Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Crystal Cove - Orange County

 This year my family decided to do Thanksgiving the weekend after the fact, and we met in Orange County to celebrate.  My parents were staying in a very nice place near Corona del Mar (view from balcony pictured above) and very close to Crystal Cove State Park.  Walking distance as a matter of fact.  Though I love the Bay Area, every time I go down south, I marvel at how much more comfortable the climate is and how nice (and easy to get to) the beaches are.  So here are pics from two hikes on a beautiful winter day in So Cal.
First I was amazed at how many native plants I saw along the bluffs over the ocean. This area has seen heavy development so it was good to see some familiar plants.  Like artemisia and toyon (lots of toyon), as well as sages and coyote brush.  My dad and I tried a few of the toyon berries, which are supposedly somewhat edible.  Usually they are described as astringent.  I think that is an excellent word.  Many are mealy as well.  I did find one bush right along Highway 1, however, that had sweeter berries.  It tasted citrusy, but can't imagine eating a whole lot.

Not all the familiar plants were a good thing, like this oxalis.  But it was nice to see they are trying to restore the area.
Some of the plants I wasn't familiar with.
 And then in historic Crystal Cove, a small beach village, they had a Christmas tree lighting ceremony.  Nothing like a walk on the beach in December with a Christmas tree to usher in the holidays.  A happy solstice, merry Christmas and happy holidays to all.