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Sierra Club Guides Invite Hikers to Whiting Ranch

September 23, 1993|RICK VANDERKNYFF | Rick VanderKnyff is a free-lance writer who regularly contributes to The Times Orange County Edition. and

Since opening a few years back, Whiting Ranch Regional Park, in the hills above Lake Forest, has quickly become known as a mountain biker's park, but hikers, too, have discovered the pleasures of its rock-lined canyons, oak woodlands and brush-covered hillsides.

An opportunity to explore the park on foot, with some knowledgeable guides, arrives Saturday when Jeanne and Alan Williams lead a Sierra Club outing.

The eight-mile hike will begin at Red Rock Canyon and go "up the road and over the top and out of the other exit" before looping back to the entrance, Jeanne Williams said. The hike includes about 1,000 feet of elevation gain.

Hikers are asked to bring two quarts of water, lunch and lug-sole boots. There's no need to make reservations--just meet at the trail head at 8 a.m.

About 20 hikers typically join the regular weekend hikes of the Sierra Sage chapter of the Sierra Club, Williams said. Non-members are welcome to take part in the walks at no charge.

Sierra Sage was formed about a year ago to address the concerns of residents in South Orange County. The chapter is "very environmentally conscious," taking stands on toll road proposals and other development projects.

"On the outings side," Williams said, the goal of the chapter "is to enjoy and to preserve and to teach about the outdoors."

The Whiting Ranch trip was rescheduled from last spring, when the park was still closed because of winter storm damage. The 1,600-acre wilderness park, which opened in early 1992, is set near Trabuco Canyon between Lake Forest Drive and El Toro Road.

Local Sierra Sage outings are fewer in the summer, because of the heat, but will pick up now that fall's here. Upcoming county hikes include a 12-mile trek on the Santiago Truck Trail, on Oct. 23, and a 10-mile walk on the new Lucas Canyon Trail in the San Mateo Wilderness Area, on Nov. 6.

"We mainly walk in the Santa Ana (Mountains) in the winter months, because there are some nice hikes," Williams said. "In the summer, it's too hot."

*

One of the more unusual local running events is coming up Saturday. It's the fourth annual 60-mile relay, organized by the Orange County Marshal's Department Athletic Team. Teams of 10 runners (supported by four cyclists) will compete, running two legs of 3.5 miles, four legs of 5.5 miles, two legs of 7.5 miles and two legs of eight miles.

Organizers say there is still time to sign up teams by phone for the event, which starts at 7 a.m. at Anaheim Stadium. The entry fee for each team is $420. Information: (714) 953-4440.

What: Sierra Sage eight-mile hike.

When: Saturday, Sept. 25, 8 a.m.

Where: Whiting Ranch Regional Park.

Whereabouts: From Interstate 5, exit at Lake Forest Drive and head north. Turn left on Trabuco Road, then right on Bake Parkway. Park at the intersection of Bake and Portola parkways.

Wherewithal: Free.

Where to call: (714) 770-6429.

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