Tuesday, September 5, 2006

The trip of all trips

If you drive south on the 1 just past the Hearst castle, on the out skirts of San Simeon, you will see zebras in a field with cows. I kid you not. My own mother didn't believe me! I was on the phone with her the exact second I spotted them and said "hold on Mom, what is that! Guys do you see that!?" I squinted my eyes and said out loud "are those zebras?" Aaron looked, Jake looked, and Andrew looked, and yes they were in fact zebras prancing around with cows of all things! How peculiar. "You better take a picture because no one will believe you." my mom told me. My camera battery died early on into our trip so no picture was taken. Nonetheless they were there.

Our trip to Big Sur was sprinkled with various animal encounters. It started on Wednesday with the condors. We were on our way to sand dollar beach, located just down the mountain from our campsite. We had pulled to the side of the road briefly, I can't remember why, and out of no where flies up this enormous condor with a pink head and the number 96 stamped, stapled (however they do it) to one of his wings, or was it his leg? I can't remember. He was fantastic and all of three feet from my car window. Not a minute later, another one arrived on the scene, and took his place next to the pink headed one. He was number 11 and he had a black head. I have never seen a real ,live, wild condor and it was pretty cool. Amelia kept saying "wow!," which cracked the boys up!

The next day we went to Andrew Moalver beach ( I don't think that's what it's really called, I can't remember exactly. It's Andrew M-something). The hike down to the ocean was a mile. On the way there the boys and Aaron sped ahead. I was left behind with slow poke Amelia, who insisted, as usual, that she would rather walk then be carried! The slow pace forced me to stop and notice everything from the elaborate branches on the trees, to the wild flowers, to the lizards, to the dragonflies, and finally to the song birds. There is something to be said about taking your own sweet time. I was really able to take everything in. The walk reminded why I love hiking so much.

On the way back Aaron decided to carry Amelia and again he sped ahead. I told the boys that if they were really quiet and paid attention they would see things in nature that they wouldn't normally notice (my dad always told me that when i was there age. In return I would roll my eyes and say "I KNOW DAD!"). Not two minutes later Andrew whispered "Mom,look!". There in front of us were four deer (one of which was a stag). I had never seen a stag before so it was really, realy cool. The two smaller of the deer looked right at us and we looked back for what seemed like a long time and then we quietly continued on.

Besides those animals, we saw more on the drive back home to san Diego (all through the car window). In all we came across 11 deer, four of which where running from a mountain lion that I didn't have the privilege of seeing. Only Andrew glimpsed that rare moment. I still kind of think it might have been a cow but he swears that it was in fact a mountain lion. "duh, what do you think they were running from mom! Why would they run from a cow." Andrew said rather snidely after I suggested the mountain lion was merely a cow.

my camera did not last long on our trip. I should've been more prepared and brought my back up piece of crap digital one. My film camera takes fantastic pictures and I didn't even consider the idea that the battery would die nor did I factor in the idea that ho dunk mountain shops wouldn't carry the battery my camera takes. My camera lasted all of two days and then I bought a disposable camera that was terribly overpriced. It made it through a day and half. I am trigger happy and tend to go through a roll of film, on an average day in about 1-2 hours. I couldn't bring myself to spend another $20 on a cheapy disposable camera. I really think that the reason my camera died was so that the next time we go back up to Big Sur we will be just as enchanted by everything. It will all be fresh and new with our lack of photo documentation to remind us of just how breathtaking it is (glass half full!). I think I can go as far as saying it is one of the most beautiful places in the world.

After trips or just plain normal days I always ask the kids "What was your favorite moment?" Always it is something unexpected and their view on what we saw and did makes the memory that much more brilliant. Andrew's favorite moment was collecting rocks at jade cove. He was perched on a big rock just over the ocean watching Aaron as he gathered handfuls of rocks and polished jade from the shore, each time a big wave would come Andrew would frantically yell and say "daddy be careful!". He liked watching out for his dad. Andrew is the protector in the family. He very much assumes the responsibilities that go along with being the oldest kid.

Jake said his favorite moment was hiking up buzzard roost and finding the baby lizard on the trail. Aaron liked seeing the condors up close. My favorite was going to Pfeiffer beach. I loved how much it resembled Ireland with it's greeness and large rocks jutting out of the ocean up to the sky. It is the most beautiful beach I have ever seen. There was a small creek there that lead into the ocean. Amelia and I had a great time wading through it. I think that was her favorite moment too, that and the smores!