Scribbles from Weston Beach: a Sea Palm life

A foaming churning force rushes forward
Visible beneath the backwash
Of the penultimate wave
Retreating from the beating it has unleased
Expended on the fragile whipsawed Postelsia
Held fast on seemingly impervious granite slopes
Facing the cold unrelenting Pacific
Nothing between this erosive power
Except destruction

Where's Sandy? Scribbles from Sand Hill Trail

Not trying to be anthropomorphic, but "Sandy" seemed easier than "the otter that apparently has taken up residence in Sand Hill Cove and likes to haul out on the rock in the center and hang out with harbor seals."  Hope you agree.  And to "youse" who know me, yes indeed, I did have to look that up.

As I write this, it's mid-May, and I've hesitated blogging about Sandy, not wanting to jinx such an incredible display.  But having seen our furry friend hanging loose in the Cove since mid-February, it's probably time to risk it.  So ... want a top 10 highlight?  One that may change your perspective on the day, or maybe the whole year?

Then hurry, don't dawdle and miss this, to the Information Station Parking lot and then to Sand Hill Cove.  At the top of the stairs leading to South Shore Trail, focus a meaningful stare at the "island" in the middle of the Cove.  If the force is strong with you, you'll not only see harbor seals lazing atop the island, but another creature sharing their "bed-rock."  See him in the first picture above?  Oh, and a suggestion: bring binoculars or a scope any time you come to Point Lobos.  Or borrow some at the Information Station, any time between 9am and 5pm.  You miss so much, otherwise.

From the Students of Boronda Meadows

There are no words to describe how awesome their trip was yesterday and how informative and great the docents.  I was blown away at the wonders of Point Lobos and the information that was provided to our students.  You could see the pure joy of wanting to learn not only in the students but in the adults as well.  The docents were really patient with our students.  They just did a wonderful job.  

This field trip was a highlight of their school year and thanks to you and the docents you made it a very memorable one.  The students could not stop talking about what they saw.  Some of the groups used the Scavenger Hunt provided on the Point Lobos Website to help them out and they were "all over it" trying to answer the questions from the Docents.

Also I would like to give praise to Paula and Duffy for coming out to our school and talking to our kids.  The students retained the information and were able to answer questions as well during the walk.  This Field trip I would call a true blessing.  I have told all the teachers at my school about it and to apply for it.  They will not be disappointed at all. 

I just wanted to say Thank you and please pass on a Huge Thank You to the docents, from the Students of Boronda Meadows for providing this wonderful trip.  


Scribbles from North Shore Trail, aka the Butterfly-Wildflower trail

Monterey is not exactly LA or SF or NY or fill in the blank.  But we do have our rush hour - OK, more like half hour - along with the other modern distractions that encourage a buzz in my head.  In counterpoint, Point Lobos beacons.  Today, my hike begins in Whalers Cove.  I'm greeted by five newborn harbor seals, umbilical cords shining in the patchy sunlight, and mother's milk calling.  And people; lots of people, taking in the wonder of creation from the bluff above t

Incoming Tide, by Chiura Obata

For anyone who's joined Sally Smith on one of her fascinating docent led walks at Whalers Cove, you've heard the story of Chiura Obata.  He was one of the more famous visitors to the Guest House that existed in the early 1900's at Kodani Village.  It became known as the "Art Gallery" thanks to the art work displayed on the walls by the Japanese artists who visited.  What I would give to see those walls and hear what they could say. 

Less than perfect days: Scribbles from Cypress Grove

Sometimes I wonder if I'll wake up and realize I'm dreaming.  Do I really live here, so close to Point Lobos, much less have the privilege to docent here?  An Information Station shift and scoping at Sea Lion Point enabled me to see some of the first northbound gray whales to pass our way.  We saw at least eight swim by on February's "leap day" and then the first of March.  Both days reminded me that sometimes the best times are the "less than perfect" t

Ode to the sharing ones

The things we see
And those we don't
None of us gets out of here alive
So when did that cavernous cemetery go in
And how often have I driven past that pine
Missing the hawk tense for the hunt
So many docent voices help me see
And hear
And taste
And touch
And smell
And wonder

Shiver, shiver, brrrrrrrr: Scribbles from Sea Lion Point Trail

Had one of those, "Oh my with a shiver" moments this past three day weekend.  While scoping with Paul Reps during a wonderfully busy day for visitors (human type and grey whale type alike), we looked down into Sea Lion Cove and stared in disbelief.  As involuntary shudders ran down our spines, we spotted a swimmer - but of the human persuasion!  All of the sights and sounds around us just disappeared.  The whales and otters and sea lions and harbor seals and cormoran

Lions and otters and whales, oh my

Quite a show today, this Friday the 13th of 2012, for young and slightly less young alike.  A most fortunate day, indeed.  I was privileged to assist on a school walk for a group of fabulous 8 year olds from Soquel.  They were well prepared to experience a great day and nailed a "pop quiz" on the natural environments of Point Lobos, along with the animals and plants that populate those habitats.  They especially aced the "leaves of three, let it be; if its shin

Funky Features of the Carmelo Formation, or how I learned to stop worrying and love geology

Oiy!!  Can I have your attention, please.  Dispositional features. Diagenetic ones. Deformational ones, too.  And don't forget Surficial features. What a great way to start a guided walk at Weston Beach, don't you think?  Gather round, and we'll learn about bedding, grain organization, ripple marks (and don't forget the ripple lamination), nodules, concretions, lithification, convolute lamination, slump structure, tilting (at windmills, anyone?), and my personal fav, honeycombing - a technical geology term if there ever was one.  And that was just the first 5 minutes!  Yep, I know what you're thinking (assuming you've gotten this far) ... that walk must have been about as exciting as a car wash.  But wait, there's more ...
The truth (and nothing but), is that docent/geologist extraordinaire, Ed Clifton, Esquire (not really, but he sure is one smart lawyer-like dude), has a way of making rocks downright interesting ... I was tempted to say, "make them come alive", but how silly would that have been in a blog about rocks.  Who knew that the formation of concretions could be so amazing.  Or what makes "siderite" nodules (impressive, huh?)  And on and on. 
There was so much to take in as Ed revealed the secrets of funky features like the prehistoric VW Bug formation (yeah, you read that right); pin point dots from mudstone impressions of worm poop (the grandkids are gonna love those); fossil tracings; mysterious "in line" sandstone holes; dinosaur skulls (not really, but they sure look like a T-Rex skull, and dinosaur skull sounds better than Ed's "septarian structures", agreed?) And wave ripples in sandstone. How cool is that?
Oh yeah, and who knew that our very own Ed Clifton does one mean Pavarotti impression. He should think about giving up the day job. 
Oiy!  Oiy!  Oiy!