Princess Rosebud’s Empowered Solo Vacation: Part Three

Hiking at Montana de Oro.

After a horrible night of not much sleep thanks to a bunch of obnoxious college students who must have been too drunk to understand that, to most people, camping means peace and quiet, not a beer binged free-for-all, we embarked on a day hike.

Our goal was Valencia Peak, but we first made a loop up Oats Peak Trail.

Valencia Peak is a coastal mountain located within Montana De Oro State Park. This trail offers gorgeous views of the Central Coast, great views of Morro Bay, Cayucos, and on clear days, you can see Cambria and beyond — with amazing views of Spooner’s Cove to the south.

It’s an easy trail with gentle elevation gain; I didn’t even need the alpine walking sticks I packed.

The spectacular views begin right away as you ascend up onto a saddle, and the rest of the hike is before your eyes.

The trail gets a little harder the closer you get to the top.

DIL and I stopped shy of the peak; my son wanted to run to the top and back, so we took a break, ate lunch, and admired the view of the ocean.

There was cell service, so I called tugboat man to say hi and to let him know we are DEFINITELY going to spend a few days here when he returns.

The views are beyond breathtaking. It feels like you’re on top of the world.

The hike down is much easier, but watch out for rattlesnakes. We saw a baby, whose venom is more potent than the adult rattlesnake.

Not too difficult, right?
montanadeorohike1

Ah-may-ZINGmontanadeorohike2 Kind of a hazy day, but perfect hiking weather.montanadeorohike3My little goat boy.
montanadeorohike4A narrow passage.montanadeorohike5View from the Visitor’s Center.
montanadeorohike6Part Four: Jade Cove, Julia Pfeiffer, Cambria, and Costanoa.

Princess Rosebud’s Empowered Solo Vacation: Part Two

After the mostly tranquil train ride (except for one poorly parented relentlessly screamingfordonuts toddler who seemed not to be bothered by her screeching while staring at their smartphones), I was met at the train station in sunny Santa Barbara by Professor Angel Boy and we stopped for lunch at an organic foods cafe.

We made an unscheduled detour because he wanted to check out the surf at Morro Bay, and because it’s always really all about him, that’s what we did.

Driving up the coast to Morro Bay.
campingmaysantabarbara2

I’m not much of a seagull lover, but this guy was too photogenic to ignore.campingmay22seagullmorrobayAfter a brief surf session, we continued to Montana de Oro State Park, six miles southwest of Morro Bay and seven miles south of Los Osos on Pecho Road.

It’s fairly rural and rustic, but SO beautiful. We set up camp and were able to manage a late afternoon hike.

With the sun low in the sky; clouds and fog actively moving over the tops of the mountains, it was serene and enervating at the same time.

campingmaymontana3

Crossing a small creek.campingmaymontanawater

Lichen.

campingmaymontanalichen2Pretty yellow flowers.
campingmaymontanaflowersAh-MAY-zing view.campingMay23oroA mole peeking out of his hole.
campingmaymontanamole

Quail are everywhere and for a while, their melodic conversations were the only sounds we heard. These guys were walking around directly outside my tent.

Later that evening, after a relaxing fire and glass of wine, we heard the unmistakable scream/growl of a bobcat across the canyon.

At that moment, life was perfection. The only way it could have been better was if tugboat man wasn’t oceans away and not able to enjoy our holiday.

Little did we know that in a few short hours, in sharp contrast to this beauty and tranquility, we would endure the WORST EVER camping experience of our lives.

As we settled down to a good night’s sleep under a star-filled sky, a group of approximately twenty college students set up their camp nearby and proceeded to drink and yell and party LOUDLY until 4:30 a.m. in spite of the 10pm-7am quiet time rules.

Apparently, nobody, including us, got up to inform the camp host or the rangers of this HELL we had to endure, but we all complained to him the next day.

Just awful.

However, at approximately 3:30 a.m. just as we were dozing, or trying to, during the bacchanal, three fat raccoons furiously attempted to tear apart the locked food cabinet next to our picnic table. My son had to get up and shoo them away, and as he put the food in the car, one of them tried to sneak in.

