Spring is in bloom in Orange County. The air is filled with scents of fresh cut grass and newly budded blossoms. The beauty of wildflowers decorating our semi arid landscape makes it impossible for us to stay inside. This past weekend we headed out to Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park
The Red Rock/Borrego Canyon hike at Whiting Ranch is one of contrast. You start out in the parking lot of a Ralph’s grocery store, head through a steep, tree shaded canyon, enter a world of wildflower studded hillsides, and end in a stark sandstone canyon that looks like something you would find in a National Park in Utah. Its incredible. The hike is almost 4 miles roundtrip and mostly level.
We took this hike in hopes of spotting wildflowers. They didn’t seem to be as prolific as last year but they were still plentiful. We saw plenty of purple lupines, blue dicks, poppies, buttercups, and lots of other flowers I have no business trying to identify. Its no secret that I have a serious “thing” for wildflowers and its seems to have rubbed off on my daughter as well. We can’t pass a patch without my daughter reminding me to take a picture.
The Red Rock trail (and offshoot of the Borrego Canyon Trail) leads you into a land filled with cacti, circling turkey vultures, and deeply carved sandstone cliffs. Its truly hard to believe you are only a couple miles from suburbia. Its easy to find yourself staring at those red walls whilst dreaming of a world filled with condors and desert dwellers.
One of the more unexpected experiences we had on the trail was having a man show us a fossil on the side of a boulder that had been washed down a creek. I knew there were fossils just waiting to be discovered but I had never actually stopped and tried to find any. They are certainly something I will start to keep my eyes open for in the future.
(Look closely, its there!)
I can’t end this post without sharing a couple of my favorite pictures from the hike. One of them is a close up of a lizard we met on the trail. He just looks so darn cute! The other is of me and my kids in a tree. Its the first shot that I have had with my kids and I actually looking at the camera and smiling in well over a year. We were out doing what we love and its a photo I will treasure forever. Many thanks to my husband, Paul, for capturing this treasured moment.
Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park is located in Foothill Ranch on the corner of Portola Parkway and Market. Hour are from 7AM to Sunset. Hikers, mountain bikers, and equestrians all frequent the many trails of this beautiful park. For more information click here.
For more fantastic travel photos, check out Delicious Baby’s Photo Friday here.