The event page in Facebook says hiking at the beach of Crystal Cove State Park and I could not pass it up when water is involved even if it takes me a long drive there. Our meeting place was in El Moro Visitor Center at 8471 N Pacific Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach, CA 92651 at 6 AM. I almost got lost just trying to avoid the toll roads which I finally found out how to set Google maps after the fact.
A total of 33 hikers met for this exciting adventure that Ricardo Cruz and Maglory Maza of (3H) Hiking for Health and Happiness prepared for us. We are also joined by their grandkids, Christopher and Ruby Barragan who are 8 and 9 years old respectively.
A $15 parking fee is required to park here. We left our beach stuff in Sergio Cruz’s SUV while Luz Cruz, Sergio and Dora Cruz’s daughter, showed us were to park for free at the top near highway 73. She then drove us back down to El Moro Visitor Center.
We started our hike around 7 AM at the trailhead going up of Moro Canyon. The view was amazing looking at the beach from up above. Halfway of the trail, we cut across heading east but going downwards. We warned other hikers behind us that there are a lot of cactus along the trail.
As we reached the bottom, we took a short break, had some snacks, and took some photos. Normie Chanes then tells me we should go back up because they will take photos of us with the Spartan banner. Normie did her 2nd Spartan race earlier in San Francisco while I will be doing mine in July 16th. We both become teammates by September 17th of this year.
After that short break, we turned left on Moro Ridge trail going up. We encountered several bikers along the way. We gave them the right of way with an applause and the groups hand wave. It was fun. There are not a lot shaded places as it was mostly open areas. Luckily, the weather was cooperative with the cool ocean breeze and the clouds above.
At the top, we took a short stop. I took a bathroom break when Gerardo Perez says ,”Snake”. Of course, he was joking. I was hesitant at first going out there. Luckily, I have not seen a snake this year yet during my hikes which I am not wishing for it. We turned left on the Missing Link trail for less than a mile and another left that made our descent back to Moro Canyon trail. At that area, a gnarly hill awaits us. We encountered what most people call it the Elevator but runners prefer to call it the Wall. Whatever you may call it, it was very steep. A few hikers fell and slid but nothing bad became of it.
After 11.2 miles of hiking, we got back at the beginning of the trail and did the traditional line up and congratulate all hikers with a hi-five. Got back to the parking lot where we set up our lunch party. Thanks to Beatriz Ceballos who brought some amazing tamales in 3 different kinds (Pork, Chicken, and Cheese with Jalapenos). They were really delicious. Thanks also to Karen Leigh who brought cold beers. Some brought a variety of prepared fruits and other drinks. We were stuffed. 🙂
We rested for awhile for the food to sunk in and headed to the beach. The clouds hovered of us as it was overcast. Ralph Mancia, Ramon Hortega, Gerardo, and myself attempted to swim but the waves are too huge. Gerardo went in successfully while I tried and got pulled in a few times in the ocean and pushed me back to the beach area. The rest of the group played volleyball.
They had a lot of fun. Who won … everybody did. 🙂 Also a shout out to Chris and Ruby for completing their first long hike. They are our future hiking leaders. As our day comes to a close, we said our goodbyes and thanked everyone for an awesome day.