Here’s something you don’t see every day. Actual State Parks employees at Garrapata State Park. They showed up this morning with a CCC crew, coned off a lot of the parking area and fenced off the access points for the Stone Ridge and Soberanes Canyon trails.
The signs say the trails will be closed for maintenance for three days; through Thursday, April 9. Well, five out of six signs say that. The sixth sign simply says to use caution because maintenance is underway. Make of that what you will.
Some people were skirting the fencing and hiking the Soberanes Loop anyway, which is nothing out of the ordinary here. This trail, after all, has become one of the most popular hikes in Monterey County, in spite of portions being officially closed.
I opted, instead, to take a walk along the water.
A very elegant Great Egret (Ardea alba) joined me and decided to be my guide.
She led me out to the tip of Soberanes Point.
Stopping only to grab an occasional unwary lizard.
Then time to hit the trail again.
A bit of an updraft…
Means it’s time to show off.
How’s that for grace? This is the kind of situation where I wish I had a real camera, and not just an iphone, with me.
She returns to lead me back up the hill to the main trail.
And then, Farewell.
Wood Mint (stachys bullata), California Poppies (Eschscholzia californica), Seaside Painted Cup (Castilleja latifolia) Douglas Iris (Iris douglasiana), etc. blooming at the top of the bluff.
What an awesome experience to be escorted by a regal egret. I have to admit I’m feeling a little envious. Is the orange flower above the Seaside Painted Cup? I saw a lot of them on the Soberanes Canyon Trail a couple weeks ago, in fact, all sorts of wildflowers!
Yes. The orange/red “paintbrush” type flowers are Castilleja latifolia, or Seaside Painted Cup (Sometimes called Monterey Painted Cup). On the inland loop you can also find the similar Castilleja affinis, or Coastal Paintbrush.
What a dream date!