Monday, January 2, 2012

habitat ~ 01/02/12 ~ Palo Corona Regional Park

Palo Corona Regional Park
January 2, 2012

For the new year, we wanted to do a new hike. Heading south past Carmel, this is the first big hill one sees from Highway 1 before reaching Point Lobos. In the spring, the green is quite spectacular. I've wanted to frolic around these hills for the past 8 years, ever since I used to work on this side of the Peninsula and take walks during lunch. Through a complicated partnership, Palo Corona was acquired back in 2004, but it was only opened to the public this past year and with advanced permit reservation. Hmph! As I've mentioned before I'm adverse to planning hikes or camping trips in advance due to my typical rain curse. However, this winter season has been particularly dry, and we had overcast conditions with no rain for our reserved hike. While not very far as the crow flies from home, it was markedly windier and colder than at home in the shelter of the Monterey Peninsula on the Monterey Bay side.

The official MPRPD site (linked below the pictures above) is impressive, but it doesn't offer a decent statement of how limited the publicly accessible areas currently are. I found better information on the Big Sur Land Trust site, a new blog I found, and a series of Flickr photos. It's obvious there has been a ton of money dumped into this property, especially compared to our increasingly neglected State Parks. The mere couple miles of trail to Animas Pond (shown in the 4th pic above) are lavish and disturbingly odd with thick, freshly laid DG (decomposed granite, a popular trail covering in our area), more fancy schmancy benches and picnic tables than you can shake a stick at (with only 21 permits allowed per day, why would they need so many every 100 yards or so?), and not to mention the numerous signs and gates stating "not open to the public" or with complicated handicap loopy locks. The views of Carmel Bay (extends from Pebble Beach to Point Lobos) and the chichi Quail Lodge Golf Club are prominent once you get up the hill away from the many cows, which we had the pleasure of watching get fed hay from the back of a truck. I look forward to when more trails are opened.

Oh, I also saw my second bobcat! It hurried away before I could get my camera out of my pocket. Didn't I say now that I've seen one, I will see them all the time?

ps 02/07/12 - For a great video of what the hike to Inspiration Point (0.6 mile before Animas Pond) looks like, check out Walkifornia.


Imperfect and tense said...

It's always great to explore new areas. You mentioned that it was a. dry and b. winter, but photo 4 looked like ideal habitat for dragons and damsels. Are they on the wing in your region at this time of year?

Katie (Nature ID) said...

Hi, Graeme. I didn't notice any dragons and damsels this hike. The last time I saw several was Dec. 10, 2011 about 25 miles inland and on a sunny day. I tried my darndest to capture pics of a spread winged damsel for you, but he was camera shy. Then we had a couple weeks of relatively cold weather ~38°F (3°C) in the latter half of December. I'll see if I can stop by the Frog Pond, where if they're out in January, they'll definitely be there. I'll let you know.

Jennifer said...

Love this.
Beautiful shots!

Crasberry Keys said...

Great pictures and write-up. I just visited the area and was amazed. It is so green now.

Katie (Nature ID) said...

Thanks, Crasberry? Ryan Commons? You have a great video. I'm adding it to my post above.