Review Category : local hot spots

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My family and I loaded up and headed down to Doheny State beach yesterday for some fun and SUP time. Usually we hit Baby Beach in Dana Point Harbor, because its easier to SUP calm water with a 3 year old on the board. My skills are pretty limited!

But, we got a bit of a late start and didn’t make it down to Dana Point until about 11:30.

As I have mentioned before, our goals on Sunday are pretty modest:

1. Get Outside
2. Be Active
3. Have Some Fun
4. Set a Positive Example for Our Daughter
5. Don’t Get Injured

Pretty simple right? Yesterday, we hit 4 out of 5. We didn’t account for the grumpy kid factor. So, what is the plan when things go south in a hurry?

1. Distract
2. Team Work
3. Distract
4. Stay Calm
5. Execute the Escape Plan

Four of those are easy, and hopefully are second nature if you have a kid or two. Staying calm is probably theist difficult part (yesterday I was on the receiving end of a rock heaved with fantastic accuracy at my knuckles while I wasn’t looking!).

The most difficult part is cutting your losses and executing an escape plan. Really for two reasons, it’s a total bummer to only get a quick 15 minute paddle in and only two hours at the beach after packing and driving for an hour or so; and, the escape plan can be long, difficult, tedious or all three.

Luckily, as I said, we hit Doheny State Beach. Which, if you head south from the main entrance has parking literally 10 feet from the beach.

So when we hit DEFCON 5 and the melt-down was in full swing, it was quick to pack things up, get Audrey in the car and head out.

As a parent, I try to plan outings with feasible escape plans that don’t take too long to execute. However, not every beach is as easy as Doheny. As such keep a look out for a detailed post on planning adventures in the near future. Adequate planning can definitely keep things from getting out of hand (whether you’re outdoors alone or with family and friends).

Have fun out there!

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In California, we are very lucky to have access to a broad range of ecosystems, from coastal plains, to rugged mountains and arid deserts.  These areas provide us with a multitude of opportunities for outdoor recreation.  To go along with these ecosystems we are also lucky to have  seven (!) species of poisonous snakes that call Southern California home.  They are, the Western Diamondback, Sidewinder, Speckled rattlesnake, Red Diamond rattlesnake, Southern Pacific, Great Basin rattlesnake and the Mojave rattlesnake. I have a legitimate snake phobia, so just typing that made my skin crawl and my palms sweaty.  

 
According to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), rattlesnakes are dangerous if provoked; however,  they also provide humans with a valuable service - they eat rodents, other reptiles, and insects, and are in turn eaten by other predators. 
 
Here In California where rattlesnakes are found from sea level up to 10,000 feet, you’re never safe! (Just kidding, sort of).  An essential part of enjoying the outdoors means learning how to avoid contact with rattlesnakes and how to react if you encounter one.  Here are a few tips from the CDFW:
Never go barefoot or wear sandals when walking through wild areas. Wear hiking boots.
When hiking, stick to well-used trails and wear over-the-ankle boots and loose-fitting long pants. Avoid tall grass, weeds and heavy underbrush where snakes may hide during the day.
Do not step or put your hands where you cannot see, and avoid wandering around in the dark. Step ON logs and rocks, never over them, and be especially careful when climbing rocks or gathering firewood for your campsite. Check out stumps or logs before sitting down, and shake out sleeping bags before use.
Never grab “sticks” or “branches” while swimming in lakes and rivers. Rattlesnakes can swim.
Be careful when stepping over the doorstep as well. Snakes like to crawl along the edge of buildings where they are protected on one side.
Never hike alone. Always have someone with you who can assist in an emergency.
 
Do not handle a freshly killed snake, it can still inject venom.
Teach children early to respect snakes and to leave them alone. Children are naturally curious and will pick up snakes.
So what happens if you encounter a snake and the strike?
Stay calm
Wash the bite area gently with soap and water
Remove watches, rings, etc, which may constrict swelling
Immobilize the affected area
Transport safely to the nearest medical facility
If possible, contact a ranger or 911 dispatch to provide them with your location and request assistance.
Chances are a snake encounter will end with it slithering away. So go out and have fun.
Also, be glad we don’t live in Florida, where they have 18 ft pythons living in the wild, O-M-G Yuck (invasive species!).

Hiking, biking OC trails

Have a safe and fun Memorial Day weekend!
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Earth Day comes on April 22 each year; it’s a day to celebrate our planet and support environmental protection. In my opinion, Earth Day should be 365 days a year.  Whatever your opinion, its still an opportunity to celebrate our planet, which is so often taken for granted.  The weather is suppose to be amazing in our SoCal 10 day forecast and I plan to take full advantage of catching some much needed Vitamin D!

