One of the things I love most about Irvine is how everything for great living is within easy reach. I can work for a dynamic corporation, live in a lovely neighborhood, and then get away from it all at a moment's notice for a quick trip away from suburbia.  Case in point:  our morning hike at the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary.

The grey fog blanketed a sleepy Orange County during the early morning hours of Earth Day this past Sunday.  My boyfriend, Bob, and I decided to do some OC nature exploring and bird watching at the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary.  The nature reserve is 300 acres of restored and natural coastal freshwater wetlands and is home to over 200 bird species. Hidden between Michelson and Campus, just West of Jamboree, the SJWS is owned by the Irvine Ranch Water District.  It's open to the public and free of charge. The rules are simple, which include items such as no dogs, smoking or bikes and don't release any critters into the reserve.

The miles of trails that maze through the various ponds and wetlands provide an easy hiking experience for people of all ages within a peaceful environment.  It's also the site of a hidden treasure known as a geocache, which is part of a worldwide outdoor treasure hunting game  - a great way to get the family together for some outside fun. 

And if you're a photographer then you're in luck, because the photo opportunities are endless with multitudes of beautiful birds and flowering plants and trees.  Take a look at some of our photos we took on the misty morning of Earth Day.

 hike1

Hike2

Hike3

Hike4

hike5

hike6

hike7

hike8

hike9

hike10

hike11

hike12

hike13

The  San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary is  home of the Sea and Sage Audubon Society, who's sponsoring a Summer Bat Walk where you can experience the sanctuary after dark, as well as several other field trip programs. So, get out your cameras, binoculars and sunscreen and go explore the wonders of nature in our lovely Irvine.