Friday, December 01, 2006

November 22, 2006

November 22
My best cache of the day was a DNF. Albino Sempervirous (gcy5kj) took me one of only 17 examples of known albino redwod growths.
This specimen is just early growth (pic), as the host tree has been cut. The cache placer has written an excellent overview of them on the cache site. Pretty cool.
Stopped at Pheiffer Big Sur Beach. High tide and big surf! I made my way out over the rocks to the southern point and get up close and personal with the big waves (pic). Pretty awesome.
As I made my way deeper into the area, my eyes searched for those elusive "vultures on steroids". Lots of misidentified sightings (vultures or hawks) along the way. I knew the general area They seem to congregate so, slowed and used most pullouts to take a look around. At one, I noticed a girl who had been on the edge of a canyon, and her truck appeared to have the appropiate apparatus to be from Ventana. She shuffled into the cab and laid down to take a nap, so I grabbed my binocs and walked over to her lookout. Sure enough, in trees across the canyon were two roosting Condors. Yahoo! This is the closest that I have yet seen them. One of the birds lit out of tree and glid on the current across the canyon and to a roost on a rockface just the other side of the highway. This was awesome to see such a mammoth bird move in such a graceful manner. I don't think that it once had to flap its wings on the crossing. Once on the rock, it became very clumsy, trying to attain a foothold on a vertical surface. It was all wings and legs as it avoided falling onto the road, and turned and twisted to get into a level sitting position. During these antics, I called over to the truck, asking if she was a bioligist. She sat up and I said the bird crossed the canyon. She was out of the truck in a flash. During this time, a 3rd bird flew down from the hills, through the canyon and perched in one of the trees across the way. Damn, that is something. The whole top of a mature redwood sways back and forth taking on the weight and sudden momentum of the big bird landing. Next, the guy on the rock takes flight. I managed to get a couple of pics of it in flight, including one on the folded big wings as it completes ones of its flaps. That was also very cool. This guy headed back across the canyon to the treeline. As I was chatting with another girl who had pulled up while this was going on, the biologist noted that two more had arrived ( oops, took my eye off the ball :').
She headed around the canyon to see`what all the commotion was about. I decided to stay with my new interest until the third strike was called, and followed after. The trees were on a point, and there was a house that was under construction in amidst the trees. The birds seemed to be engrossed with what was going on below. I walked south of the point and was on the level with a couple in trees from this vantage point. I was trying to get pics of them taking flight and was only semi-sucessful in that. An englishman had pulled up, thinking we had seen a whale. The bio did not really want to talk at the moment, taking notes and making observations. I told him what was going on, and since both birds from this vantage had since left, took him around to the north vantage to see if we could see the north side of the tree line. As we passed out from the trees, there was Clyde (#51) perched in a canyon tree, eye level to us, not 150 feet away! Oh, way, way too cool. Spent the next 30 minutes taking pic after pic of him, as he would turn his head and give a different pose, or preen himself. This was a dream come true. Close enough to get all its details, far enough away not to be interfering with it. Just to note: they DO NOT NAME the condors. After a minute or two, I asked the bio, and she said no. I concluded this guy way was definitely a Clyde, and so it is.She actually had a toy water cannon with her, and was contemplating whether she could reach him with it. Their concern is the lack of fear of humans. Needless to say, their hanging around a construction site was defintely of high concern for her. Finally, after what must have been 2 hours of Condor watching, I left, totally satisfied that I could now get on with my life, with that particular goal complete :).
I made my way to Partington Cove for Partington Glance multi-cache (gcbaeo). The page gives a lot of detail to this area, which I had wondered about when I came down here the first time. The trail drops down several hundred feet into a redwood lined canyon and through a tunnel to a sheltered cove. There are remnants of davits and ferry hoists to indicate some type of commerce had taken place on this location. Back through the tunnel and to the north is a rock cove that has the canyon creek emptying into it. It is all very secluded, yet open to the elements and has that rugged Big Sur feel to it. Very nice way to spend a couple if hours and provides some moderate exercise in the process.
Being a sucker for punishment, I made my way to the next state campground, but one of my favorites, Lime Kiln SP. Here, in addition to sights within a 100 yards of the ocean, there is also a trailhead that takes you into the canyon and to your choice of 3 destinations; the lime kilns, a marvelous 90 foot waterfall and a ridge hike. As I pulled in, "Stan" was hiking up the road to lock the gate. He waved me down, and I immediately knew he was an instant friend! Very friendly and cordial in his approach, he had me picking out a site and meeting him at the kiosk with my camera so that I could show him pics of Clyde. Over the course of the evening and next day, we spent hours talking. He was an "aide" at the park. He was a bit younger then me, but in "transition", as I am. He found the aide position was perfect for him to find a sort of seclusion to contemplate life and figure out what he wanted to do when he grew up :). A great guy. My hats off to him, and I learned a lot of the resources or choices that will be available to me once I get out there full-time. Thank You Stan, I consider you a friend indeed, and hope our paths cross again.

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