Friday, September 10, 2010

Butterflies and Dr. Suess trees

Pacific Grove, CA

Our next goal in Monterey was to find those elusive pine trees that only naturally grow in three places, one being Monterey. Josh has an innate sense for finding things we are looking for and it didn’t take him long to come to a neighborhood that boasted it was a “butterfly town.” I had learned from my tree book that the Monarch butterfly winter in the Monterey pine, so this was a good sign we were close. Sure enough, over the next hill was a protected park of Monterey Pines. They were unlike any conifer I have ever seen. Tall trunks stretched up about 70 ft., with branches emerging from the top five feet, then twisting and flattening out like a mushroom top. They looked like something from the mind of Dr. Seuss!

The undergrowth was also interesting. Coastal Live Oaks grew scraggly and dripping white lichen. They looked diseased, the leaves struggling to grow in spite of the lichen overtaking its host. The golden evening light sifting through the pine and oak leaves gave the whole place a dreamy quality. I could hear the waves on the shore and children playing in their backyards. There was such a magical everydayness to that evening. Well satisfied on finding the rare pines, we traveled south into the Big Sur. The story continues...

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