Amazing.

It was an eventful night.

Right after THAT little adventure, a bobcat screamed so close we thought it was within feet of where we were sleeping, and figured that he had an altercation with those raccoons.

No one slept much after that, because we wanted to stay awake in case we could see him walk by.

No luck with the bobcat sighting, but as I unzipped my tent in the morning, see who was looking at me? An beautiful gray fox. These aren’t the best pics because I was in such a hurry to snap them before he ran off.

campingMay23fox1 campingmay25fox2

What an astonishing gift to sort of make up for the rude frat boys.

So far, quite an adventure, don’t you agree?

Part Three: A Ten-Mile Hike

Princess Rosebud’s EMPOWERING Solo Adventure

(Blogging from the train, which is OK except for spotty wifi and my paragraph edits aren’t working, so this post won’t look exactly right.)


“It’s never too late to become empowered” she said.

Well, thank you very much for that unwanted opinion.
At 6:15 a.m., I was the first one in line when the Amtrak Station opened up.
I’m on my way to Santa Barbara to meet my son/DIL and have a little camping and hiking vacation. This is something that tugboat man and I had been looking forward to, but alas, he was called back to work immediately upon arriving home, so I decided to be a BRAVE princess and venture forth into the big scary world all by myself.
What was I thinking??
Confession: I’m not much of a traveler. Although I do travel alone from time to time, mostly tugboat man and I are together and he takes care of everything and all I do is stand here or sit there and do as I’m instructed, moving from point A to point B.  It works out better that way for both of us if he takes the lead. I mean, he’s so GOOD at it, and it reduces my stress level (and his) if he does all the thinking.
But this adventure is all my own.
My son’s dad picked me up a little before 5:45 a.m. to give me a ride to the train station, which is why I was there bright and early at 6:15.
I had many questions for the Amtrak employee:
1. Where do I go?
2. Where will the train be?
3. How will I know it’s the right one?
4. Where will I sit?
5. Where will my son pick me up?
6. Where will I find my suitcase?
7. Will you lose my luggage?
I explained to her that I never travel alone and I’ve only taken the train one time twenty years ago, and that’s when she proceeded to give me a life lesson that I didn’t expect, didn’t ask for, and didn’t really need.
“I never travel alone.”
“Well, you DO travel, don’t you?”
“Yes, but when my husband and I travel, he takes care of everything”
That’s when she said, “It’s never too late to become empowered”
I have to admit her tone was ever-so-slightly snarky, and this was corroborated by the nice young man from the United States Marine Corps (whom I have attached myself to for dear life).
He was standing next to me listening to all of my questions and I believe that he felt sorry for me (reminded him of his mom) and felt like he was performing in the intereste of our national security to guide me on the train when it arrived, and now we’re sitting next to each other.
He’s on leave for Memorial Day to his family ranch in Los Osos.
Of course, I thanked him for his service and I must say that I feel very safe and in good hands until my son collects me from Baggage lol.
Stress level is high, but if I could make my way SOLO to Goettingen, Germany to stalk visit my son while he was there for his junior year abroad, I can certainly sit on a train for four hours with my own personal USMC escort, dontcha think?
After all, like I keep telling my Angel Boy, that umbilical cord will stretch, but will never evereverever BREAK.
There isn’t a place on earth he can go that I won’t follow.
I know that sounds like a threat, but it’s really not. It’s just a mother’s LOVE.
I stand corrected…an EMPOWERED mother’s love.
Here’s a few pics from the train…
Train1 train2 train3 train4

Exploring Carlsbad, Part Two: Wildlife vs Development

When we first moved here in 1985, our street was a dead end (literally).

My son and I would walk our dogs to where the pavement ended and there we abruptly entered a wonderland of nature: along narrow paths with overhanging vegetation;  sage, coyote bush, sumac — and wildlife; coyotes, bobcats, deer– even a mountain lion was spotted now and again.

