The Right to Hike folks, who’ve been working to maintain public access to the trail connecting Veterans and Quarry Parks in Monterey, have been in a mood to celebrate since the recent court decision confirming the public’s right to use the trail and the surrounding “Parcel B” for recreational purposes. So today the Right to Hikers held their second annual Mother’s Day walk on the trail, followed by a barbeque at Veteran’s Park.
Last year, opponents of public access tried to spoil the party by going to court and asking for an order blocking the hike – which the court, unsurprisingly, refused to grant. The court apparently didn’t agree that a walk in the woods and picnic by a few dozen law-abiding locals (with an average age well over 50) needed to be stopped in the interest of preventing violence. And the court was right. The event went off without a hitch and a good time was had by all.
Apparently realizing the futility of trying to block the event through legal channels, at least one individual embarked on a new and still more deranged effort to derail this year’s celebration. They began by posting notices along the trail and in the park stating that the event had been cancelled and followed that up by distributing fliers to the homeless inviting them to the party and promising them free food.
This didn’t work out any better than last year’s legal action. The walk and barbeque were, once again, an unqualified success. No one appears to have been fooled by the “event cancelled” signs and the two homeless men who showed up were warmly welcomed and ended up having a great time along with everyone else (although they were a bit irritated and embarrassed about being “played by an idiot”).
Even the sad antics of an emotionally unbalanced access opponent who showed up and made an embarrassing spectacle of herself couldn’t put a damper on the festivities. She arrived with the party in full swing and began wandering around taking pictures of everyone while denouncing them as “lowlifes,” accusing them of illegal parking, and bragging about how her house was the “best in the neighborhood.” The police soon arrived (four cars worth!) and, rather than citing anyone for illegal parking, “counseled” the woman to leave.
But enough of tawdry human melodrama. What is it that makes “Parcel B” so special in the first place?
Well, besides the view, its relatively intact native pine forest makes it a great place, right in town, to have a look at the wildflowers. Here’s some of what the Mother’s Day walkers saw today:
Blue Dicks (Dichelostemma capitatum)
Windmill Pinks (Silene gallica) and Rattlesnake Grass (Briza maxima)
Hooker’s Manzanita (Arctostaphylos hookeri); an official endangered species.
Fairy Lanterns (Calochortus albus)
Cobweb Thistle (Cirsium occidentale) preparing to bloom.
California Wood Fern (Dryopteris arguta)
Sticky Monkey-Flower (Mimulus aurantiacus)
Hairy Honey Suckle (Lonicera hispidula) about to bloom.
A late blooming Douglas Iris (Iris douglasiana)
Checkerbloom (Sidalcea malvaeflora); one of the Monterey Peninsula’s signature wildflowers.
A California Buttercup (Ranunculus californicus)
Blue-Eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium bellum)