead with three Poké Stops waiting for you. Arrive early to grab an egg from the Poké Stops or join us with one from a previous stop.

As you incubate your egg, venture out and see Mother Nature’s own version of Beedrill, Rattata, Spearow, Ekans and the elusive Persian. Along the way, learn which plant Pikachu would have used to name the city of Hollywood, and the plant that Muk would use to cover up his obnoxious odor. Keep an eye out for poison oak and hear about nature’s remedy should you get tangled up in it during your search for Ditto, the most powerful Pokémon.

Pokémon Go is a location-based augmented reality game that allows iOS and Android users to locate, capture, train and battle virtual creatures known as Pokémon. Come with the Pokémon app downloaded on your smart phone and at least one or two Pokémon finds.  And definitely have your smart phone charged up to the max..

  • When: Sunday, August 21, 2016 from 9:00 am – 11:30 am
  • Where: Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park – Borrego Parking Area
  • Cost: FREE – parking fees will apply.

Visit Letsgooutside.org to register

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Girls in the Garage

GirlsintheGarage

Girls in the Garage is a FREE event held once a month from the very fine folks at Mission Viejo Transmission and Auto Repair.

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ProjectRefinedLife.com

This FREE monthly event, sponsored by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, the Orange County Fire Department, M.A.D.D., and AAA, helps women and girls learn basic car maintenance in a fun environment.

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ProjectRefinedLife.com

A few months back, my family, a few of my Girl Scouts and their Moms attended and had a fantastic time. You walk into an immaculate garage that has been set up with 12 hands-on participation stations. Before you get started you are given a necklace to help you keep track of each station.

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ProjectRefinedLife.com

Each station is taught by a team member of Mission Viejo Transmission that is dedicated to teaching you how perform basic vehicle checks.

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ProjectRefinedLife.com

You’ll learn basics from knowing how to read the warning lights on your dash board, to checking the oil and tire pressure to changing a tire.

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ProjectRefinedLife.com

The garage is not only immaculate but it’s transformed into a place of celebration with a live band, state of the art lighting & sound, catered food, beverages, and cocktails. Make sure to check out their amazing 4 coat epoxy floor.

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ProjectRefinedLife.com

Make an evening of it – bring your family, invite your friends and tell your neighbors.This is a great service to the community – it’s fun, informative and FREE!

  • When: The First Wednesday of every month from 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm.
  • Where: Mission Viejo Transmission is located at 27210 La Paz Rd, Mission Viejo, CA 92692
  • Cost: FREE – Reservations are not required however if your taking a group please call and let them know in advance.
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Playing and Staying in Big Sur

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ProjectRefinedLife.com

Big Sur is one of the “must-see places” in  America and located on one of the most iconic road trips in our Country, Highway 1, a designated American National Scenic Byway. With approximately 85 curvy miles between San Simeon and Carmel, this stretch of highway hosts breath-taking views of both the mountains and the coast.

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ProjectRefinedLife.com

You could definitely stay in the car and drive through Highway 1 and be awestruck by its beauty (I’ve done that) or you could spend some time there and enjoy it to the fullest. Big Sur has plenty to do for the outdoor enthusiast. From hiking, to waterfalls, to the purple sandy beaches –  Big Sur is amazing!

ProjectRefinedLife.com
ProjectRefinedLife.com

You can spend the day to discover Big Sur by stopping along the highway and visit places like Mc Way Falls, Pfeiffer Beach and the Bixby Creek Bridge. We wanted to go on some hikes, see the redwoods and feel the purple sand of the beaches in Big Sur.

AndrewMoleraBeach1We decided to camp in Big Sur and made our base at the Fernwood Resort. To make reservations you simply call them, that’s right – no internet reservations here. The friendly staff at Fernwood Resort, answers the phones (crazy right?) checks the dates your interested in and lets you know what’s available. Take note – campsites fill up quick as most of the campers I talked to while we were there book their camping spots a year in advance.

FernwoodResort10

Highway 1 is filled with gorgeous resorts, inns and camping spots along the way. The Fernwood Resort came as a recommendation to us and I’m glad we stayed here. We were fortunate enough to scoop up a couple of cancellations for our trip.

Fernwood16One the first night, we stayed at camp site #63 – This campsite is located along the river on the other side of the bridge after entering the campsite. My first thought upon pulling up to our campsite was that the space was small, beautiful but small. We got out, set up camp and realized there was plenty of space.

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ProjectRefinedLife.com

As it turns out your campsite goes all the way down to the river, you can actually set up your tent near the river (just be careful if rain is in the forecast). Each campsite comes with a picnic table and a fire ring. All of the campsites along the river surprisingly have electricity and water and most importantly easy access to the river. You fall to sleep to the gentle sound of the river.

FernwoodResort13
Fernwood17
FernwoodResort12
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The campsites located on the opposite side are set among the Redwood Trees but do not have electricity and water. The restrooms, free showers, a dishwashing area (with hot water) and a coin operated laundry area are all conveniently located to all of the campsites.