In other words….heaven.

It was a sad day when the bulldozers appeared and in a matter of minutes completely raped the hills, scraping the native flora down to bare earth, uprooting mature trees, and displacing dozens, if not hundreds, of animals.

It’s unrecognizable now–if you hadn’t lived here as long as we have, you’d never know the rich beauty that once existed.

It’s regretful that the city leaders didn’t and don’t seem to care about respecting, protecting, and preserving native flora and fauna.

Instead of conserving and sustaining our unique beauty, they’ve allowed Carlsbad to become an Orange County clone — heavy on the ubiquitous business parks and subdivisions totally disconnected to the land.

They’ve mostly destroyed the unique personality and beauty of our little coastal town.

In my opinion.

Historically, Carlsbad/Agua Hedionda Lagoon was the former home to two Native American groups, the Luiseños and the Diegueños or Kumeyaay.

Did you know that Agua Hedionda means “stinking waters”?

(It does and it does.)

Although the Spaniards (and other settlers) decimated the Native American connection to this area, over the years I’ve heard about nearby sacred burial grounds that might still be intact, and that’s a good thing.

In spite of the destruction of habitat, there are still a few surviving animals attempting to coexist.

In the evening, we hear the song of the coyote, not as often as we used to, but it makes us happy. Check out this audio. So close!

I’ve seen fresh bobcat tracks, too, but no actual visual sighting.

On a recent walk, I stepped out of my front door, walked across the street, and was immediately greeted by this amazing sight, a Great Blue Heron nearly as tall as me.
GreatBlueHeron1 greatblueheron2 After I snapped a dozen photos, I continued walking, and spotted a White Egret.egret2015It was a day for wildlife; these are not good pics for some reason, but a couple of different rabbits made an appearance.

On a front lawn.
aprilwalk5 Overlooking Agua Hedionda. aprilwalk4

I believe this is a Cooper’s Hawk; don’t think it’s a Red Tailed Hawk.CooperHawk1If I ruled the world (or at least my little part of it), I’d make sure that any planned development would respect all wildlife and make appropriate plans to not only preserve habitat, but encourage MORE animals to coexist with us.

Especially predators. We need predators. We need coyotes and bobcats and mountain lions and hawks and falcons for balance. Without them, we’re inundated with their food source; rabbits, rats, and squirrels.

Can’t we all just get along?

Read Exploring Carlsbad, Part One: Signs
http://enchantedseashells.com/2015/05/01/exploring-carlsbad-part-one-signs/

Exploring Carlsbad, Part One: Signs

Warning: This series won’t be your glossy Chamber of Commerce tourism fluff piece to encourage more visitors.

Instead, It’s the candid observations of someone who’s lived here for thirty years.

Join me step-by-step as I walk around neighborhoods old and new all the way to the beach and back.

I’m seeing my not-so-little town through fresh eyes.

Today’s topic is Signs and Rules.

Do this. Don’t do that.

Carlsbad is chock full of sings and rules.

Here’s a sign with bad grammar.

And excuse me for asking the obvious, but WHY plant blueberries in a front yard on a busy corner lot where dozens of kids walk back and forth to school and in a ‘hood where almost everyone has more than one dog — when you have a HUGE backyard?

(That’s a rhetorical question.)

Next, are we going to see a misspelled manifesto to crows and blue jays about not picking and eating the ripe berries?

A lot of poop and dog-related signs.

Purchased or homemade…
I couldn’t find the common area this sign referenced; I assume the dog owners who live in the complex have been made aware of the pet-acceptable locations.

And what happens if they disobey the rules?

And here, humans are outlawed, while it seems as if implied consent is proffered to dogs and every other species.

I ignored the sign, ‘cos nobody tells Princess what to do.

That sign ain’t the boss of ME.

This tiki expresses exactly how I feel about being told what to do.

Or what NOT to do.

Usually I take a small backpack or cross body bag to carry essentials but leave my hands free to take photos; this time, thanks to Flipbelt sending me a sample to try, I wasn’t weighted down  — I hardly know it was there.

