Crystal Cove State Park- July 13th 2017
Nestled right up next to the Pacific Ocean on the northern outskirts of Laguna Beach you will find a network of over 10 miles of trails meandering roughly up and away from the coastline, boasting magnificent views of the blue southern California Ocean.
Driving south on highway 1, I almost missed the entrance, as I was gazing out at the horizon on this clear, mildly cloudy, hot July day. The year is 2017 and California had experienced the 12th worst drought in California’s history. Luckily, the year before brought bountiful rains ending the more than 3 years of drought.
Because of the rains earlier in the season the vegetation flourished. Now midway through summer the brush was crisp and the color of desert sand. The tall grasses swayed creating a shimmery sound as the wind blew through them.
This hike is best suited for early morning in the hot summer months or those plentiful moderate 70’s days, as only scattered shade brings relief to flushed hikers.
The hike is moderate and you can find a short loop of a little over 2 miles or a more strenuous 8 mile trek. Mountain bikers, and pets are allowed.
Now being July summer camp season is in full effect. I saw scores of campers on the trail. This camp was a typical southern California surf, swim, and outdoors camp.
As I continued on the hike I noticed quite a bit of mating bugs. It was interesting to watch one bug jump on the next some 5-6 deep. Then I noticed vines lined with flowers and fruit of mini watermelon. The fruit, flowers, and leaves were teaming with small ants. Again, I took a moment just to observe the fascinating complex communication systems at work
I decided to take a moderate 4-5 mile loop, using the perfectly named cut across trail. The cut across trail is a steep incline of 20-30% grade really getting those calves in shape.
Towards the end of the tail as I was making my way back to the Pacific Ocean there is a path that takes you over to the beach for some needed relaxation. I took off my sneakers and headed down to the water to cool my feet in the ocean and then taking a lounge on the warm summer sand and drinking in the sound of the waves. A definite must when you are traveling to Orange County.