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ProjectRefinedLife.com

As for our second night we moved to “primitive” Tent Cabin # 8 – which means a cabin with no electricity or bathroom. The Tent Cabins sleep 4 are also located along the river, have a picnic table and fire rings.

ProjectRefinedLife.com
ProjectRefinedLife.com

The Tent Cabins do offer a little more privacy as they sit between the Redwood trees. Our girls loved playing inside the cabin while my husband and I prepared meals and sat around the campfire with the sound of the river below us.

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ProjectRefinedLife.com

There are trails that leads down to the river from the tent cabin sites, my girls had a blast playing in the river.

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ProjectrefinedLife.com

The restrooms were a short walk from the Tent Cabins as well as private coin operated showers rooms. The downside for me was that the dishwashing station was located on the other side of the camp near the tent camping sites.

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ProjectRefinedLife.com

Fernwood Resort also offers Adventure Tents (a Tent Cabin with electricty, a bed, night stand, lights and bedding), a Motor Lodge, Fully Furnished Cabins with bathrooms and kitchens, RV sites and group camping spots. If you arrive here and realize you forgot something, don’t worry – they’ve got you covered.

FernwoodResort9
FernwoodResort8

There is a very fully stocked market (which includes vegan and vegetarian options), a very fully stocked camping supply store, a restaurant with an outside patio with heaters and a ping pong table, an Ice Cream shop (that serves very healthy servings) and live entertainment on Friday and Saturday nights.

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ProjectRefinedLife.com

A couple of things to consider – if were a camper, the camp sites are a little higher then your usually campsites (still far less than a motel room) and you can only get Wi-Fi service in the store/restaurant area, so be prepared to unplug during your stay.

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ProjectRefinedLife.com

Both Pfeiffer Beach and Andrew Molera State Beach are located within 5-10 minutes from Fernwood Resort. Staying here gave us the the perfect opprtunity to explore Big Sur, see the Redwoods, play in the oceans purple sand, play in the river, relax by a campfire and of course  – make s’mores! How perfect is that!

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ProjectRefinedLife.com

Fernwood Resort has a gorgeous walking trail (great for the littles) a hiking trail and also happens to be home to one of the very rare “Albino” Redwood.

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ProjectRefinedLife.com

I highly recommend Fernwood Resort, no matter what level of adventure your at. If your looking to stay in a room, relax in a cabin or rough it in a campsite, they have something for you. You can’t go wrong staying here while you while you discover this beautiful area of California.

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ProjectRefinedLife.com

Happy exploring!

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Zookeepers Appreciaton Day

wpid-2014-11-25_21.15.11.jpg

It’s time to thank our Orange County zookeepers for all their hard work caring for our zoo animals!

Kids activities include making thank you cards for our zookeepers, crafts, playing games, and a special scavenger hunt where you can enter to win a Zookeeper Shadow Experience!

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Kids are encouraged to come dressed in zookeeper attire/costume!

The first 100 children ages 12 & under will receive a free train ride ticket for Irvine Park Railroad!

Image courtesy of Irvine Park Railroad
Image courtesy of Irvine Park Railroad

Zookeepers will be giving “keeper chats” throughout the day and giving out special treats and toys to the zoo animals.

Special talk on “So You Want To Be A Zookeeper” will be given by two of our zookeepers at 10:30 a.m. Visitors can learn what a zookeeper’s day is like, see some of the “tools of the trade” and meet some zoo animals up close! Reservations are not needed.

  • When: Saturday, July 23, 2016
  • Where: OC Zoo located inside Irvine Regional Park,  1 Irvine Park Rd, Orange, CA 92869
  • Cost: $2.00 per person, ages 2 & under are free, parking is $5 per vehicle
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All About Snakes

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ProjectRefinedLife.com

OC Parks invites you to join local herpetologist Steve Bledsoe at O’Neill Regional Park to learn all about snakes that can be found in Orange County.

This family-friendly event will feature a live reptile display with local snake species. Come learn how to identify snakes, where they live and what to do when you encounter one on park trails.

There will also be an informative presentation on rattlesnakes of Orange County.

  • When: Saturday, July 23, 2016 from 7:15 – 8:30 pm
  • Where: O’Neil Regional Park, 30892 Trabuco Canyon Rd, Trabuco Canyon, CA 92678 – Meet at the O’Neill Nature Center and Amphitheater. Parking at the O’Neill Nature Center lot.
  • Cost: The event is free event, parking feess apply. .
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Wolf Ambassadors

Image courtesy of FullertonAboretum.org
Image courtesy of FullertonAboretum.org

Spend a Tuesday Evening in the garden at Fullerton Aborteum for a family friendly event. The Project Wildsong Team will introduce the wolf ambassadors, Cael and Damu.

Learn about the ecology of wolves and why they are an important keystone species. The team will also be talking about foxes as they are obtaining an Ambassador Fox this year, which is an exciting new addition. Don’t forget your camera and be ready to pet the wolves.

