Monday, February 25, 2008


The welcoming committee.

Ken walking up the oak forest path--lost in contemplation...

Oak meadow and sunlight.

Forest path lit by the sun.

Path to another oak grove.

This area made me feel like I'd just walked into The Shire!

Oak branches lean towards the ground like a woody veil.

More oak forest.

Double deer print in the mud.

Prints: Deer & hiking boot.

Oak path--muddy but fun!

Memorial bench. A nice place to take in the view of the canyon that lies below it.

Meadow & clouds.

Pond at the lower reaches of the park. It looked a bit silty--but I hope it clears up and lasts long enough to allow the tadpoles a chance this spring!

Moss & lichen.

Mossy rocks.

The Musch Meadow Trail. This was a really muddy one!

This area made me think of the English countryside.

My friend Ken.

My friend Ken & I went to Topanga State Park on Saturday morning [2/23/08]--it was terrific! The weather was cool, which is nice at this park, since summers can be blistering hot. It's also prettier this time of year, espeically with all the rain we've been blessed with lately--everything was lush and green.
As soon as we started hiking we spotted four deer lying down in the grass on a hill near the trail. The trails were really muddy from the rain the day before, but that just added to the adventure--muddy boots & pants! Yeah, baby--we're talking real little kid stuff! But we really had to watch it though because some places were slicker than snot & neither of us old farts can afford a fall. We also saw deer prints in the mud on the trails and what were possibly coyote prints.

After we turned around from a particularly nasty area where both Ken and I almost slipped and fell (the Musch Meadow Trail), there was a large contingent of teenagers being led on a 'nature hike' right towards that area. The first thing I noticed was that none of them had hiking boots on (all tennis shoes), which meant someone was going to be eating mud shortly. Hiking boots at least helped us keep our footing better. And sure enough, as soon as they down the trail and out of sight, we heard shreiking and yelling and laughing--a sure sign that someone went down. I just it didn't dampen or ruin their enthusiasm for the outdoors.

The following birds were spotted during our 2 1/2 hour hike:
  • Acorn Woodpeckers (lots of these!)

  • Nuttall's Woodpecker (2)

  • Oak Titmouse (numerous--they almost sound like Chickadees)

  • Western Bluebirds (male & two females)

  • Red-shouldered Hawks (pair)

  • Dark-eyed Juncos (several pairs)

  • Spotted Towhee (several)

  • Calif. Towhee (several)

There was also a small flock of Gold-crowned Sparrows, the largest sparrow, with long tails, and that ran across the grass crouched down like Robins. Weird! And they seemed to be eating not bugs, but the weeds in the grass.

If you plan a visit here, arrive early in the morning before too many others get here because that is your best chance for spotting deer and possibly bobcats. Once more people start coming and talking loudly, it spooks the critters.

As you look at the photos, please keep in mind that this is one of the state parksthat our dear Gov. Terminator wants to close in his misguided attempt to balance the California state budget (he wants to close 48 total—thanks, Arnie!) It would be a crime to close this beautiful park. If you have the time and inclination, please write letters to the governor and to Boxer & Feinstein and express your outrage at the proposition of taking away our precious recreation areas. Not only will this give us less places to go to enjoy nature, but it subjects these areas to neglect, vandalism, and sets them up for purchase by developers.

So get out there and go to your closest State Park as soon as you can. Support them or lose them! You will be rewarded by some of the last oasises of natural beauty in California.
[This missive composed while listening to Green Isac's "Strings and Pottery"]


Jim said...

Ahhhh Linda....

You made me homesick with these beautiful pictures of my longtime home.

I lived in Topanga from 1964 until 1980 and spent so many magic hours roaming those hillsides and canyons.

Linda Navroth said...

Hi Jim,

Yes, it's a beautiful place when it's green! Too hot & brown in the summer for me though. But I'll be going up there again this weekend to take another birding friend of mine!