Take A Walk On The Wild Side
The name ‘Newport Beach’ connotes the glitz and glamour of a modern city that lines the gleaming waters of an idyllic stretch of California coastline. You can easily imagine yourself drinking a cappuccino on a café patio in sun-kissed climate, shopping a myriad of boutiques and specialty stores that you’d be hard-pressed to find elsewhere, or testing your palate on a new culinary creation by world-class epicurean master who lords over a fine-dining mecca in town. Locals and visitors alike, who eat, drink, shop, and play in Newport Beach, expect as much, and they recognize this town’s privileged diversity within its small borders.
But another Newport Beach coexists alongside the one you know or would expect; it is less gentrified, a little more country, and surprisingly, a bit wild. Before the mass urbanization of recent decades that made Newport a shiny seaside pearl of Orange County, the city was a fishing town, and further inland, an untamed frontier. To this day, Upper Newport Bay remains the region’s natural treasure; it serves as an ideal hub for outdoor enthusiasts as well as the active community.
Now, I consider myself a relatively fit person, being now two months into daily barre workouts, but the Back Bay Loop Trail, a 10.5-mile behemoth of a curved and convoluted wreath, feels to me a bit more like a yearlong quest through Middle Earth to destroy the One Ring. But you can’t beat the view! It is not for the faint-hearted but surely for the deserving: the trail offers scenic glimpses into a native California past, with opportunity to see unperturbed wildlife and indigenous plants found only where the desert meets the sea. Your fellow trailblazers are cyclists, hikers, dog-lovers, and on rare occasion, horseback riders, remnants of a bygone era that so markedly characterize California’s Wild West heritage. The promise of this trail is to see Newport as you’ve never seen it before; it is an escape within an escape, a breath of fresh air, and an opportunity to connect with your surroundings. When I work out, I am mostly fixated on the pain and nothing else; here’s to a healthy distraction by taking the scenic route!