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Sunday, April 29, 2007

Did you ever think you were about to fall off a cliff?

I spent about two hours at Castle Rock thinking that today.

It all started off fine. There were the usual trees. (BTW, mini me joined Stillman and me on this hike--the three of us will hereinafter in this entry be referred to as "Charlie's Angels.") But, there was also some new stuff!

Castle Rock has a lot of what are called "tafoni" rocks. At first, Charlie's Angels thought that these pockmarked rocks were created by water dripping onto a smooth rock surface, and we figured that the rocks that had pockmarks on a vertical surface were created when a rock rolled onto its side after being pockmarked. (Capice?) But, no. Charlie's Angels were wrong, and that wouldn't be the only time we were wrong that day (see infra). Tafoni rocks are created in a completely different way.

Then, we came across a pair of trees trees that appeared to be grafted together! Here, take a closer look at the connecting limb between the two trees. We also saw a tree that appeared to be signaling a left turn. But, we Angels couldn't let our guard down, especially not when were were warned about the ferocious animals roaming the forest (maybe even right next to us but silently!). Luckily, we only saw a snake crossing the road and a lizard getting its tan on.

After getting out of the foresty area, we got a glimpse of the ocean. (No, MonkeyPig, the ocean isn't really clear there, but you get the idea.) Along this area were many manzanitas (which are my current favorite) and madrones. The trees at Castle Rock were remarkable because a lot of them actually had to grow out of rocks or out of the side of a hill.

Somewhere along the way, we took a wrong turn and added about a mile onto our hike. It wasn't Stillman's fault AT ALL.

When we got back on the right track, that's when things turned scary. Now, I usually take about 125 to 150 photos each time I go on a hike (I choose the best photos to post on the blog), but I only took 45 photos at Castle Rock, and only a quarter of them were taken during the second half of the hike. Why? Well, because I was afraid that I was going to fall off the side of a cliff. Don't be fooled by the plants along the right side of the photo. They are growing out of a cliff. And, don't be fooled by what looks to be a smooth path. There was much scrambling up and down of ROCKS dusted with SLIPPERY DUST! I'm totally serious, folks. I was S-C-A-R-E-D. It was great for half-man, half-goat Angels like Stillman and mini me. But, for those of us who fall down whole flights of stairs in front of crowds? It was a real problem. So, that's why there aren't a lot of photos of the treacherous second half of the hike. I was scared out of my head that I would go tumbling off a cliff the whole time. There were a lot of beautiful flowers because that part was really sunny, but I only took one photo of a cream colored wild iris. There were SWATHS of them. I'm talking SWATHS, but I don't have the photos of the swaths. I would've taken more photos of the flowers, but I was too busy trying not to plunge to my death.

Anyhow, toward the end, we finally made it to Castle Rock (the actual rock). It looks kinda like this, but bigger. No, it actually looks like this but there were trees in the way. There was a nice observation deck where we watched rock climbers scale up the rock face. This guy was Stillman's favorite. There was also a waterfall but, by that point, Charlie's Angels were all exhausted and ready to go home. It was really fun, though, and I'm going back soon to master the rocks!


Sooooo Charlie! said...

Once upon a time there were three little girls who went to Castle Rock - two from Los Angeles, the other from San Francisco - and they were each assigned very hazardous duties. But I took them away from all that, and now they work for me. My name is Charlie...Charlie Valentine.

Good work, Angels!

Nonny Nu said...

Charlie, have you ever thought that you were about to fall off a cliff?

Sooooo Charlie! said...

No, but I once had an impulse to jump as I leaned over the Hoover Dam.

mini me said...

honestly, i had some tofurkey for breakfast. that made all the difference between nonny-no-i-can't-prance-over-rocks and me, half-analyst-half-goat. so the take away from all of this: tofurkey trumps lollipops, always. and don't you forget it.

Nonny Nu said...

that made all the difference between nonny-no-i-can't-prance-over-rocks and me, half-analyst-half-goat.
I'm really going to miss you when you die of the rat poison in the cookies I'll be baking for you.