Thursday, December 13, 2018

Pinnacles National Park, Condors!!, Salinas, CA

While staying near Salinas, CA, on our last stop, we also spent a couple of days in Pinnacle National Park.  In addition to being another beautiful place, is has the added attraction of being a home of some California Condors!!  We were fortunate enough to see a couple of them!  So thrilling!:

Great hiking in the park!
 A cool cave on our trail!  We had to have flashlights....or pitch blackness for part of the trail!

first condor sighting!!!
 The Pinnacles Trail was pretty exciting and a bit strenuous!

second condor sighting!

this one flew right overhead!

great place, great hikes!

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Monarch Butterflies!!, Salinas, CA

We had a wonderful week enjoying the area near where we parked just outside of Salinas, Prunedale, to be exact.  Our first hike there was at the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve (whew) on the coast where we saw lots of water birds and hawks, woodpeckers, etc:

cormorants, pelicans, gulls, ducks, wading birds.....

downey woodpecker

We came across this sea lion
hanging out alone on the
bank.  Probably sick
unfortunately, we reported him
to the ranger:(
acorn woodpecker

After our hike around the
slough, we drove into town
for a brew at the Elkhorn
Slough Brewery!

Our next adventure was a nice walk along the coast at Santa Cruz and a visit to Natural Bridges State Park.  It is a lovely area, of course, but the best part was a surprise for us.  We learned it is the winter home for thousands of monarch butterflies!

The butterflies hang out primarily up in the high canopies of the eucalyptus trees there.  You do need binoculars and cameras for the best views:

the butterfly area

Santa Cruz coastline

a Santa Cruz native:)
 Next: a visit to Pinnacles National Park!

US Army Corp of Engineers Park, Iowa City, IA

Mike and I love it when we can find a COE park because they are always on water and our last stop at Coralville Lake was no exception.  A bi...