Saturday, March 19, 2011

We headed out to the San Juan Loop Trail in the Cleveland National Forest today after reading in Orange County, A Day Hiker's Guide that it is one of the best wildflower viewing trails in the county. It's still early in the season, but with a baby due soon, I'm taking in all that I can of Spring while this little person is still quietly contained!

The trail is located 20 miles East of the 5 Fwy on Ortega Highway (74), a winding mountain road which runs from San Juan Capistrano to Lake Elsinore, bisecting the Santa Ana Mountains and connecting Orange and Riverside Counties.

We learned that the parking lot was right across from the famous Ortega Hwy Candy Store where you can purchase a Daily National Forest Adventure Pass for $5. But don't get your hopes up too much about the store, when we got there it looked more like a scantly stocked convenience store, lacking the charm you might imagine in an out of the way candy store.

It was a cool, beautiful day, and while it's still very early in the season, there were plenty of flowers and sights to see along the trail (and a bit off it).

Some kind of Sumac - maybe sugar sumac?


popcorn flower

My husband was able to hike down to the pool at the bottom of this waterfall with my 2 older kids. I stayed behind explaining its difficulty to a very teary eyed 3 year old.

Monkey flower


Chaparral nightshade

California Goldfields

I have no idea what these are - some kind of fungi or lichen. Odd and interesting!

Baby blue eyes

Blue dicks

Not sure what this is

More interesting fungi

Poison Oak

And its natural remedy - Mugwort

And last but not least, our little naturalist, conversationalist soon to be big sister :)

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