Slowly walking along a meandering trail is a great way to shed away the day’s stresses. On Thursday, you can join a unique nature walk in OC Parks’ Black Star Canyon Wilderness Park that not only takes a slower pace, but also focuses on quiet enjoyment of nature’s noises. Take in the beauty of local wilderness while watching for soaring red-trailed hawks, listening to bird calls and inhaling the fragrance of the trailside sage plants during the “Shhh… Hike, Look and Listen” hike. This monthly activity is designed to give participants the opportunity to hike quietly and meditatively while taking in the sounds of nature.
Baker Canyon is also a great place to see the various habitats of the area all converge in one place. The docent-led hike will take place along a riparian, or dry river bed habitat, but is adjacent to a north-facing slope that gives way to coastal sage scrub and chaparral habitats, all visible from the trail.
The narrow single-track trail sometimes winds through areas of thick foliage, making it difficult to see very far ahead, giving the area a kind of “secret garden” feel that is ideal for a contemplative hike. The tall foliage and winding trail make it an adventure to discover what might be around the next bend.
The hike will begin at 6 pm and end just as the sun is setting before 8 pm, making it a great opportunity to see Baker Canyon in the dramatic crepuscular, or twilight lighting that photographers call “magic hour.” Twilight is the perfect time to try to observe active wildlife, as the diurnal (active during the day) animals make their way to nests and dens for the night and the nocturnal (active during the night) animals begin to emerge and look for food. This “changing of the guard” presents many opportunities to catch the diverse sounds that reverberate throughout the canyon.
Participants are likely to hear raptors circling overhead, song birds sing to each other as they settle into nests, owls hooting while out on the prowl and coyotes howling to each other as they coordinate the evening’s hunt. While the hike’s title might imply that this is a quiet hike, that’s mostly to suggest that if you stay quiet, look and listen, you will be amazed at the chorus of natural sounds that greets you.
This activity is free, and pre-registration is required. Participants are encouraged to wear sturdy shoes and comfortable clothing and be prepared for cooler evening temperatures in the canyon. Bring water and a flashlight for this tranquil two-hour evening program. Click here to register for this month’s hike. If you can’t make it this month, there will be another “Shhh… Hike, Look and Listen” activity in Baker Canyon on June 18. You can click here to register for that activity. Visit www.LetsGoOutside.org/activities to find out more information about other offered programs.