I had set my alarm for 9am, but slept through hitting snooze, and the next thing I know, it's 11:30! Check-out from the campground is 12! I washed up in the Element, dressed, got ready (re-braided my hair), took down my window coverings, loaded up my left over wood and chair, and headed to the front gate. They told me I could park in the day-parking area with my paper from my campsite for the day. I pulled into the parking lot and ate breakfast (cereal) in the backseat. Then I brushed my teeth with bottle water next to my car, then finally went to the bathroom at the facility at the day-use lot.
I happened to be right next to the Nature Center. I went in to take a look. They had all sorts of information about the wildlife in the Los Padres National Forest and Ventana Wilderness. There were fur pelts to pet, cast foot prints to identify, and stuffed dead animals from the wilderness. I quickly found my cat from yesterday...
Looks just like the tracks I saw, only these might be a little smaller.
There it is, the bobcat. I could take him!
Me next to the bobcat, wild turkey, woodpecker, fox, some little mammal, and above me is the mountain lion. Don't think I could take the mountain lion. The woman working at the Nature Center was kind enough to take this picture for me.
Western Rattlesnake with some mammals.
A hawk with a mouse in his clutches. This reminds me, I saw a hawk up close on my hike in Carmel Valley the day before. I saw him, then he saw me and flew off.
Better look at that mountain lion. Nope, don't want to run into that!
Here's a California quail. This is the state bird. I saw a whole family of these the day before in Carmel Valley-- on the road! They were so cute and funny the way they run around. Too fast to get pics of, made me giggle.
The owl display, which I found quite fascinating. If you've read my poem "The Walk," there's a part about an owl flying in my face 3 times. The white/brown barn owl here is just what it looked like, only bigger. Could you imagine that thing flying in your face 3 times, staring into your eyes??? It was rather frightening, but intriguing.
Another sample of a bobcat. I asked the lady that worked there if these bobcats were much different than house cats, since they looked so docile here. She laughed and said they may look cute, but they are very wild, unpredictable, and can be vicious with their claws and teeth. aww, I could take him!
It turns out that I was in the nature center at the same time that a guided hiking tour was forming there. It was a pre-scheduled free event in the park, led by one of the park rangers. I joined, and about 15 of us left promptly.
This is Aaron, the ranger guide at the beginning of the hike. He was showing points of history in this tree's life-- very interesting.
The trail we went on was the trail I was getting ready to hike anyway, so it was perfect. I learned about how the redwoods are natures air-conditioning, and they have a large role in the temperatures here. (So that's why I'm always so pleased with the temperature when I'm hiking in redwoods!). I learned about all the poison oak, the sudden oak death that is killing much of the oak trees. I learned about redwoods breeding patterns, sticky monkey plant, redwood sorrel (the big clover that carpets the redwood forests), and lots of other stuff. It was so interesting, I'm so glad I got to go. He ended the hike at the top of the trail, where it splits to either the waterfall (Pfeiffer Falls), Valley View trail, or go back to the start. I chose first to go to the waterfall, which is where most of the people on the hike chose to go.
First site of Pfeiffer Falls.
Me at Pfeiffer Falls.
After viewing the falls, I went up to Valley View trail.