At the water’s edge, take 2

At the water’s edge again, this time Southern California, or as they call it, “SoCal”.

The place is Point Mugu State Park, a park about 30 miles north of Los Angeles. I only had one free day on my whirl-wind trip, so I picked the Big Sycamore Trail in this park for a day hike.

As soon as I arrived in the park, I noticed a flock of noisy birds in the trees. These are black-hooded parakeets, a non-native species. At the trail head I also saw a California Towhee. So within minutes I already “bagged” two bird species.

Black-hooded Parakeet

Carlifornia Towhee

The trail goes through the canyon shaded by its namesake trees, some reach very impressive sizes. Sycamores are very common on the east coast, but I guess here in the drier climate of SoCal it is rarer to see a cluster of these water-loving trees.

The trail continues to climb up into the Santa Monica Mountains. As I left the valley, the trail became drier and the sycamores were replaced by shrubs and chaparrals. There was no shade in the noonday sun and it became very hot. Some of the craggy peaks are very spectacular. Although their elevation may be only a little over a thousand feet, since they are standing right next to the Pacific Ocean, their appearance is very imposing.

Mountain Peaks

I turned west to the Wood Canyon Trail, then south to Overlook Trail. And this is the side that faces the Pacific. To say the view is breathtaking is an understatement, looking north, Mugu Rock is in view, and the Channel Islands are in the misty distance.

Mugu Rock and the Pacific Coast

Looking south, the endless beaches of SoCal are there for the taking.

California Coast

I finished this 10-mile, 700-feet-elevation trail in a little over 5 hours and I only wish it was longer. But there was still time for a walk on the beach. The fall migration season was just starting, and I saw many shorebirds, such as Willets, Whimbrels, Marbled Godwits, brown pelicans and different species of seagulls.

Whimbrel

Marbled Godwit

But even a day like this had to end! As I watched sunset on Santa Monica Beach, I thought: it is time to sip some mojito and margarita now!

Sunset on Santa Monica Beach

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One Response to At the water’s edge, take 2

  1. Pingback: At the water’s edge, take 3 | Random thoughts from a traveler at home

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