Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Trip through Carrizo Plain National Monument
On the second day of our post-Thanksgiving road trip, we headed inland from the coast to Carrizo Plains National Monument, in hopes of finding some pronghorn antelope. We did find them, but I didn't get any good images (they were too far off) -- but maybe I'll tack one or two onto a later post, anyway. During the afternoon we drove a loop of what was basically the entire length of the park, and in the southeast corner, we crossed over what I believe is the tip of the Temblor Range. After driving for over an hour in what was more desert than grassland, it was a true delight to take this tiny dirt road over these hills. The view from the top was just spectacular!
As a note to anyone interested in visiting the park (which I do highly recommend!), the roads are not well marked, and we missed this turnoff, as it looked like any of the other non-descript dirt roads.
This is a place I would love to spend more time in -- it gave me a great appreciation for plains ecosystems (something I have not spent much time in), and it would be awesome to photograph these magical grasslands during the golden hours of light. While I don't have any pictures to show, I can tell you that the park took on a whole different and truly spectacular character as the sun rapidly approached the horizon. The tips of all of the grasses just lit up, and it almost looked as if snow had covered the ground. We got to experience this beautiful scene from the car, as we raced the last of the light to get out of the park and back to a farming field we saw on the way in that had the pronghorn in it. To our delight, they were in the same area at the end of the day, and we were able to watch them through the binoculars until it was finally too dark.