Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Whiting Ranch Wildflower Tour

As an Orange County resident for the past 8 years, I've noticed that much of the county is very well developed. When it comes to shopping and entertainment, our OC ancestors have [literally] paved the way, making OC a hot-spot for wining, dining, shopping, schooling, movie-watching, and much more. It can be easy in this well-developed county of ours to forget that nature still exists, and you don't have to drive an hour (or more) to experience it. Indeed, our very backyard is a lush, mountainous hot-bed of all that is natural and largely untouched by mankind.

Last week, I was invited to go on a media tour of Whiting Ranch (along with the likes of the OC Register and reps from a few other location publications and blogs) to take a guided look at OC's beautiful indigenous wildflowers. I was amazed at the beautiful view of vibrant, green rolling hills, lush shrubbery, and wide variety of wildflowers. Here are a few pictures I took that ought to show you what I'm talking about:

[View of Trabuco Canyon from Whiting Ranch]

[View of Irvine]

[Blue Lupins are native to Southern California]

[Yellow Pincushions are also native]

[Morning Glory]

[Mustard is not native to California, and the fact that it now blankets the hills can allegedly be attributed to Junipero Serra]

[White popcorn flowers]

[Our Lord's Candle or Yucca]

[Windmill Pinks]

[Wild Cucumber]

[Damage from the Fall 2007 fires is still evident; yet, a great deal of regrowth has taken place in the past 2+ years]

I encourage you to check out the OC Parks Wildflowers Blog for a closer, more in-depth look at native wildflowers. The blog exists for the OC Parks staff to share locations, descriptions, photos, and scheduled wildflower hikes in an effort to inspire people to see the beauty the parks have to offer. Also, visit the official OC Parks website for more information about each of the many parks in OC and upcoming park-hosted events.

Life can be hectic. We get caught in our routine-- hustling from work to the grocery store to our homes to games/plays/movies back to our homes to sleep, wake up, and do it all over again. It's stressful, isn't it? If you're starting to feel like all you see and do involves cement, electronics, and automobiles, it's probably time to turn off  your t.v., put down your phone and laptop, and get out and connect with nature! Take a hike, ride a mountain bike, guide a horse along a dusty trail, or enjoy an evening nature walk. Here are a couple upcoming wildflower hikes I strongly encourage you to check out:

Saturday, May 8th from 8:30-11:30am 
and Saturday, June 12th, 8:30-11:30am

Learn to identify native spring bloomers with Laguna Canyon Foundation volunteer naturalists on this modeate, but steep and rocky 3.5 mile hike. Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, Willow Staging Area (20101 Laguna Canyon Rd, just south of El Toro Rd intersection). Reservations required: 949-923-2235. Parking: $3. Donation: $2/person.


on my blip: Local Natives' "Airplanes"

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