Morgan Hill, CA
Yesterday we woke up to rain!
We had planned a trip with Connie & Greg
to Ano Nuevo State Park to see the elephant seals.
Thankfully by the time we left, the rain had subsided.
The park is about 20 miles north of Santa Cruz on highway 1.
Each year over 10,000 elephant seals return to this area to breed,
give birth, and molt their skin amongst the beautiful scenery of the reserve.
December through the end of March is typically the breeding season.
Docents lead guided walks and offer up facts about the seals.
The male seals battle on the beach for the right to mate,
and the females give birth to the pups on the dunes.
We started on our walk up to the staging area..
...where we got a briefing about the seals, their fur and skin, and their size.
A full grown male can weigh upwards of 4500 pounds when in breeding season.
At this time of year, mid-march, the males have lost a lot of their weight.
Most of the males, and some of the females have already gone back out to sea.
We were lucky enough to see a lot of these magnificent creatures
on our guided walk.
The four of us joined 8 others as we traipsed over the dunes
to get to the beach area.
As we got to the top of the dunes, we got our first view of a male..
Most all the seals are lazing around in the sand soaking up the sun.
The big males look like something out of Star Wars!
The 'weaners' as they are called are just so cute!
This beach area normally is packed with the seals,
but most of them have moved out to sea now..
We loved being able to see a mom nursing her pup..
The walk was fairly easy except for the dunes :-)
We walked almost 3 miles from the visitor's center to the beach area.
The views were just beautiful!
There were beautiful wild flowers along the path..
After our tour we headed up highway 1 and stopped to check out
Unfortunately it is in disrepair, and the park service
closed it to visitors in 2001.
The buildings surrounding it have been turned into hostels.
There was a nice view from the cliff behind it,
and we even saw some whales out in the distance!
Never could get a picture of their spouts :(
We stopped in Pescadero at a tavern called Duarte's
and had a marvelous meal.
I had artichoke soup and a crab melt, Connie had snapper,
Greg and George had burgers :-)
We all followed it up with a piece of their famous
blueberry pie, yum!
As it was getting close to the magical sunset time,
Greg drove us out to the point in Santa Cruz to catch the sunset..
It was definitely a perfect day!