With a little research on the interwebz, we found O’Neill Regional Park, a nice little county park that would fit Bighaus, dry camping with water hookup for $20 a night. Not too bad overall, and yet another time we’re grateful for having put the investment into the solar panels.
It’s amazing that the county was able to carve out this small chunk for a park right in the middle of civilization, yet it feels completely removed from the suburban sprawl.
While you’re watching horses gallop past and the deer grazing on the scrub in Trabuco Creek, you’d never know that Walmart is a mile away as the crow flies. The only reminder is the flow of motorcycle and sport car traffic on the weekends enjoying the curves of the windy canyon road outside the park. Lots of acorn woodpeckers, happy little songbirds and ground squirrels make for a pleasant distraction and watching them makes the time fly by.
During the week, the campground is quiet as can be, with only a handful of the campsites occupied. Not so on the weekend! Both weekends we were there, the ‘Campground Full’ sign was at the front gate, and kids, traffic and noisy generators were everywhere. I guess that’s the price you pay when you put an oasis in the middle of the city.
Another huge plus on the location is that is borders the Cleveland National Forest, and virtually unlimited hiking opportunities. If you’re going to go hike, why not do it in a canyon named after yourself – the Holy Jim trail! This is an easy short hike to a small waterfall, and is the same trail in Trabuco Canyon that the missing Orange County hikers were lost in, big news all over the TV. We could hear the helicopters and sirens all day and night as they searched for the missing kids, only to be found four days later only a half mile from their car – dazed and confused. Build it and they will come, it doesn’t mean that they will come prepared though!
The O.C. was nice to visit and the campground worked well in pinch, but we’re both happy to be packing up and headed north to Morro Bay and Pismo Beach as we continue our journey north.