Mari and I walk three days a week and bike ride three days a week. Mari usually likes to go on trails and to be in nature. I like to be in nature, but I am more into walking on concrete sidewalks. We choose our walk from "Map My Walk" On our walk on Tuesday, Mari took me on a walk through O'Neill Regional Park. O'Neill is a multi use park that is located in the foothills of the Santa Ana Mountains.
On July 23, 1769, Gaspar de Portola led an expedition through what is now Orange County and camped a few miles east of the San Juan Capistrano area. On July 24, 1769, the expedition headed inland to avoid the streams and swamps in the area. They found a large plateau area and camped that night on its western edge by a canyon which the Franciscans named San Francisco Solano. This was on the eastern side of Trabuco Creek about three miles downstream from the present Trabuco Oaks. Legend says that while the Portola party camped here on July 24-25, one of the soldiers lost his musket or "Trabuco". To mark this loss, the stream was named Trabuco. The name has been associated with the mesa, the canyon and the entire area ever since. Most of O'Neill Park was part of the old Rancho Trabuco. The first two square leagues were granted to Santiago Arguello in 1841 by Mexican Governor Alvarado. Arguello sold these lands to Juan Forester in 1843. Forester received an additional grant of three square leagues in 1846. Forester sold the Rancho to F.L.S. Pioche before 1880. Many others held title, but the ranch eventually became the property of James L. Flood and Richard O'Neill Sr. The two were owners of one of Forester's other ranchos, Santa Margarita y las Flores. Thus it became part of the great O'Neil Ranch. Under the O'Neill family leadership, the ranch flourished. The agricultural operations were greatly expanded and the ranch became home to Orange County's largest wheat field. The ranching operations were also greatly expanded and the cowherd grew to over 15,000 head.
In 1948, the O'Neill's donated 278 acres of canyon bottom land to the County of Orange for park purposes. The O'Neill family donated an additional 120 acres in 1963. In March of 1974, the county purchased 232 acres of land along the park's northern boundary. This acquisition prompted the purchase in 1975 of 30 acres along Live Oak Canyon Road for access onto the new property. On October 5, 1982, 935 acres, known as the Arroyo Trabuco were dedicated to the County by the Rancho Mission Viejo Company. The Arroyo Trabuco area is n ow open to public use. The Ramakrishna Monaster wishing to preserve native habitat, also gave property to the park.
The park today encompasses 3800 acres. The topography and appearance varies greatly with canyon bottom land, oak woodlands, grassy meadows and coastal sage covered hillsides and slopes.
These are some pictures taken during our walk:
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