As I mentioned in my previous post on Springtime in Irvine Regional, the park has seen some substantial flooding thanks to the wonderful amounts of rain we got this winter. It’s been about a month since I last ventured into the park, and there have been some big changes since I last visited.
The flooding is still substantial in the back end of the park, with many of the smaller trails flooded and parts of the larger trails. Willows Trail and its smaller branches are completely underwater, and are currently closed, which is a shame as they are the trails that get you closer to the interior of the park. Trails linking to Roadrunner Loop are also closed due to the water.
Horseshoe Loop, while beautiful right now, it is COVERED in flowers and cactus… as in the trail is practically impassable at some points due to the cactus and sage overgrowth (at least on the north side). I found myself having to go around patches of cactus at several points, making the fact I was ponying my mare, Bee, a nightmare at times, as I was trying to keep both her and Kitty safe from the spiky growth. Until they get this cleaned up, I would avoid this part of Horseshoe Loop, even if you’re just hiking.
On the bright side, The mustard seed flowers have come in HUGE this year. In some spaces the plants are taller than horse and rider making for some great photo opportunities and a new experience riding on the larger trails. The wild sage is also blooming and smells fantastic. The tadpoles from the last springtime post have officially become small frogs and are everywhere along the water’s edge. Not only are the tiny frogs adorable, they make for some pretty background noise on the trails. Plenty of waterfowl out in the park enjoying the lake. I spotted a ruddy duck with its very distinct blue bill swimming out towards the center.
If you can, bring a camera along with some zoom features, the iPhone didn’t cut it on this last trip out, which just means I’ll have to go again… damn.