The coyote, according to Mexican folklore, is a mischievous trickster who’s usually trying to pull one over on other animals. His lack of wisdom is usually getting him into trouble, while his cleverness and cunning are usually getting him back out. For Native Americans, myths and tales about the coyote can vary widely. He is sometimes a revered cultural hero who teaches and helps humans, and sometimes a sort of antihero who demonstrates the dangers of negative behaviors like greed, recklessness and arrogance. Two upcoming nature walks aim to entertain and enlighten with tales about the coyote, along with other native animals and plants, with folklore tales presented in both English and Spanish by bilingual docents.
The activity is part of an ongoing series of outdoor experiences that explore how different cultures celebrate nature. The goal of the “Celebrate Cultures in Nature” series is to acknowledge and celebrate the cultural diversity found in Orange County while connecting people to local open spaces, sometimes in multiple languages.
The hike will take place at a slow pace while participants smell the summer evening air in the canyon and look and listen for sights and sounds of local wildlife. It will climb on a paved trail toward Loma Ridge—which looks out over sweeping views of urban Orange County and the Pacific Ocean while the sun begins to set. Beginning at 6 p.m. and ending at 7:30 p.m., this hike is a great opportunity to be on the lookout for animals as the canyon’s diurnal creatures find shelter for the night and the nocturnal creatures emerge.
Another upcoming hike, Caminata Familiar al Coñón/Family Hike to the Canyon, will also regale hikers with tales from various cultures in both English and Spanish. This bilingual adventure, on Sunday, August 16, will focus more on local plant life, and the many ways plants were used by indigenous peoples.
There were two Native American tribes that called this area home—the Acjachemens and Tongvas. Each of these tribes utilized local plants as food, medicine, shelter, tools and for spiritual purposes. Plants in the sage family, for example, were used by these tribes in many aspects of daily life. The California sagebrush (Artemisia californica), sometimes called “cowboy cologne,” was used as cleanser and a way to hide unpleasant odors. White sage (Salva apiana) was used, and still is, in spiritual ceremonies as a means of cleansing the spirit. Black sage (Salvia mellifera) was used by native peoples as a spice for food and is still used as a garnish for a variety of modern dishes. The chia (Salvia hispanica), another member of the sage family, was used by Native Americans as a power food. A handful of seeds could sustain a horseback rider with enough energy for hours of active riding. Chia seeds, and their energy-giving properties, find their way into power smoothies and milkshakes today.
This 2-mile evening hike is another great opportunity to enjoy OC Parks’ Limestone Canyon Nature Preserve while the sun sets to the west. The hike begins at 6 p.m. and will conclude at 7:30 p.m.
Both of these bilingual hikes will take place on 2 miles of paved trails in OC Parks’ Limestone Canyon Nature Preserve. Strollers are welcome. Please wear comfortable clothes and sturdy shoes.
To learn more about these bilingual interpretive hikes, and a variety of other offered programs within the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks, visit www.LetsGoOutside.org/activities. Most programs are free and require pre-registration.