There’s room for my keys, phone, ID, lip balm, and a few dollars. Simply put the items in and flip the belt over.  FlipBelt is designed to carry on-the-go essentials without tying up your hands. Made of a moisture-wicking, spandex-lycra blend, FlipBelt slides right on and sits snug on your hip. No bulk. No bounce. FlipBelt is also machine washable and machine dryable.

flipbelt

It’s an ideal accessory for outdoor summer workouts, and will be great for biking and traveling, too, Flipbelt retails for $28.99, and comes in nine cool colors including black.  (I chose black so it would go with everything.)

For more information, visit www.flipbelt.com

For this review, there was no compensation; I was sent product to sample and review. The honest opinions are my own.


**And thanks to Kim who read my mind, I’m including this song about signs that all of us olds heard a zillion times:

Exploring Carlsbad, Part Two…coming soon.

The Sad Song of the Wolf

Wolf Mountain Sanctuary

Wolf Mountain Sanctuary

For as long as I can remember,  I’ve loved wolves.

This little Jewish girl from Detroit dancing around in a pink tutu and satin toe shoes harbored a secret desire to live among the wolves and become accepted as a pack member.

Crazy, right?

Crazy because the only wolves I encountered in Detroit were the hormone-addled little boys at the Jewish Community Center.

“The gaze of the wolf reached into our soul.” Barry Lopez

It wasn’t until we moved to California and I was in college that I did anything about it.

Back in the 1970s, I joined the fight to save the wolf from extinction by advocating for protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA),

In college, I studied predators and made plans to accompany research scientists and live with wolves in Minnesota and Michigan but never fulfilled that dream because I couldn’t (obviously) bring my dog, and I didn’t want to leave her.

Another dream unfulfilled. Oh, well.

Wolf print Yellowstone

Wolf print, Yellowstone

When tugboat man took me on a trip I’d fantasized about my entire life and we camped and hiked in Yellowstone National Park, we were lucky enough to see several of the wolves who make up the Lamar Valley pack, but we never heard the song of the wolf, probably because we camped right on Slough Creek, and the water, while beautiful, drowned out most animal sounds.

I’m still involved in the never-ending fight to save, defend, and protect this magnificent animal; read about my experiences in Sacramento when I testified at the  Fish and Wildlife Service‘s wolf delisting hearing: Saving Wolves.

From my testimony:  “At 6:00 a.m., a few miles outside our camp at Slough Creek, we followed others to a bison carcass, and our efforts paid off with a multiple sighting of many wolves, including 755. There was an overwhelming sense of awe among the dozens of us who silently watched him cross the road and then a collective sigh of relief when he disappeared safely over the ridge.

Last weekend, we took a drive to the Mojave Desert town of Lucerne to spend a few hours at Wolf Mountain Sanctuary, a 501c3 nonprofit organization founded in 1976 by Tonya Littlewolf.

Eleven wolves call this sanctuary home, and while I finally heard the haunting song of the wolf, the whole experience could only be described as sad.

Wolf Mountain Sanctuary

Wolf Mountain Sanctuary

Why sad?

Sad because these magnificent creatures NEED to be rescued.

Sad that humans think they have the right to try and make pets out of these wild animals. (Not gonna work.)

Sad that the wolves can’t roam free, sad they’re hunted, tortured, hated, vilified.

Wolves are among the most intelligent species.

HOW DARE WE DESTROY THEM.

wolfpaw

Wolf Mountain Sanctuary

So yes. Sad. Very sad.

From Wolf Mountain Sanctuary website…all volunteer educational organization dedicated to the preservation, protection, and proper management of wolves in the wild and in captivity. We are a forever home for all of the wolves we rescue. We rescue wolves from the movie industry, private owners, and from breeders.  The impression a 180 pound wolf leaves on you is everlasting. To look into their knowing, wise, amber colored eyes is a moving, spiritual experience. When you look into the eyes of a wolf, you see your soul…

“We have doomed the Wolf not for what it is, but for what we have deliberately and mistakenly perceived it to be..the mythologized epitome of a savage, ruthless killer..which is, in reality no more than a reflexed images of ourself.” Farley Mowat

wolf10

Wolf Mountain Sanctuary

Denali (Deh-Nah-Lee) (“Great One” or “Highest Mountain”) was one of two pups born in the wilds of Alaska. He was rescued from the wolf-killing that was taking place in that state, both by private citizens and government agencies.

