View of Irvine Lake from Fremont Canyon Ridge

Irvine Lake from Fremont Canyon Nature Preserve

Fremont Canyon Nature Preserve

Fremont Canyon is often referred to as “the Yosemite of Orange County” due to its striking beauty and massive granite formations. It is rich in biological diversity and history. The area is also home to many rare, threatened and endangered plants and animals. The Irvine Ranch Conservancy conducts frequent scheduled docent-led hikes and also lead mountain bike rides and equestrian rides enabling nature lovers to experience the canyon’s remote wonders. Registration for docent-led programs is required due to the area’s sensitive habitat, but all programs are free. (LetsGoOutside.com).

The docent-led hike I joined on a recent Saturday morning was informative and mildly challenging. We climbed to the top of the ridge on some continuously steep hills. Our pace included many stops to learn about the flora and fauna where we learned about animal scat and animal tracks. One hiker also made a cast of mountain lion foot prints that were embedded in the creek bed from recent rains.

This panorama image was captured with an iPhone 6Plus and edited in Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. Learn how to

unleash the power of your iPhone

this summer at Santiago Canyon College/Community Services with Julie Diebolt Price. Here is our schedule of classes.

Getting All My Ducks in a Row

All My Ducks in a Row

We got all our ducks in a row at Oxbow Regional Park in

Gresham, Oregon

Ducks and an easy hike awaits you just 7 miles east of Gresham, Oregon at Oxbow Regional Park. Using a National Forest Pass or paying a $5.00 day use fee affords easy access to the whitewater of the Sandy River, well marked hiking trails, picnic areas and campsites.

Riverbank restoration in process

The riverbank is under restoration because the river has undercut a wide path as it forms the oxbow curves. The exposed stumps on the shoreline have been carbon dated to 1780. At that time an eruption of Mt. Hood, a stratovolcano and now the highest mountain peak in Oregon, caused a mudflow to completely bury the forest.

The buzz of chain saws accompanied us on our “hike” until we rounded a bend and the trees muffled the sound. We learned that the Forest Service was grooming the tributary for salmon breeding by creating pools of still water with downed logs.

You only need a mild interest in spending time outdoors either walking in the forest, or hiking, or camping, or simply communing with nature to enjoy Oxbow Regional Park. But, for someone like me who has seemingly found a new lease on the outdoor life, this park is a jewel in the crown of the Mt. Hood National Forest.

NOTE:

Actually, the “duck” photo above is a family of Canadian Geese – adults and adolescents. But, you already knew that, if you’ve read this far, so there is no need to correct my “mistake”.