Monday, October 28, 2013

Canyons of Orange County

Orange County has thirteen region parks, many of which are wilderness and canyon lands in the middle of urbanized areas.  In the 1800s the land was divided into large historic ranches, but with the housing boom after World War 11 they were sold for residential development.   Fortunately some of the ranch land was dedicated to the Orange County for the establishment of wilderness parks.
Our drive Friday was initially through Irvine Region Park which is known for its biological and geological resources.  We first stopped to look at the Red Rock section of that park in Silverado Creek Canyon., it is pictured above.  We were then on our way to Limestone Canyon and Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park when we got sidetracked by a sign pointing to the Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary located in Modjeska Canyon.  Tucker is a major migratory bird route that extends from Alaska to the southern tip of South America.  We saw a variety of birds there, some of which were acorn woodpeckers.  In the sanctuary is a utility pole which they have used as their granary, a place where they store their supply of acorns.  We could see thousands of holes which they have drilled into the pole and filled with acorns.  At Whiting Ranch we did a little bit of hiking, not as much as we would have liked but we had killed a lot of the day at Tucker.
I was just going to write about our canyon trip in this posting, but after our trip yesterday to Bower Museum, I felt that I would like to share with you what we saw there.  The museum has two temporary exhibits on display presently.  The first one we looked at is called Gods and Gifts: Vatican.  This is a portion of the Vatican Ethnological Museum collection, home to more than 80,000 cultural achievements from around the world. The collection, begun in 1692, displays diverse religious beliefs and practices through works of art, and includes gifts presented to the Pope from heads of  heads of state and spiritual leaders.  We found that quite interesting; especially the piece of cloth made of silk, semi-precious stones, and coral given by the Dali Lama to Pope Paul VI.  Equally fascinating was the display from Van Cleef and Arpels.  It is a heritage display of their jewelry, watches, archival drawings and documents.  Included among the jewelry is a necklace once worn by Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton gave it to her on the birth of her first grandchild.  The company was able to buy it back when it went up for auction.  There are also pieces in the collection worn by Princess Grace Kelly of Monaco, the operatic singer Maria Callas and other famous personages.

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