He’s a beautiful wolf with a golden sand coat.  Denali’s personality is very sweet, curious, and friendly.

Tugboat man fed him a biscuit and he took it from him in a gentle and almost dainty manner.

The wolves at Wolf Mountain Sanctuary are well cared for and healthy.

When I met this handsome guy, Holan, he immediately jumped up, put his front paws on my shoulders, and licked my face. See my joy? This is the smile of someone who loves wolves.

wolf mountain sanctuary

Wolf Mountain Sanctuary

Tugboat man is sitting next to me, but I had to crop him because he likes to remain anonymous.

wolf9

Wolf Mountain Sanctuary

“The wolf is neither man’s competitor nor his enemy. He is a fellow creature with whom the earth must be shared.” L. David Mech

Look at him. The eyes. Amazing.

wolf8

Wolf Mountain Sanctuary

Sniffing around where we had been seated.

wolf7

Wolf Mountain Sanctuary

“Throughout the centuries we have projected on to the wolf the qualities we most despise and fear in ourselves.” Barry Lopez

Wolf Mountain Sanctuary

Wolf Mountain Sanctuary

“Inescapably, the realization was being borne in upon my preconditioned mind that the centuries-old and univerally accepted human concept of wolf character was a palpable lie. On three separate occasions in less than a week I had been completely at the mercy of these “savage killers”; but far from attempting to tear me limb from limb, they had displayed a restraint verging on contempt, even when I invaded their home and appeared to be posing a direct threat to the young pups.” Farley Mowat, Never Cry Wolf

wolf6

Wolf Mountain Sanctuary

Awesome Wolf Howling Compilation
http://youtu.be/op7fRsvWowA

A Man Among Wolves
http://youtu.be/j4vFBXOoHs0

wolf5

Wolf Mountain Sanctuary

 


From Wolf Mountain Sanctuary website:

WHY SAVE THE WOLF? Look at them: they are so noble, so beautiful.  The wolf, as well as other endangered species, are ecological indicators.  It is by studying these species and learning how to preserve them that we learn the main factors affecting our environment.

Perhaps in so doing, we will learn undiscovered ways to benefit mankind!

Unfortunately, there are those who deny the wolf’s place in the ecosystem.  Wolves are gunned down from airplanes and snowmobiles (which some consider “sport”).  Sometimes the fur is taken; however, more often than not, the animal is simply left to decay.

The wolf is poisoned “en masse,” trapped by leg-hold traps, used as adornments for the idle rich.

Today, the wolf’s range is limited to Alaska, Canada, the upper Midwest, and in Yellowstone National Park.  Some of the YNP wolves have traveled into adjoining states, which allow hunters to kill wolves on sight and for little to no reason.  In the 1930’s, there were approximately 50,000 wolves roaming the North American continent.  By the 1940’s, that number had been decreased to 1,000.  Today, mostly because of conservation efforts, there are approximately 3,000 wild wolves on the entire continent.  They have made a small comeback, but because of the recent delisted from the Endangered Species Act, wolves are once again under attack.

Wolf lovers need to band together and do all we can to help them.  TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

​Only you can save the wolf from extinction.  Proper management procedures must be put into action.

Won’t you join us in the wolf’s campaign? Please help the wolves any way you can:  sign all petitions you can to stop the wholesale slaughter of wolves and donate to organizations focused on protecting the wolf!


And here’s something else we can do NOW.

whitehousewolf

It’s important to help out those wonderful humans who devote their lives to protecting wolves like Wolf Mountain Sanctuary and Dearborn Wolf Sanctuary.

