Monday, February 6, 2012

Labor Day weekend 2011

Remembrance of a summer weekend.

Sunday hike in the Redwoods
A hike in Big Basin is a fantastic plan on this Labor day weekend...but we know from past experience that it will be BUSY.  So being clever folks we get up earlier than we would like, hustle over to the park and it works like a charm.  We have no problems parking and are planning our hike by 9:30 am.

Since we are here early, we decide on a longer hike-the 4 mile loop hike to see Semperviren Falls.  On the way out we pass a bunch of campsites and a few groups on the dusty trail, but it is mostly quiet as we walk under the giant trees.  The falls is not all that impressive since it is the end of summer, so minimal water flow.  But it makes a lovely sound that is a nice change from the quiet of the forest.

The next part of the hike is right along the creek that comes out of the falls and it occurs to me that if we are going to see a banana slug, this is the place!  I love the banana slug-they are icky and fascinating at the same time.  They are only near the Pacific coast and are the mascot for the University of Santa Cruz.  Sure enough we turn the corner and right there in front of us are 2 banana slugs-bonus! They are a circle, head to tail, moving slowly and it looks like they are biting each other.  Huh.  That is odd, what the heck is going...ohhhh...could it be?  Maybe?  After we get home I look it up and sure enough they were mating-how cool is that!

The last section of the hike has information on some of the families that lived here in the 1800s.  Wow, it is not easy to get here in today, the isolation back in the day must have been extreme-not my idea of fun!  As we get back into the car around noon it is starting to get hot and crowded-score one for the early birds!

Monday visit to the Aquarium
The Monterey Bay Aquarium is one of the best in the world and is a stellar way to spend a day.  They are able to keep sharks in captivity longer than any other aquarium but it only happens every other year or so.  They usually get ones that have accidentally been captured by fishermen, keep them until they are too stressed out and then release them. This time they have one that they caught on purpose-a male juvenile great white. 

Again we get up early so that we get in as the doors open, yup, everyone is coming to see the shark.  If your main thoughts of sharks are of Jaws or Mega-Shark, the real deal may be underwhelming.  In the big ocean tank he is totally at home, just another one of the guys slowly swimming around, checking stuff out, totally not eating everything in site.  Graceful and calm. The biggest crowd reaction was not even to the shark, but to the sardines.  The sardine school entered stage left and when they were front and center made a quick dive down and back to the corner.  The whole crowd gasped in unison, it was just so cool.

Of course the rest of the  day was wonderful, sea dragons, seahorses, jellies, rays, flamingos and spoonbills and yummy sustainable fish at the restaurant.    Maybe I shouldn't wait for a shark for the next visit!

No comments:

Post a Comment