There are some great events and activities happening within the next week,

Ragnar Relay Series: April 19-20

It kicked off in Huntington Beach this morning and ends 200+ miles away in San Diego (Embarcadero Marina Park South). Teams of 11 runners (or an Ultra Team of 5) alternate running the 200+ mile distance over a 24-hour period. What I love about this race is that, although seemingly daunting, it’s actually realistic for all classes of runners. Each participant runs three separate legs throughout the race and only ranges from about 3-8 miles! Gather your 10 closest friends and prep yourself for next year. Until then, check out a leg of the race and the colorful costumes and upbeat participants will surely entertain you. Runners love to run!

http://www.ragnarrelay.com/race/southerncalifornia/

 

BDR Earth Day Family Fun Run, April 22

Bolsa Chica State Beach

With late morning start time, this race is great for those of us that may not be early birds, want to eat a casual breakfast, or just have a wild toddler to chase and attempt to clothe.

http://www.active.com/5k-race/huntington-beach-ca-ca/bdr-earth-day-family-fun-run-2012

Orangeman Salt Creek Half Marathon 10k/5k

Salt Creek

There’s nothing better than to run with a nice ocean view. This race runs along the Salt Creek Regional Corridor Trail and will surely satisfy your need for a great work out while enjoying mother natures true beauty.

http://goforwardracing.com/salt-creek-half-marathon-5k10k-1k-kids-run

Wine Festival April 19-20

Tickets can be purchased at the site below. Beginning in Laguna Beach this evening, be wined and dined with rare wines and others that are no longer in distribution. Move onto a full afternoon at Doheny State Park on Saturday.

http://www.californiawinefestival.com/eventschedule.html

Citrus Fair La Habra, April 18-21

This fair will surely have something for every member of the family; stage performances, contests, food, and activities for the kiddos.

http://www.citrusfair.com

Pet Expo OC Fair and Event Center, April 19-21

Check out this giant expo for your pet and pet products. They have a great variety of activities scheduled, sure to entertain the whole family. Please, leave fiddo (and all other pets) at home. There will be plenty of animal interaction, and lovely pets available for adoption at the expo!

http://www.petexpooc.com

Plant & Garden Show, Fullerton Arboretum April 20-21

A perfect opportunity to kick-start spring and beautify your garden! Maybe add a new variety, or learn about organic gardening. Even if you don’t have a green thumb, there’s something for everyone.

http://fullertonarboretum.org/event_green.php

Door Open to public, 10:00am-4:00pm

Day at Pretend City, April 22

Ok, not technically out side, but it’ll be a great learning experience for the kiddos!

http://anaheimoc.org/calendar-of-events/155404/earth-day-pretend-city

Volunteer, Anywhere, Everywhere, Anytime

http://www.oneoc.org/get-involved/days-of-service/earth-day/

Check out this website, it has a great list of multiple volunteer opportunities.

Check out more events all over Southern California:

http://www.calrecycle.ca.gov/PublicEd/EarthDay/Events/#LosAngeles

I hope that at least on of these events inspires you to get outdoors, enjoy some exercise and time with the family this weekend and don’t forget celebrate our planet!

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Taxes in California are high; however, there is an advantage to paying large tax bills: the Orange County Parks and Recreation department puts on fantastic outdoor activities for free or very low cost ($5.00 and under!).  Most Thursdays at 8:30 there is a Fitness Hike departing one of the OC Parks or Open Spaces.  These hikes are generally 3-7 miles in length and on strenuous terrain.  For beginning hikers, check out the beginner or advanced fitness hikes every other Tuesday.

Looking for something a little more tame? Or are you excited about getting the kiddos out with you?  Opt for the more relaxed Nature Walk at O’Neil Regional Park or the 5 Senses of Nature Park at Carbon Canyon – both occurring most Saturdays (the 5 Senses walk is held twice every Saturday, at 9:30 and 1:00.  The 5 Senses Hike features Redwoods (yep, we have Redwoods in SoCal).

Looking to wind down in nature at the end of a long day?  Make time for the Ranger-hosted campfire program at O’Neil Regional Park or Ronald W. Caspers Regional Park.

As my family and I try these out over the next few weeks, I will update with reviews and pictures.  For a full schedule of outdoor activities visit the OC Parks website here:

 

http://ocparks.com/events

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