It can be hard living in the Western Megalopolis. High end housing developments have been sprouting up for years. The highways & malls are crowded, you watch TV, read news, blogs, forums getting the impression that nature is being beaten into submission.

Woa Dude... Stop all that watching, go outside and do something!

It is a paradise of hiking and riding trails here in Southern CA. Lands set aside in the San Gabriel's before and after 'The Great Hiking Era' (around 1900) have been augmented repeatedly in our Modern age. Recently Developers and City Planners have set new precedents for open space. The South Coast Wilderness Area in Laguna Beach is 20,000 acres set aside as wild forever. 40,000 acres of the Irvine Ranch have been designated as the first California Natural Landmark. This does not include the Cleveland National Forest (470,000 acres) with over a dozen trail heads here in the OC ! These are just a few examples.

Now there is a plan to join some of these resources together and one key part was executed last month. The City of Irvine opened the Quail Trail from Shady Canyon at the 5 Freeway into Little Sycamore Canyon, Serrano Ridge and the beautiful Nix Nature Center. It can also be used to access the Laguna Wilderness Area and Crystal Cove State Park.

We are outside riding in different open spaces every weekend, usually within 15-20 minutes drive from the house. When you ride 20 miles of trail and see 5 or 6 people its more like what I've felt hiking around Boulder, CO or New Paltz, NY. The fact that you are close to 20 million other humans ends up being the farthest thing from your mind. I recommend taking advantage of the great gifts given to us by Benjamin Wilson, James Irvine, Grover Cleveland, as well as today's Conservators of Nature.

OC Parks Wilderness Parks, California Natural landmark, Irvine,
Cleveland National Forest, Hiking Mt Wilson