CarpinteriaLocate the trailhead.
Disappointed with Toro Canyon for being exactly what a reasonable person with the information I had would expect it to be, and not a way into Oil Canyon, I went down to the bluffs. Below the bluffs, the tar seeps out onto the sand and hardens. I parked in the dirt lot between two people enjoying the area by sitting in their cars talking on their phones. I headed west toward a farm on the end, then turned to cross the tracks at get to the cliffs. I stopped for more drawing on the clifftop, then took the old road down to the beach. A sign marked the beach to the west, where the seeps are, as closed for the harbor seals, but also said that closure ended with May. More pressingly, the tide seemed to be coming in and some of the points of rock were getting washed by the higher waves. With a little timing, I made it to the seeps.
|Oil hardening into tar on the rocks it seeped out of. When it is warm, it flows, but today is overcast.|
|The tar gets over everything.|
|A look at the always moving ocean.|
|One of the oddities of erosion.|
|The bladder of a bull kelp found among some of the much smaller local kelp.|
|One of the ways to make a bigger rock from a smaller rock.|
|This one was peeping out an alarm cry to alert all to my presence. It didn't seem to be much heeded.|
|Whoops, the seals are still here.|
Then coming around one of those rock points, I saw a whole lot of large mammals lounging around on the beach. Since the seals were still here, I turned back and made my way back past all the tar seeps and back up the cliff. It's also illegal to "disturb" the seals, and if you do it right, the I'm sure the seals will show you why it's good sense to leave them alone. Continuing along the cliff, I found the overlook where humans may watch the antics of the seals on the beach below. I sat and sketched some more because I'd wanted to do more in my watercolor book and the varied harbor seals seemed like reasonable subjects.
|A few seals, lounging on all sides, while the ones closest to the water try to keep their flippers and noses out of the lapping waves.|
|Every once in a while, a seal would leave or come in, presumably from finding some nibbles.|
|The cormorants seemed very relaxed around the seals since this was also the only place to find them on the beach.|
|For a moment they seem to be all looking at me.|
Finally leaving the seals alone, I walked on along the blufftop trails to the east until it ended. There is a bathroom and sports field there, but not much walking. I spotted a few others out enjoying the day while I was there. Then I walked back.
|The freeway and train tracks and cliffs and the paragliders that flirt with it all. That's quite a number of them floating through the air today.|
©2012 Valerie Norton
Posted 15 Jun 2012