A gate across a two-lane road heading downward through the hills.

I’ve been looking through photos from back when we could, you know, go places and found a set from the hills above North Tustin during a year that we got enough rain to turn the hills green. There were some really clear shots of Peters Canyon, Saddleback, and even some south Orange County hills that I couldn’t identify. There was a spot that I remember being a turn-out that’s finally eroded away to the point that it’s been fenced off.

And there was this gate, which I think might have been across the road to Camp Myford, a Boy Scout camp on the Irvine Ranch that closed back in the late 1980s. I remember working as a camp counselor for a Cub Scout day camp during the last month — possibly the last week — it remained operating, before the bulldozers came in.

I remember lots of eucalyptus trees, hiking trails and dirt roads, a couple of buildings (though I couldn’t tell you what was in them), a fire ring, and a whole lot of giant pipes that were going to become the sewers and storm drains of the housing tract that was going to be built any moment now. And I remember being told in no uncertain terms that we were supposed to watch our language around the impressionable younger boys (who were, of course, a lot more foul-mouthed than we were).

And I found this article from the Tustin Area Historical Society, summarizing the history of the canyon as far back as the Mexican Rancho system, when it was named Cañon de las Ranas (Canyon of the Frogs) because it drained into the Newport Back Bay, known then as the Marsh of the Frogs.

Old photo of Camp Myford gate and sign over a dirt road.Peters Canyon was once Canyon of the Frogs
Camp Myford, an Irvine Co. gift to the Orange County Council Boy Scouts of America, was named for James Irvine’s youngest son. Peter’s Canyon Regional Park offers a well-used oasis of wilderness amid the sprawl of development in the North Tustin area…

3 thoughts on “Looking Back at Camp Myford

  1. With all the fires we are having in California today, I remember camping as a Boy Scout at Camp Myford when a brush fire broke out over the hill from where were camping. One of us went up the to Lemon Heights to call the fire department. There no cell phones then. The rest of us under our Marine Corps scoutmaster tried to build a firebreak ahead of the fire along a trail than ran down the hill. What I remember how hard it was and how hot that fire was. We scrapped with our little shovels . The fire was not very high because grass was not too thick or high. It did not crown into the Eucalyptus trees. We worked hard for maybe 30 minutes. I remember the fire trucks coming and spraying water on the fire. Quickly the flames disappeared. That was a relief. The fire department left fireman that night to make it did not relight.
    What I learned from that very small fire just how hot it was. I an only imagine how hot and powerful the large fires we see in the media today. Still, this small tame brush fire taught me to respect wildfire This event was sometime in 1956-57, as I recall.

  2. The other thing I remember about Camp Myford is the view across the valley. I remember beautiful colors of gold, orange and brown with varying shades. When I see some Van Gogh paintings, I recall the beauty of the late afternoons.

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