While we don’t have groundhogs in Orange County, we still watch to see if Punxsutawney Phil predicts six more weeks of winter, and some people have made it a tradition to watch the movie Groundhog Day every year to commemorate the holiday. The combination of these two American culture references have coined the phrase “like Groundhog Day” to mean something that you know is going to happen because it has happened before, over and over.
Repeating the past eventually worked out in the movie, and predictability isn’t always such a bad thing. For instance, when it comes to finding time for recreation or volunteer activities, knowing that an opportunity comes around regularly can make it easier to fit it into your schedule.
Here are some weekly and monthly activities happening this week. Choose a few that look interesting, and then you can register for more after trying them out. The links below will take you to the registration page for the next upcoming session of that activity. Pre-registration is required for most activities,
Yoga and Zumba: Skip the indoor class and head into nature for your workout! Zumba is held weekly in a variety of beautiful locations, and there is a Yoga class held weekly in City of Irvine’s Bommer Canyon. For a slightly different twist, try the bi-weekly Yiking class, which combines yoga and hiking.
Fitness Hikes: There are fitness hikes nearly every day of the week on Hicks Haul Road, a wide, paved hiking path through coastal sage scrub habitat. There are after-work evening hikes on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays that take visitors up and back along a gradually-sloped route of about 3 miles. The Tuesday morning hike allows visitors to choose a 3, 6 or 8 mile route.
Weekday Distance Hikes: If you’re free on weekday mornings and want to explore vast sections of the Landmarks, there are weekly hikes in various scenic locations. For the Mid-Week Hike and Morning Nature Hike, the distance and difficulty levels vary by location, usually a level 3-4 difficulty, based on a distance of 7-12 miles. Check each individual session’s activity listing for details.
Volunteer at the Farm: The Native Seed Farm is the starting point for most of the large-scale habitat restoration activities performed on the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks. Winter is the time for planting local native species, and you can help get these plants started each week, by volunteering for the Four Seasons at the Native Seed Farm activities on Wednesday or Saturday mornings.
Down by the Sea: If you want to spend your weekends on the water or learning about marine life, there are weekly activities that have you covered. Visitors of all ages are welcome to join City of Newport Beach staff for Community Days at the Back Bay Science Center and learn about tidepools, sea creatures, estuary birds and more. You can also participate in a Kayak Tour on Saturday or Sunday at Upper Newport Bay.
Wilderness Access Days: Twice each month, you can explore locations in the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks on your own, with trained volunteers there to help you choose your route. There is a Wilderness Access Day each month in Bommer Canyon, and each month in either OC Parks’ Black Star Canyon or Limestone Canyon. There is also a naturalist-led walk during each Wilderness Access Day, and the next two are February 7 and February 21.
Volunteer for Habitat Restoration: It’s easy to help support the health of the beautiful landscapes in the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks, with monthly volunteer opportunities. Do you have a favorite hiking spot that you would like to help? There are monthly activities in Limestone Canyon, Bommer Canyon, Quail Hill, Big Canyon, Buck Gully Reserve, Crystal Cove, Peters Canyon Regional Park and Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve. If you just want to make it a habit to give back once a month, there are plenty of stewardship volunteer activities for you to choose from, happening on various days of the week, including regular events at Dripping Springs in Limestone Canyon.
Explore Under a Full Moon: Each month, on or around the day of the full moon, there are activities across the Landmarks to enjoy. People are always surprised by how quickly their eyes adjust to the light of the moon, but flashlights are also an option. Full moon hikes are held in Black Star Canyon, Bommer Canyon and Limestone Canyon, and there is often a full moon mountain bike ride as well. Spots for these hikes fill quickly, so you may need to look ahead a couple months to start your monthly full moon hike habit.