Gas station without pumps

2022 April 14

Secret Walks: Wilder Ranch Coastal Loop again

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 22:15
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I posted before about my first time doing the Wilder Ranch Coastal Loop on March 25. On April 10, I did the loop again (in the opposite direction) with a group from the Monterey Bay Stanford Club.  I biked there and back, parking my bicycle on the fence next to the parking kiosk, as there do not seem to be any more planned places to park bicycles. I picked up a map of the park from the parking kiosk. The walk was a very slow and leisurely stroll, with frequent stops to look at the scenery.  The average age of the attendees was probably a bit older than me.


This is either Sand Plant Beach (as the state-park map labels it) or Little Strawberry Beach (as Google Maps labels it). There is a trail down to the beach on each side, to connect up to the Ohlone Bluff Trail, but we did not go down to the beach.


The next beach east is off-limits to people, because of the harbor seals hanging out there.


The seals look very comfortable when they are sleeping.


Another pair of seals. Is the one in back molting?


This seal looked very happy to be playing in the waves.


The biggest change from my previous visit was the presence of pups—here is one surrounded by adults.


It looks like some of the pups did not survive.


Here is another pup, playing in the water.


We did not see many birds on this walk, but I did get one shot of a gull wading.


Unlike my previous walk, most of the group walked down the somewhat steep and wet trail to Fern Grotto Beach. Here is the eponymous fern grotto.


The ferns hanging down from the rocks are quite impressive.


Another view of the ferns.


Looking out from the grotto, you can see droplets of water dripping off the ferns.


The whole thing looks like a Victorian garden feature.


The ocean side of Fern Grotto Beach has some nice rocks for the waves to break on.


Here are the seals again, seen from the ocean side with my zoom lens.


Without the zoom, it is rather difficult to make out the seals—the group of them are just a few dots extending the lines of the cliff to their right.


This beetle on the trail appears to be a Chrysolina bankii, based on a Google Lens search and looking at many pictures of the species.


Here is the walking group seen from the back.


Wilder Beach is closed to the public, but with my zoom lens, I could just see the canada geese in Wilder Creek from the Wilder Beach Overlook.


California poppies are still in bloom.


But many of the poppies have lost their petals and are showing red skirts around their seed pods.

After the walk, we gathered at the picnic tables between the chicken coop and the goat pasture and ate the lunches we had brought. The group seems like a nice enough group of people, and I would be willing to go walking with them again, though the level of exercise was rather minimal (I got far more exercise bicycling there and back). The visitor center was open, so I picked up a free map of Henry Cowell Redwoods state park while I was there.

1 Comment »

  1. […] posted before about doing the Wilder Ranch Coastal Loop on March 25 and on April 10.  On Sunday 22 May I went again, this time with my wife and my sister, neither of whom had done […]

    Pingback by Secret Walks: Wilder Ranch Coastal Loop yet again | Gas station without pumps — 2022 May 30 @ 10:54 | Reply

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