Water Tank Trail


I’d been laid up in bed with “flu-like symptoms” for nearly 72 hours, so when I woke up this morning feeling half way decent I knew I wanted to get out on the trail. I had to drive Ann and Lucy to Anaheim for a dance convention by 8:00 AM and I needed to be back in Anaheim to pick them up by 2:30 PM. I figured that’d give me more than enough time to get out to Laguna Coast Wilderness Park and put some miles down. I have hiked Laguna Coast many times but before today, and usually due to time constraints, I had yet to hike anywhere on those trails near to or overlooking the ocean. Today would be the day.

When I pulled into the Willow Canyon parking lot, it was already filling up with other hikers and I had a good buzz of pre-hike excitement pumping through me but then the damn parking permit machine would not read any of my credit cards and I had no cash. I nearly panicked. I was in no mood to get back in my car and drive who knows how many miles to an ATM Machine. A few hikers behind me started making noises in their throats as I retried each credit card over and over. Finally, I gave up, went back to my car and sat there and pouted for awhile. Then I decided to instead of driving to an ATM Machine, to drive to one of the other Laguna Coast parking lots and try their permit machine. Bingo! I got my permit at the James Dilley Preserve and then jumped in the car and sped back to Willow Canyon. The lesson, I don’t know how many times I have to learn this one, always have cash!

I hiked up Willow Canyon Road Trail to the Bommer Ridge Trail. I moved along Bommer Ridge until I saw a more difficult trail to my right. I checked my map and saw that it was the Old Emerald Trail and that it connected to the Emerald Canyon Road Trail which seemed to end at or near the ocean. I took it. This was a great hike and I thoroughly enjoyed every second of it until it came to an end at a chain link fence, plastered with “No Trespassing” signs around some sort of maintenance lot in front of tennis courts at the base of some homes. Not the payoff I was looking for.

I had my heart set on seeing the ocean today and so I turned around and moved quickly back the way I came. Up Emerald Canyon Road, up Old Emerald Trail and back onto Bommer Ridge. I moved along the ridge and chose to take the Water Tank Trail towards the Pacific. It worked out perfectly. I got out there, ate my lunch (always PB&J) and snapped this photo. After soaking it in for a bit, I turned around, headed back to the car and was back in Anaheim to pick up the girls with time to spare.