Update 2: May 12, 2006

Channel Islands National Park: May 1-4, 2006 (Location 4 on the Map)

Channel Islands National Park is a series of islands off the coast of Ventura, California. We weren't even aware of its existence prior to planning for the trip. The only way to get to each of the five islands that allow visitors is by boat or plane (depending on which island you're visiting). We stayed at McGrath State Beach during this part of the trip, which is the closest camping to the park.

Our entire stay here was overcast and sometimes drizzling. Regardless, we spent time on the beach letting Justin play and indulging Susan her birding pursuits. We took a boat ride out to Santa Cruz island one day. This was Justin's first boat ride (other than the Jungle Cruise at Disneyland, which doesn't really count). We were hoping to see some whales on the ride, but had to settle for some Dahl's porpoises in the distance. Justin's patience was rewarded at the end of the hour-long ride with a sea lion that had hauled out on the rocks near the pier. We spent a few hours hiking around the island, but unfortunately we were never able to see much due to the fog and drizzle. Still, it was a worthwhile visit, and we were able to check off our third National Park.

New birds we spotted at McGrath State Beach: Brown Pelican, Gadwall, Killdeer, American Avocet, Wilson's Snipe.

For photos from McGrath State Park and Channel Islands, Click Here

Morro Bay/San Luis Obispo: May 4-7 2006 (Location 5 on the Map)

We've always liked this area, which is why it made our itinerary again on this trip. If it weren't for the million-dollar homes at Morro Bay, we'd consider moving here. Of course, it is still in California, so we probably wouldn't move here anyway.

We spent our time here riding bikes and hiking from Morro Bay State Park along the beach and out to Morro Rock. All of Morro Bay is considered a bird sanctuary, so Susan once again had binoculars and a bird book in her hand.

We wanted to climb on a couple of small formations nearby, but they turned out not to be suitable for having Justin there without someone else along to watch him. Plus, after a 15-minute jog up the trail to scope out one of them, Jeff returned with three ticks, which probably would have presented a problem if Justin would have been up there bush-whacking around while we climbed. We consoled ourselves with the fact that the rocks were only about 25-feet high anyway, and probably would not have been worth the effort.

New birds we spotted at Morro Bay: Black-Crowned Night Heron, Black Scoter, Willet, White-Crowned Sparrow, "Oregon" Junco.

For photos from Morro Bay, Click Here

Pinnacles National Monument: May 7-10 2006 (Location 6 on the Map)

Our first visit to Pinnacles was a good one, even though we once again didn't get any climbing in. We are somewhat limited to the type of climbing we can do with Justin along, and it's now even harder that he doesn't like to sit still. In the old days, before he was mobile, we could take along the portable playpen and he'd be content to stay inside. That doesn't work any more, because now he likes to be part of the action.

Fortunately there are a lot of trails at Pinnacles, so we spent our days hiking. Justin got to visit his first cave, and even got the honor of wearing a headlamp and leading Susan through the cave. We love the fact that he's getting so many new experiences on this trip.

New birds we spotted at Pinnacles: California Condor, Western Bluebird, Acorn Woodpecker, Yellow-Billed Magpie, White-Breasted Nuthatch.

For photos from Pinnacles National Monument, Click Here

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