Saturday, November 15, 2014

habitat ~ 11/15/14 ~ Fort Ord National Monument - Creekside

Fort Ord National Monument - Creekside entrance
November 15, 2014

It feels like forever since I've been out to Fort Ord, mainly because I've been focusing on my butterfly sites, which leaves me too exhausted to do more hiking elsewhere.  Plus, it's been unbearably dry.  Andy hasn't been trail running out here much this year, either.  We enjoyed the recent rains (last one on Thursday 11/13/14), and we were hoping to see our coastal version of early winter "spring green".  Sure enough, Creekside delivered in the form of freshly sprouted fiesta flower leaves under the oaks.  There's something so soothing and welcoming to see soft green again.  Yep, this is what November looks like here on the central coast of CA, and I'm very glad I'm not still living in the Midwest with their polar vortex

Things that caught my attention at Fort Ord...  There are a lot more people on the trails since Fort Ord became a National Monument.  They finished another parking area off Hwy 68, so there's better access.  Before it used to be primarily mountain bikers and retired folks with hiking poles; now there are more youth trail runners and families with little children.  I love their new "Play Nice" campaign, which covers horseback riders, dogs, bikers, and staying on designated trails.  I finally figured out I can use unused trailside-dispensered dog poop bags as trash pickup receptacles - the increased litter was bothering me, so I decided to do something about it.  The BLM replaced the old sign off Reservation Road, and the neighboring farmer switched from strawberry plasticulture to berry vine plasticulture.  The thought occurred to me that those plastic awnings would be the perfect cover to hide crops from DEA agents.  Eh-hem.  And, as always, there are reminders on the trails that this used to be an Army training area.