Monday, July 20, 2015

Dollar Store Essentials

Mimi went to the 99¢ Only Store in Tustin, Ca (Newport Avenue) to kill time.  She found this whistle for Just-In-Case, Strawberry Shake Blam lip balm with a clip, and Minnie Mouse cotton candy hand sanitizer with a clip.  Mike's going to be really thrilled.  ðŸ˜†

At checkout, she saw a Selfie-stick and had to purchase one for better backgrounds in their selfies.  InstaDork.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Thomas Riley Wilderness Park

Mike and Mimi decided to hike through Thomas Riley Wilderness Park.  Mimi heard there was an easy trail and a recent deer-sighting and wanted the opportunity for spotting deer, too.  Mike said, "Deer?  That means there are mountain lions around.  They eat deer."  Oh snap.

So, Mimi packed the backpacks, and they were on their way.

As soon as they arrived at the address, there's a sandy road on the right that leads into the parking lot.  Please note, it's near the corner of the street and can easily be passed.  If you've gone to the light you've gone too far.  The parking lot is a fairly decent size, and has a parking meter near port-o-potties.

Mike began to take pictures of stuff in the parking lot.  Mimi was anxious to get started and headed off to Mule Deer Trailhead which began near a small horse carrale.  She turned to see what was taking Mike so long, and then turned back to the trail when she was startled at seeing a light brown animal.  At first she assumed mountain lion, but immediately realized it was a deer, and then handfuls more.  

She excitedly yelled, "Mike!  Deer!  Hurry!"  Mike was trying to adjust the contents of his camera bag.  Mimi began taking pictures of the deer and kept urging Mike to hurry.  

Mike finally got his camera together Nd took amazing pictures of deer.  (Coming soon)

Mimi tried to get a little closer, but knowing there were baby deer and mamas, she tread very carefully.  Finally, the deer tired of Mimi and Mike getting too close and ran into woods.  Mike followed but they disappeared.  So, the hike commenced.  They walked passed a prairie, over a manmade wooden pathway, over some hilly area and finally made it to a fork in the trail.  They went right, which led to a peak and they could see Santiago Peak and a few of the other mountains in the Santa Ana range.  To get up to that peak, they had to endure what sounded like a rTtlesnake den that wAs disturbed.  Mimi was terrified, and Mike wS Nnoyed by her rattler fear.  Mimi recorded a video of their argument.  (Coming soon)

They turned from that peak to head back toward the other trail l(left) which took them to a small informational billboard regarding the different wild cats in the area.  Mimi found a pile of rocks and balanced a few. (Pics coming soon)

They headed back to the parking lot in hopes of seeing deer again, to no avail.  Mimi wanted to check out the butterfly garden at the ranger station. So, they headed to the little trail to walk through the garden.  Many milkweeds, trees, poppies, and poison oak (with signs) line the trail.  Plenty of butterflies and bees were seen.

It was definitely an easy hike at the Mule Deer tail and worth it!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Rancho Palos Verdes Peninsula

Mike & Mimi feeling on top of the world at Del Cerro Park.
(Just before the hike started)
Due to the articles about residents in the Del Cerro Park area not liking hikers coming to Rancho Palos Verdes and parking on their streets, littering, etc, Mimi thought that was the perfect place to go (article 1, article 2, article 3), considering parking permits would be in the near future.

They parked on the street prior to Park Avenue.  There's a fence that overlooks the canyon called Portuguese Bend and Reserve, and few hikers were seen walking through there.  It's a long way down.

Mimi and Mike entered the park on foot, seeking the trailhead, but found picnickers at a bench and a couple cuddling in a corner.

The trail within Del Cerro Park leads to an overlook that can see into the canyon and beyond.  Visions of many trails below could be seen and they stood there for a moment deciding which trail would be best.

They left the park in search of the trailhead which is a gate to a rocky road on the side of the park.  A man named José was cleaning up litter, when Mike asked him if he knew where the trailhead was, and José was excited to tell Mike and Mimi how to get to the trailhead, where to go to get the first beautiful view on the right, and told them to enjoy their trip.

José talking about the book he read called "The Grapes of Wrath."

José telling Mike about the trail going that way is about 9 miles.

José telling Mike & Mimi about his time in the Army at the Vietnam War.
While walking the trail, just exploring, Mike and Mimi came to a fork in the road, and from the fork, José came up behind them and said, "Just go that way.  I've been hiking these trails every week for years.  I can tell you where they all go.  I've been picking up litter after all the young people leaving trash behind for years, too.  It makes hikers look bad.  I'm headed to the Trump Golf Club.  If you follow me, I can show you all the scenic spots, since they are all on the way to where I'm going."

Before leaving, José told Mike & Mimi they need to hike Mt. Wilson.  He said when he came back to California from Vietnam, he and buddies took up hiking and one of the first and most memorable hikes he took was at Mt. Wilson.  He said the view was amazing.

Returning to the car, Mimi spotted chip bags and trash next to the car.  Due to the neighborhood complaints of hikers littering, Mimi picked up the trash others left behind.