 

High Desert and Big Rocks

We’re back from Wolf Mountain Sanctuary in the Mojave Desert.

wolf mountain sanctuary I’ll post about our experience at the sanctuary, but it was mostly sad. Sad that these magnificent creatures NEED to be rescued. Sad that they can’t roam free, sad they’re hunted, tortured, hated. They are among the most intelligent and evolved species. How dare we destroy them. Sad. Very sad.

On the way home, we stopped at an amazing outcropping of rocks for a  little hike and picnic lunch.
mohave1 mohave2 The Mojave Desert is also known as the High Desert because of its elevation.mohave3 Blue sky and rocks.mohave4 Ick.mohave5 mohave6 mohave7 LOVE this pic.mohave8 Rock climber Not me.mohave9 mohave10 mohave11#highdesert #mojave #desert #wolves #hiking

2015 #VionicWalkabout Is ON!

#vionicwalkaboutDo you love to walk as much as I do?

Then join us!

The 2015 VIONIC WALKABOUT IS ON!

We have the ability to create a movement!

Vionic Venture WalkerShare your Walkabout journey via social media using the hashtag #VionicWalkabout.

The #VionicWalkabout spotlights personal wellbeing by bringing people across the nation virtually together to walk for health.

All it takes is a simple pledge to walk 30 minutes everyday for 30 days in an effort to create healthy habits. 

This year’s Walkabout challenge is being co-sponsored by Vionic shoes spokespeople Dr. Andrew Weil and celebrity trainer Juliet Kaska, and runs during the month of February – which is national Heart Health month.

Pledgers will receive exclusive wellness insight from the world renowned Dr. Weil and fitness tips from Juliet Kaska as well as the chance to win prizes from Vionic shoes, to the grand prize of a all expense-paid trip to Napa, CA!

Make Your Pledge Today – sign up for free online: http://www.vionicshoes.com/2015-vionic-walkabout

What’s a Walkabout?
A Walkabout is an Australian journey for well-being during which one seeks to clarify his/her life purpose. The Vionic Walkabout challenge is inspired by the Aussies and aims to improve physical and mental well-being by creating healthy habits over the course of 30 days.

WALK TO WIN
By participating in Vionic Walkabout, you’ll have the chance to walk away with some seriously great prizes. Through photo and caption contests on Facebook and Instagram, we’ll give away weekly prizes such as new Vionic Shoes, Dr. Weil Cookbooks and Visa gift cards. Plus, we’ll select a Grand Prize winner to receive an all-expense paid trip to Napa, CA.

WALK TO IMPROVE YOUR HEALTH
Walking can improve physical health by helping you manage your weight, boost your immune system, lower blood pressure, strengthen your heart and much more. It can also improve your mood, ease depression and help maintain mental efficiency!

Vionic sent me these cool shoes and I’ve been walking all over my city. They’re super comfortable, lightweight, and give my heels and high arches all the support they need. As always, I’ve received product, but no compensation, and all opinions are mine.

My Neighborhood #Vionicwalkabout

A couple of feline friends who always run out to greet us and get some love.Walk1

Stopped for a picnic at Magee Park in Carlsbad.

walk12

The park was full of well-groomed collies!

walk11walk10

Hmmm…what are they trying to say?walk9 Couldn’t pass by this beautiful rose without stopping to smell…

walk8

Red berries!walk7A very primitive and mature Cycad.walk6Look at these fluorescent puffballs!walk5walk4And a popcorn sky…

walk3

 Start your #Vionicwalkabout today and be healthy!
There’s still time to start walking and win a trip to Napa!

http://www.vionicshoes.com/2015-vionic-walkabout

Sea Turtle Conservation Near Todos Santos, Mexico

One year ago, we jetted down to the western tip of Baja California, Mexico so tugboat man could surf a giant winter swell.

This is where I was presented with the gift that kept on giving: XOXO From Mexico and went batshit crazy when a stupid girl put the moves on my hub. HERE: Bitch, Stay Away From My Husband Part One and HERE: Part Two: Bitch, Stay Away From My Husband

(Because I was so traumatized, I have yet to write about our encounter with Machete Man…THAT was one of the scariest episodes of our my lives.)

