Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Monarch's Rest

In addition to rectifying an old DNF, chaosmanor and I found several very interesting caches.  One of the ones that will stick out in my mind will be Monarch's Rest.  When we were planning our route, we were basing the route around getting some of the virtual flags that both of us like to collect at GeoVexilla.

Because we were headed towards Cambria, along California's central coast, we would be traveling along either the 101 or Hwy 1 depending upon where we were going to be in any particular segment.  We'd been traveling along the 101 for awhile and were headed over to Pismo State Beach which fronts along Hwy 1, sort of where the two roads join up.  Pismo State Beach is one of the major wintering grounds for the Monarch butterflies.  What better spot for the Monarch's to rest than along the El Camino Real, The King's Highway.

There's a virtual cache at the spot that you're only supposed to be able to log during the winter months because that's when the Monarchs are there.  When I was planning this route, I happened to see this cache on the map and thought it would be interesting to visit.  It was also wintering season, so there was the bonus of getting one of those yellow smileys that we geocachers love to get.

When we got there, there was an interpretive session going on by one of the docents, but we chose to wander the paths, to discover the Monarchs all by ourselves.  Immediately, we spotted one sitting by itself on a eucalyptus tree.  As we walked, I could see one flying through the trees, but we weren't seeing a large clusters that I'd heard about so I was a little disappointed.  I'd seen a Monarch once in Kings Canyon National Park, but I was hoping to see some of the wintering behavior.

As we hiked along the backside trail, we didn't see anything other butterflies, so we decided to go back up and walk along the main trail.  Both of us enjoyed the solitude of the lower trail as there weren't any other people along that trail.  And for good reason because we realized our error as soon as we got up to the main trail where the multitudes of other people were.  Hundreds upon hundreds of butterflies were clustered in the eucalyptus trees.

I think what was really impressive about the display was not the butterflies, but the quietness of the people in the grove.  It was almost like they were entering a shrine or church of some kind.  Even small children, upon seeing the butterflies, opened their mouths in wonder, but there wasn't a lot of the screaming and inconsiderate behavior that we commonly find in other areas where it really should be quieter.  It was refreshing to see and hear.

Geocaching continues to bring me to these kinds of places, places that I either didn't know about, or were possibly off the beaten track where I would normally go.  I very rarely get to travel in the fall or winter due to my work, but because my school was off the entire week of Thanksgiving, I had the opportunity to discover this area.  I'm glad that I saw this particular cache on one of the geocaching maps.

Pictures were taken at or near the following geocache:

Monarch's Rest - by Jon & Miki (Adopted by Scooterman)

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1 comment:

annienz said...

Wow!!!! That's all I can see.
I've seen Monarchs here one or two at a time, but those photos are amazing!

Annie