To make a long hike short...
The sounds of peacocks could be heard in the distance.  Depending on which trails taken, the hike could be a mile to 10!  Mike and Mimi lost track but took over 15,000 steps from the car back to the car.  There's not much shade, so sunscreen and long sleeves are suggested.  Mimi was sunburned.  It's not suggested to bring young children on the hike unless they are in an all-terrain stroller.  Mimi & Mike would not bring their 10 year old on this hike as seen.  Once you go down, you have to go all the way back up, and it can be tough on little legs.  A few piles of horse poop litter the trail, but all-in-all, a great medium to strenuous hike with a gorgeous view of the ocean, Catalina, and terrain.

To be continued...possibly.  

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Upper Newport Back Bay

The first hill Mimi and Chris saw.
Chris' most "strenuous" hike.
It wasn't bad at all, but it was a mini-incline.
Many former coworkers and friends have told Mimi to hike at the Newport Back Bay.  It always sounded so wonderful.  The trailhead was easy to find at 2301 University Drive in Newport Beach.  Parking was on the street and the weather was sunshiny with a side of smog.

Mike did not go with Mimi on this particular hike. Beer and movies for Mike.

Since Mimi's youngest son Chris is out of school for summer break and just finished elementary school, she thought it would be a good idea to get him walking before starting middle school in September.

Despite the distractions of the planes leaving John Wayne Airport, massive piles of horse droppings, and the occasional cyclist flying by at full speed, there were plenty of animals and plants to look at.  Mimi and Chris saw loons, horses, and turkey vultures.  It was definitely an easy hike, although Christopher and Mimi only went 1 mile in and 1 mile back, following the markers on the side of the trail.

Christopher did a great job at keeping up and being a good sport.

Desert apple cactus flower.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Go Girl

Mimi went to Walmart and purchased a Go Girl portable, feminine urinal device.  It comes in a small cylindrical tube with a baggy and small toilet paper.  Mimi claims it is comfortable and it's reusable and discreet.  She did not have this device before and has now added it to her backpack.

It is highly suggested that female hikers get one.  You don't have to risk squatting over some poisonous plants or a pile of red ants!  Just do like those that can write their name in the snow, and turn to a corner or bush and go.  If your clothing is permitting, you don't even have to pull your pants off to use it.

Very convenient!  A friend of Mimi's who is in the Army says they now issue camouflage Go Girls in the US Army for women on long convoys.

$10 at Walmart in the Sport Goods department, in the Hiking and Camping aisle.

Peter's Canyon

Mimi & Mike in Peter's Canyon

Mimi chose Peter's Canyon for a less strenuous hike, as opposed to the Santiago Peak hike from the Thursday before.  That hike left her sore till Monday.

Peter's Canyon's address of 8548 E. Canyon View Ave., Orange, CA 92869 did not show up on the GPS, so they took to Google Maps via cell phone to find it.  Once in the parking lot the trailhead begins. Mimi took a right on the trail and it took her to the upper part of the reservoir where picnickers were enjoying lunch.  Up there, it also had a sign pointing in the opposite direction to begin the trail through Peter's Canyon.  Mimi told Mike, "Other direction!"

The trail began near the street, lots of highway noises and airplanes above.  It wasn't a sweet sound for a "nature" hike.  Further along, the hike it took them to a gravel and dirt road, where the reservoir was to the right and a hill with a steep trail could be seen in the distance.

For Mimi and Mike, Peter's Canyon was "meh."  Having walked through the forest and near beaches, Peter's Canyon was a trail lined by either highway or homes.  The reservoir was depleted of water from the drought.  Sunflowers lined the trail leading up to the East Ridge Loop which made the hike less boring.

The East Ridge Loop begins at a fork in the road.  They both go in the same place, but the view from the top of the hill is far more spectacular.  In the distance, the old El Toro Marine Corps base could be seen.  Rattlesnakes could be heard throughout various parts of the canyon.

Here are a few pictures from the hike-
Mimi walking up the gravel road.
Mike jogging to catch up.
Dried out reservoir.
Full view of reservoir.

View from peak of East Ridge Loop trail.  Tustin Marine Corps Air Station.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Cleaveland National Forest to Santiago Peak

Mimi and Mike decided today was a great day to hike Santiago Peak.
Mimi walking her motion sickness off.
To get to the general area of Holy Jim Trail, they had to drive up Laguna Creek Road till they got to a parking lot.  The rude was horrendous for Mimi.  The road was extremely rocky and uneven.  People who drove behind them had to turn around to avoid wear and tear on their vehicles.  About a half mile away from the parking lot Mimi was practically hanging out the truck window, trying to get air as her motion sickness came about at full-force.  She demanded to be let out.  She told Mike to keep driving because he was driving slow enough for her to keep up with.  After about ten minutes of walking, she got back in the truck and they continued to their destination.

On arrival, there is a parking lot on the left hand side. There are 3 trails.  One is off limits to the public, leading to a private property.  The other is a road going up to the upper Holy Jim Trail, and the other is the one closest to the parking lot with a sign on a fence saying, "Holy Jim Trail."  That's the road to go on, however that is not the trail head, and your car is not welcome as it also includes homes.