Before I became too sick to move more than a foot from the toilet (TMI?) we took a day off from surfing (him, not me) and drove to Todos Santos, home of the famous Eagles’ album cover featuring Hotel California.Hotel California

As we drove out of Todos Santos, we got lost, which was something we had been doing on a regular basis. Street signs that make sense must be a precious commodity south of the border, because we had a tough time navigating. If you venture off the paved road for just one second, you enter potholed dirt paths that have no end and twist and wind their way to what I was certain would be our deaths.

This time, however, it was fortuitous, because we saw a sign leading us to the Sea Turtle Sanctuary. 

Tortugueros Las Playitas A.C.
Environmental Conservation with Sea Turtle Focus

From their website:
“Our mission is to protect, conserve and replenish the fragile marine eco-systems of Baja California Sur, Mexico. In addition to our Sea Turtle population recovery program we place special interest on Habitat Protection, Environmental Education and Community Outreach in Todos Santos, Las Playitas and Agua Blanca.  

One of our goals is help restore the Critically Endangered Pacific Leatherback population which is on the verge of extinction. Our Incubation Greenhouse stabilizes sand temperatures creating an ideal nest habitat, where hatch rates are maximized and gender ratios are balanced. We invite you to join us as a volunteer, event participant or sponsor and help balance the fragile marine eco systems of Baja.”

tortuga1 And then we found it! There was a graduate student from Kansas collecting data with another scientist. They were very gracious and invited us inside for a private tour.

tortuga4

tortuga3

All the darling little turtle eggs were covered in palm fronds. It was as hot as a Bikram yoga class in the plastic covered hut.tortuga5 Babies!tortuga6Squeeeeee! More babies!tortuga7 We weren’t able to stay until sundown to observe their release and watch them march toward their destiny.tortuga8 Hopefully, they all made it safely down to the sea and out in the world for long and happy lives.tortuga9 And then back we walked. Not one single seashell. NOT ONE.tortuga10

How to get there:

turtlesmapThe Eagles’ Hotel California:

Living in the Shadows in Sunny Shiny Southern California

There’s another side of California that you might not know about.

Sandwiched between the manicured lawns of upper middle-class residential subdivisions in SoCal, there’s a microcosm of humanity living in the shadows — migrant laborers from Mexico in makeshift camps.

In my own neighborhood, just minutes from the beach and overlooking chaparral-studded canyons, hidden behind purple sage and giant coyote bushes, we recently went for a hike and found evidence that suggests there are still active encampments.

Mostly these men are invisible, ignored by us as we speed up and down our streets, shopping, caring for our families, and only sometimes do we notice these shadow people standing on the roadside waiting to be picked up for day work or at the local liquor store buying twelve packs of beer and money orders.

Like the crows that fly in and out of our trees in a raucous cacophony, there’s an exodus out of the canyons at dawn and back at sunset.

Whatever side of the undocumented worker discussion you’re on, it’s a  blight on our supposedly civilized society that in 2015, in this country of overabundance and excess, men and women live in the bushes without benefit of safe shelter or even running water.

When you scratch off the thin veneer of Pilates classes, weekly mani-pedis and facials, that fifty dollar bottle of pinot noir, and glance beyond Anthropologie and Sur la Table, in the hills behind The Forum, and probably most of the other open spaces that are clinging to life —  that’s where you’ll find them.

It doesn’t seem quite fair for us to have so much while others are living in squalid conditions.

It’s sad, don’t you agree?

kellytrail3

We especially liked the misspelling. There’s a certain poignancy.

There were several white rags hanging from trees along a certain path; we assumed it was to mark the way when it was dark.kellytrail2I think this is a creek, or it could be runoff from all of the developments.
Kellytrail Hard to see the turkey vulture among the clouds.
kellytrail4Do you know who and what lives beneath the surface in your neighborhood?