  • When: Tuesday, July 19, 2016 from 7:00pm-8:00pm
  • Where: Fullerton Aboretum, 1900 Assoicated Road, Fullerton, CA 
  • Cost: $10.00 per person
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Weekend Hikes

ProjectRefinedLife.com
ProjectRefinedLife.com

I thought I’d start the Weekend HIkes post early this week so you could pre-register and plan your weekend. It could be I’m just eager to get out there for some sort of hiking adventures. Remember the OC Parks guided hikes are always free just cover the parking.  Get out there and discover a new trail!

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Let’s Go Hiking! – Laguna Coast Wilderness Park

Do you want to take a hike with other nature enthusiasts? Enjoy a 3.8-mile, moderate (600-ft. elevation gain) hike through Laurel and Willow Canyons with Laguna Canyon Foundation volunteers. You will experience a variety of plant communities, from Coastal Sage Scrub to Oak Woodland and enjoy a view of the ocean at the top. Minimal interpretation, but questions welcome. The terrain can often be rocky and uneven.

  • Participants should bring water, a hat, a snack, and wear proper hiking shoes.
  • Ages 15 and up.
  • Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, Willow Canyon Staging Area (20101 Laguna Canyon Road, just south of El Toro Road intersection).
  • For questions call: 949-497-8324 Mon-Fri & 949-923-2235 Sat/Sun.
  • Parking: $3/vehicle.

Register Online

Date: 7/2/2016
Time: 8:00 AM – 10:30 AM
First Saturday of the Month Morning Hike To The Redwood Grove – Carbon Canyon Regional Park
Join OC Parks’ trained staff on the first Saturday of the month for an easy 1.1-mile early morning interpretive hike to the park’s Coastal Redwood grove. You will use your 5 senses to engage with nature as you stroll to the Redwoods. You will also have an opportunity to learn about our native plants along the trail. The hike begins at 8:30 a.m. from the park’s Nature Center.


Participants should remember water, sunscreen, hat and hiking shoes.

  • All ages (small children may have to be carried).
  • Meet at Nature Center located at east end of park.
  • Cost: FREE!
  • Registration: call (714) 973-3160 or email carboncanyon@ocparks.com
  • Parking: $5 per vehicle
  • Rain will cancel hike.
Date: 7/2/2016
Time: 8:30 AM – 10:00 AM
Walk with a Naturalist – O’Neill Regional Park

Join O’Neill Regional Park naturalists and learn about the animals and nature of Trabuco Canyon. This will be a light to moderate walk on mostly paved roads.

  • All ages welcome.
  • Fee: Free
  • Parking: $5 per vehicle

Event is conditional on the weather.

Date: 7/2/2016
Time: 9:00 AM – 10:30 AM
Explore the Bay Family Hike – Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve
An easy hike for families of all ages to learn more about Upper Newport Bay and enjoy its trails.  $0 $0Hike will be on paved and dirt trails. $0 $0Bring sun protection and water. $0 $0Meet on the patio of the Muth Interpretive Center. $0 $0Event is free, registration is not required.  $0 $0
Date: 7/2/2016
Time: 10:30 AM – 11:30 AM
Family Hike – Laguna Coast Wilderness Park

Come and enjoy an easy, 2.5-mile family hike over moderate but uneven terrain (45-ft. elevation gain). Starting at the James Dilley Preserve we will hike one of the most diverse areas of the park to Barbara’s Lake and back. Hike is led by Laguna Canyon Foundation naturalist volunteers.

  • Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, James Dilley Preserve (I-5 or 405 south to 133 south to stoplight at 73 toll road; make a U-turn, go 1 block. Dilley is on the right).
  • For questions call: 949-497-8324 Mon-Fri & 949-923-2235 Sat/Sun.
  • Parking: $3/vehicle.

Register Online

Date: 7/2/2016
Time: 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM

 

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Guided Nature Hike – Ronald W. Caspers Wilderness Park
Join the Park Ranger for a one mile nature hike in the beautiful Bell Canyon area of Caspers Wilderness Park. Hike lasts approximately one hour and is suitable for all ages.

  • Contact park office for hike updates.
  • Parking: $5 per vehicle (day use fee).
  • Meet at the Old Corral Day Use Area.
Date:  7/3/2016
Time:  8:00 AM – 9:15 AM
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Kumeyaay Family Fun Day

Image from sanelijo.org
Image from sanelijo.org

Get unplugged and head outdoors at the San Elijio Lagoon while you learn about the Kumeyaay. During this month’s Family Fun Day you’ll discover the Kumeyaay who relied upon the lagoon’s resources, through arts and crafts and activity-guided tours.

Family Fun Days are held on the 1st Sunday of the month. Rain or shine. Presented by Conservancy & County rangers.

  • When: Sunday, July 3, 2016 from 11:30am – 1:30pm
  • Where: San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve, 2710 Manchester Ave, Cardiff, CA 92007
  • Cost: FREE
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