While walking along the dirt road there are homes and cabins on both sides.  At the end is a fire station.  They have a wagon of waters for a small donation.  Take one and give a small donation, even if you have water, just to make sure you have enough.  If at the end of the hike you have enough, return the water or give it to someone else who might not have enough.  Once passed the fire station, the trailhead to Holy Jim Falls begins.

The first part of the walk is forest and rocky.  There is even a small creek.  It's beautiful.  At about a half mile from the trailhead, there is a sign where the trail forks.  Going right will take you to Holy Jim Trail.  Going left takes you to the Main Divide road.  Mimi and Mike took the Main Divide road as it takes you up to the peak.
Mike taking a picture of the sign with his phone.

Mike's picture of the sign.

The beginning of the trail to Main Divide Road wasn't bad at all.  At about 3 tiers up, Mimi's cursing began.  It was mainly just dirt paths on the edge of a cliff, and at the end of each path is a turn.  Each turn meant a new incline.  Each incline felt a little tougher on the calves.  Mimi would temporarily stop to stretch, rest, or sip water.  The pain was immense for her.  Mike is used to walking a lot at work and has always had good leg strength so for him it was a cake walk (at least for awhile).

Mimi looking beat from walking 3 miles upward.
About half way up is a 3 mile mark.  It was a bittersweet moment.  Mimi was excited to see a milestone, but at the same time, it was a reminder that they had 4.5 miles of inclines.  She stopped to rest near it for two minutes.

After passing the 3 mile mark, there is a small enclave created by trees and inside there's a few rocks.  Mike and Mimi took a five minute break to sit and enjoy the breeze and shade. An old man walking back from Santiago Peak stopped to chat with them and asked if they have enough water.  Mimi and Mike thought they did.  He said he didn't think so and that Mike should take Mimi back, or at least show her the wildflowers growing just around the bend, but then take her home.  Mimi was very irritated.  She wouldn't let a man with his legs taped up and 40 years older tell her she couldn't do it.  So, after he left, she looked at Mike and said, "Let's go."

While passing the wildflowers, there was a rocky point and then forest to go through with more rocks.  It was a small climb up the rocks and it took them to an actual road.  The signs said, "Bear Springs" and "Upper Holy Jim Trail" on the right and nothing for the road on the left.  Mimi thought she would take the Upper Holy Jim Trail.  At about a mile of walking, a man coming down the hill from the towers at the peak pulled over and asked them if they had enough water, as they stood against the wall of the mountain to let them pass.  Mimi and Mike were not positive they did.  The man with the Tower business truck got out of his vehicle and gave them 4 ice cold waters.  He told them to share with anybody who needed it if they didn't drink it all.  He drove off.  They walked in the direction he was headed.

After about 2 miles of walking, according Mike's Smart Watch, and the consistent decline down the mountain, Mike stopped Mimi and said, "We're going the wrong way.  We should be at the peak by now.  We just need to turn around and go home and do this another day or we'll lose light.  We don't have the time and we've wasted our energy on this decline."

It all clicked, the man who gave them water thought they were walking uphill to the peak where the towers were.

Mimi turned around to look up the hill they just walked down.  She wanted to scream.  She began cursing and was mad at herself for the error.  Mike got very annoyed with her negativity.  She swore that if someone were to come up the hill, she would stick her thumb out and hitch a ride up hill to where the fork was.  Nobody came.  Once they got to the top of the road, at the plateau, Mimi pulled out her sandwich to eat.  It tasted nasty and hot.  She drank the rest of her cold water and they headed back to the forest.
Despite the disappointment, Mimi was all smiles.

Before they got to the end of the road, they stopped to take a picture.  Mimi and Mike set up their camera, sat on a rock and took a picture to bid farewell.

While half way down the mountain, a few bikers in white/black uniform came up the mountain.  Mimi said, "You scare me.  I'm afraid you'll hurt yourself," as their wasn't enough space on the path for walkers and bikers at the same time.  Mimi pressed her body against the wall of the mountain and the biker slowed and said, "It isn't me I'm worried about.  I'm worried about you guys.  Have a nice descend down."  He and his cycling partner went up around the curve and then came back down and Mike and Mimi let them pass.

By the time they got to the bottom of the mountain and back into the Cleveland National Forest, the sun was beginning to set.  There were no other people in sight.  Everything was a little darker but the fact they could see all the early landmarks they first saw was a happy moment.  They were closer to their vehicle and closer to home.

All in all, it was a great day to be in the Cleveland National Forest.  Next time, they know to make a left.  Mimi and Mike WILL do this hike again...the right way (more water, and make a left at the divide).

To view more pics, you can check out Mike's photo blog at or check their Facebook page.  See video of where they made the error.


  • Lots of deer flies.  They WILL bite you and follow you.  Wear Deet or some other bug repellant.
  • Lots of water.  Mike and Mimi brought 4 Electrolyte drinks at about 24oz each.  After someone gave them 4 12oz bottles of water, they drank all those, as well.  
  • Trail mix and/or well-balanced lunch.  It's energy-draining walking up many inclines.
  • Camera - take many pics, it's breath-taking.