Contact Us


Rancho Ortega Blog discusses matters of public interest in South Orange County, including the communities of San Juan Capistrano, Ladera Ranch and Rancho Mission Viejo.

The writings of Don Juan Ortega on the Rancho Ortega Blog are the personal views of the author. This blog is not authored by nor does it have any affiliation whatsoever with any other person, place or entity using the name "Rancho Ortega" (or any similar name).

We have installed some new anti-spam software, and we are going to try again with open registration. Registration and sign-in information are available at the bottom of the far right column. As always, if you have any questions or concerns, you may email us at



A Topographical View of Planning Area 2

Google Maps has a cool new feature where you can tilt the map and get a topographical view of an area. We decided to have some fun and lay the boundaries for Planning Area 2 over a topographical map of the region. Below is the result — note the boundaries aren’t perfect. We were just [...]

Save the Date for “An Evening of Conversation with Judge Richard Egan and Madame Helena Modjeska”

In what sounds like a unique and fascinating performance, the San Juan Capistrano Historical Society is staging a dramatic conversation with local historical figures Judge Richard Egan and Madame Helena Modjeska. Egan will be portrayed by local resident Judge Warren Siegel and the actress Modjeska will be played by local actress Jessica Morrow. The interview [...]

The Shadows of Old Saddleback: A Book Review of Sorts, Eighty Years Too Late

You might have guessed that Don Juan Ortega fancies himself a bit of an amateur Orange County history buff, but he also acknowledges that no one can truly claim amateur historian status in Orange County unless they have read a copy of Terry Stephenson’s venerable “The Shadows of Old Saddleback: From the Day of the [...]

An Alpine Ascent in Orange County

Are there any frustrated Orange County mountaineers out there, looking for an icy peak to summit? If so, a rare opportunity may be right around the corner. A winter storm with origins in the Gulf of Alaska is heading south, and threatens to bring cold temperatures and precipitation to Orange County over the next couple [...]

Step by Step Instructions for Summiting Saddleback

Orange County Register columnist David Whiting has published a detailed article that will be a great resource for anyone who lists climbing Saddleback as one of their New Year’s resolutions.

Complete Guide to Summiting Saddleback

Saddleback Mountain with Lake Rancho Santa Margarita in the foreground (image credit: Wikipedia)