Across California: On the Trail Again
Bitter Creek National Wildlife Refuge is a key connector between Tejon Ranch, Wind Wolves, and the Carrizo Plain National Monument (CPNM). Mike Stockton, the manager,is doing a fantastic job of bringing an old 9,000 acre cattle ranch back to more natural conditions. In addition to condor recovery, the Refuge has a growing herd of tule elk. Biologist Joseph Brant led us on a merry chase up on steep hill and down into narrow canyons. On Wednesday, we had easy level hiking up the center of the plain. We saw one pronghorn earlier and three after we made camp. This is the farthest south I have ever seen them on the Monument. Fence removal projects I have worked on for six years are paying off. "Prongs" do not jump over barbed wire fences.
We found several of these as we crossed Wind Wolves Preserve. They are becoming increasingly scarce. Their main food is harvester ants, which are destroyed by Argentine ants. Wherever human development encroaches, horned lizards disappear.
From the crest of the Caliente Range: after a layover day at Selby Camp on the CPNM, we are back in the walking mode. Today -- 29 April -- we cross the Carrizo Ecological Reserve and enter the Los Padres National Forest. Six days to go to get to Morro Bay. They will not be easy.
-- Cal French
Cal, 74, a member of the Sierra Club for 42 years, is trekking 530 miles from the Colorado River to the Pacific Ocean to highlight the threatened natural corridors of Southern California. Cal sits on the Sierra Club Santa Lucia Chapter Board. He is blogging from a BlackBerry.