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Friday, October 23, 2009

Agua Chinon Sinks Wilderness Hike

Two weeks ago I decided to check this place out called "The Sinks" in the Agua Chinon canyon area of the Irvine Ranch Wilderness. I was glad I did, it was a visual feast of pure landscapes. It was a nearly seven mile hike round trip on foot. The morning was perfect, blue skies and cool, not cold. I could smell the moisture in the air on the shrubbery, wild grasses and trees, it was a wonderful scent. The trail was a dirt road, a fire trail and it had some steep climbs but the docents and other hikers kept great company. We saw a few snakes but not any mountain lions or bobcats on that hike. What I did see was a plethora of new landscapes that I never saw before that I could paint outstanding oil paintings from. I brought my new Canon T1i EOS 500D Rebel and I was snapping away with it. I think I rather annoyed the docents (trail guides) with my frequent stops, but I was going crazy inside my heart and spirit. This wilderness is an artist's haven, you do not see a housing community, roads or telephone wires anywhere. Just glorious nature! We stopped at the very top of the mountain and there it was, the Sinks, looking like a mini Grand Canyon. There was one high reaching granite edge of a glacier carved ridge and the rest took a plunge for several hundred feet deep into the crevice of the earth. Mountain Lion has been spotted in there before, also fox. I took several images of the mighty tall cliffs and ravines, it was overwhelming to stand there on the edge. A docent took this image of me also. I was so happy to be there, you can see it on my face. The docent showed us images that their posted webcams took of the raging fire that destroyed 1,000's of acres in the recent fires of October 2008. It was sad to see how fast that fire swept through and even more sad to know it was arson. But the land recovered quite well in just one year. The oak trees are extremely hardy and fire doesn't engulf them easily, so there are many oaks still standing. I love to see trees dotting the hillsides, who doesn't. I really want to come back there to paint, I will take more hikes and just stare at the wonder of nature all around me in awe for now, I can rely on memory if I have to and the digital images to make large paintings at my home studio. You can register for docent led hikes to here and many more choices within the Irvine Ranch by going to their website, Irvine Ranch Conservancy. Click on the Activities or Let's Go Outside to see the current month's listings and how to register either online or by phone. You need to be in good shape to go on some of these hikes, I was completely exhausted by the end of the seven miles. Later that evening I still attended the Irvine Art Museum opening reception of "Selections from the Irvine Museum" by early Calif. Impressionists. I think that coupling the two events together gave me a significant natural high. The current exhibition at The Irvine Museum runs through February 13, 2010.

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