Valido and Toovet Trails to Aliso Peak… and Beyond!

Good evening everyone! This past weekend was fairly uneventful in my hiking world. I was road-tripping, socializing with friends in Northern California, and expanding my social comfort zone.

I got back to Orange County Sunday night, and decided to use my Monday holiday (yay, Presidents Day!) to do a short hike in Laguna Beach to Aliso Peak to continue building the callus above my heel.

The weather was a ridiculous 80-90 degrees outside, but I set out with my sweat wicking gear, my Tilley Hat, and an adventurous spirit.

I met with a friend I hadn’t seen in a while at the trailhead around noon off of West Street and Paseo Del Sur. From there, we began our ascent immediately into the wooded areas, the base of the hill.

The first quarter-mile or so is a calm trot, crossing a stream, underneath plenty of shade. After that, however, start the steps and steep, winding trail: fully exposed to the sun. My buddy needed to stop a few times, which was probably good pacing for me since I was training in such hot temperatures.

At the trail junction, we headed up the Toovet Trail to summit Aliso Peak. I’ve summitted this peak multiple times, generally at sunset, and the views are amazing. Sunday, however, I saw a thick smog layer across the ocean. This upset me, reminding me why I like hiking further away from cities, but I appreciated the view I had.

Smog Layer off Aliso Peak
Smog Layer off Aliso Peak

After some meditation, foot drying, and rehydration, my buddy said farewell, and I continued on down the peak, past the trail junction, onward. I headed along the steep Aliso Summit Trail, trying to catch up with the people who left Aliso Peak before I did. I didn’t catch them, but made kind exchanges with people resting along the way. One lady and her daughter even stopped to say that I looked prepared! Amen! I’m a hiking man!

Use Molefoam to help with blisters!
Use Molefoam to help with blisters!

Once I reached the top of the ridge, I came upon rest spots with trash cans, tables, and houses. Augh! Civilization! The trail didn’t look too exciting beyond this point, so I took a rest, aired out my feet, and ate lunch. The rest was well earned, and the blister area above my heel was hurting, so I knew it was time to turn around.

Coming back down, I snagged an awesome shot of the San Gabriel ridgeline behind the Saddleback Mountain ridgeline. It looked so close, the only barrier being outstretches of civilization. Soon enough, I’ll be on a trail with nothing but valleys, lakes, and bears, (oh my!) between mountain ranges.

Taking it all in :)
Taking it all in 🙂

The way down was much quicker than the ascent. I checked out a lower viewpoint below Aliso Peak, and made my way down. I’m starting to get a hang of my trekking poles, and I’m getting more in tune with my body. The sweat was pouring, and I got a well-earned sleep, for a well-traveled hike.

Thanks for joining me on this journey. I’ll be in touch with you all soon!

Take a hike and spice up your life!

-Doug

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