The South Coast Wilderness Running, Hiking, and Biking Trails Are Incredible
The other afternoon, Aaron and I were working on some projects at the firm when I told him I needed to take a break; to get up, stretch my legs, and maybe run out to Starbucks and get an iced tea or something so I could regroup and start fresh. He mentioned that he had been researching different places we should visit in the surrounding area and one of the things on his list: the South Coast Wilderness trails. You can basically hike or bike this part of Southern California, taking in nature as you exercise and/or clear your head. I was game so we headed up into the hills, got our drinks at the Starbucks in Newport Coast, and made our way to one of the entrances he had spotted on Google Maps.
We weren’t prepared for what we found. Spectacular doesn’t even begin to describe it. We went back, again, another day to take more pictures but this is absolutely going to become part of our lives, just like taking time out to sit on the beach needs to be, especially when we have kids. We need to get a bike rack for our car, a couple of bikes, and make it a regular priority to get out and get into nature. The park system itself is huge. When you enter, there is a sign and a map that shows you where you can go:
If you head to the right, you can make your way towards the beach at Crystal Cove State Park. Let’s go that way first. If you start to walk, then look back behind you, this is what you see …
… Okay, now to the ocean side …
Those trails go on and on … one guy had a walking stick, another guy was on his bike. The scent was incredible from the flowers blooming. I’m still not used to being able to look up and see water on the horizon but there it is.
Here is a video to give you a better idea of the entrance view toward this particular part of the trail.
If, on the other hand, you had decided to go left upon entering, you would see the cities of Orange County nestled under the mountains … Irvine, Tustin, Costa Mesa, etc.
As we were taking in the sight, we spotted a UPS truck making its way down the road in front of us. That made us happy because we own shares of the freight company. Keep those dividends rolling!
It looks like something out of a movie or Photoshop but this is a completely untouched picture from nothing but an iPhone. I picked up the phone, pointed it, and pressed the button. That’s it.
Again, to help you better understand the layout, here is a video to give you an idea of what we were seeing …
There are other spaces up in Newport Coast, too … soccer fields, baseball fields, playgrounds, picnic tables …
There are also park benches at various points through both the public and private parks for people to sit and take in nature. Many of these look like perfect reading spots to me.
Another thing that is astonishing to see is that not only do the flowers and shrubs bloom, but many of the trees that developers chose for the landscaping are every bit as stunning. These trees explode with red flowers …
… and I haven’t, yet, become accustomed to seeing citrus fruit – lemons and limes – growing on trees as we drive down a street. It’s strange. It’s so beautiful it feels almost like it can’t be real. I sit here and some part of my brain almost refuses to accept it because it is so radically different from everything I’ve ever known.
Speaking of lemon and lime trees, that reminded me. A few weeks ago during the winter, it snowed on the mountains in the distance so whenever we would go out and run errands, this is what we saw …
… and today, when we ran out to get lunch? I cannot even convey how amazing the weather was. Pictures do not do it justice.
During the hike through the trails, Aaron and I pretty much decided right then and there that we’ll probably spend the rest of our lives and careers in Newport Beach or the surrounding area absent some major change in climate or socioeconomic factors that make it less than the paradise it presently is. We will gladly pay whatever cost is necessary to live here. We will not complain about the real estate prices as the intrinsic value of what we are getting in terms of personal utility is so much bigger than we realized. We aren’t sure, where, specifically, we will end up in terms of specific property as we still aren’t familiar with individual school districts, neighborhoods, city councils, etc., but this corner of the world is where we want to be. It’s also fantastic for the firm because it is home to one of the largest concentrations of finance-related human capital in the United States. Plus, down the road if we want to recruit people, it’s going to be a lot easier to get them to move here.
Frankly, we should have moved here ten years ago.
You have to visit. If you have a chance, you should stay at the Resort at Pelican Hill. Aaron and I sometimes go up there to grab a bite to eat and the views are amazing so it will give you an idea for the feel of the place.
Okay, let me geek out about one more thing. The other day we headed back over to Roger’s Gardens and they had changed the plants out for the season. These rows and rows of plants? That is just part of the rose selection. There are more behind me and on the opposite side of the sidewalk. The weather is so perfect you can pretty much grow any rose you want here! Roses that we couldn’t even hope to grow in Missouri because of the climate! And not just roses, pretty much anything you want. It’s hard to contain my excitement about this. Ultimately, I want a good-sized plot of land because I am going to garden so hard you can’t even handle it. Or maybe you can. Maybe you get why this makes me so happy.
Oh! And the restaurants! A lot of them have their fish delivered daily. Or they bake their stuff from scratch daily. There is a coffee shop that actually roasts its own coffee right there in the store so you can see and smell it; the beans come from farmers around the world that the owner has personally selected as a source. And the public library? It’s always hosting one thing or another – the next big event is an opera night.
I love this city so much. I love Irvine next door, too. I need to write about the cool businesses we’ve been visiting over there. They have a place that sells Korean lunch boxes. And this awesome tea store. There are so many video game companies in the area that I could see myself wanting to buy or back one a decade from now as a personal side project when it won’t potentially be a distraction.
Despite the enormous effort, and the considerable cost, of moving our lives and business roughly 1,700 miles across the continent, this was one of the best decisions we’ve ever made. Like I said, we should have done it ten years ago. To put it into perspective – and I mean this literally, not as hyperbole: Aaron and I were talking and both agreed that if someone offered us $30,000,000 after taxes to move back to Missouri for the rest of our lives we’d turn it down in a heartbeat. It wouldn’t be a hard choice or something we’d have to ponder. There would be no second-guessing ourselves or agonizing over it. We already have enough money to live how we want but nothing could replace this. Do you know how many varieties of apples they have here? Of oranges? There are fruits that we didn’t even know existed.
I hope that each and every one of you finds wherever it is in your life that makes you feel this way. If it’s up in some snow-bound mountain or a major city, on a large plot of land in the middle of a place like Wyoming with no one around for miles or an old-school Georgian mansion in the South, I want that for you. If it’s a cornfield in the middle of Iowa, fantastic. I want you to know what this feels like.