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.


  1. Congrats on getting to Crystal Cove. I'm embarrassed to say I've only been past it. The transition to its being made more public in recent years has been in the papers a fair amount, pushed along by some controversy. But it looks and sounds like they're doing things right. The yellow daisy at the end could be Encelia californica. The brown spires before that are probably some kind of dock. Some are native, some not, but I really enjoy the way they grow. Have a great holiday down in the more temperate part of the state!

  2. I've never been bold enough to taste Toyon berries. You make them sound like they are better than I would have thought. Happy holidays.

  3. that stretch of beach between laguna and newport used to be totally open space. but we are so grateful they were able to protect the beach and land on the west side of pch, and preserve those cottages! did you see the new public campgrounds they are building just to the south? you will have to come back! we have tons of wilderness, trails (a complete "greenbelt" surrounds laguna beach) and outrageous wildflowers and critters!! (not all of us down here have fake boobs, drive suvs and watch fox!)