I still don’t have a plan for this blog, and of course have been completely sidetracked in the blogging department by Project Perky. Since Project Perky has quieted down a bit, and I’m hiking more, I’ve decided to dive back in. My original plan for this blog was for it to be a working mom blog (hence the name, which I’ll get into in another post someday), but I also had a hankering for creating a hiking blog. My plan as of this moment is to blog about life in general, including the challenges and joys of being a working mom, but with a heavy focus on hiking, camping, and the outdoors.
With all that said… a few days ago I hiked Oak Canyon at Mission Trails Regional Park. I hiked part of this trail a week or two ago with my Family Adventures in Nature group and a gaggle of kids. On that meander we climbed every oak tree, marveled at a distance at beehives, caught tadpoles, turned over rocks, chased butterflies, and finally, for the pièce de résistance, climbed and clamored and splashed in a waterfall. It was so beautiful I decided I wanted to come back, sans children, to hike the length of the trail.
This year we had near-record rainfall. After years of drought here in California, all this rain is not only welcome, but it’s like an awakening – we’ve forgotten what this place usually looks like in spring, with trickling streams and flowers everywhere. There has been much press about the “super bloom” in the desert this year, and the desert is indeed beautiful; but every hike I’ve done this spring, from Torrey Pines to the Grand Canyon, has been covered in super blooms. Oak Canyon was no exception.
Mission Trails Regional Park is not far from my kids’ school, and it’s on my way to work, so in addition to being an awesome park, it’s also conveniently located for me. After dropping the kids off, I drove to the Old Mission Dam. There was a huge crowd of high school-aged kids gathering for a hike, so I geared up as quickly as I could to get ahead of them (which I succeeded at – I never saw them again the whole hike).
I hit the trail at 8:30am and followed the familiar route out to the waterfall where the kids had played. That portion of the hike was indeed the best part, but I pressed on. The hike followed the stream, crossing in several places. Eventually it met up with one of the Fortuna trails. As I approached the 52 highway, the stream opened into a small gorge with some rock scrambling. At this point, Jerry Schad (4th edition; I’m still waiting for my Scott Turner version!) has you turn around for an out-and-back hike, but I decided to make a small loop out of it, and turned up one of the Fortuna trails to head towards the Grasslands loop.
This trail was dramatically different; basically a wide, dirt road, in the broad sunshine. What it lost in raw riparian beauty it somewhat made up for in views, with rolling hills visible in every direction. That said, I can see why Schad dismissed the Grasslands Loop trail; it’s really more of a mountain biking trail and not a hiking destination.
My hike met back up with the Oak Canyon trail and after a wee bit of confusion on my part (which is visible in my GPX track) I made it back to the dam a little before 10am.