Mori Point (2/6/2022)

Today we returned to Mori Point. We had no intention of the timing, but about two years ago this time of year was just before the pandemic. And, we came here with Brian’s mother, who was visiting. I think maybe it was the only time she saw the ocean during that visit? And, it was likely my idea, as I firmly believe you should see the ocean if you’re visiting nearby. It’s a thing of beauty.

First off, is this a vision of SPRINGTIME, or WHAT?

Our last visit was a simple one. We just took the Old Mori Trail out to the ocean and came back. And, I wasn’t anywhere close to being a naturalist back then. This time, we also kept it simple. After an unexpectedly intense hike yesterday in Tilden, I wanted something truly “Easy.” So, we took the same Old Mori Trail out, went to Mori Point, and came back via the Coastal Trail > Lishumsha Trail > Upper Mori Road.

Everywhere I go now, that I’ve been before, is a totally new place to me now that I’m a naturalist. So, this was a very different visit. Started off with some Firethorn (TBIDed) blooming to greet us. An Anna’s Hummingbird made itself known as we walked by. We soon came upon a good sized pond, with a Mallard couple and a handful of female Buffleheads. Nearby, a couple frogs were croaking for us. And, of course, they shut up completely as we got close.

We continued onto the lovely boardwalk section, where Brian spotted A BUNNY! It was slowly hopping in a straight line, close to the shrubs. Absolute luck that I was able to get a photo. Brush Rabbit? Brian is always the one who sees the bunnies. It’s a talent I wish I had.

I don’t remember so many ponds last time! Did it rain at all that winter we were here last??

The day was a mighty fine one to be out and near the ocean. It’s such a stunner in the sunshine.

We climbed up the long staircase (aka Bootlegger’s Steps) to get to Mori Point itself. On the way, I saw two beautiful American Wild Carrot (I think) flower clusters. Never seen the pink ones before!

Mori Point was quite nice. I love when you walk straight to the ocean and see nothing else between the cliff edge and it. Like you could walk straight into it.

Darling pink Dwarf Checkermallow dotted the cliff edges, along with some adorable Red Maids here and there. Plus, what looked like California Buttercups. The flora were roped off, so it was tough to get close to. But, I’m happy to keep people from trampling on them all. Even if all I want to do is nuzzle in all those flowers.

We started heading back to the last half of our easy loop, and I spotted a raptor ahead and in a tree. A Red-tailed Hawk was just chilling there. We watched it fly off and soar down the coast to join another Red-tailed Hawk swirling above. Nice.

Right around there, I spotted some Paintbrush mixed in with random Bermuda Buttercups and whatnots. Wight’s Paintbrush! And, one was a unique orangeish color I haven’t seen before. The ones down at Rodeo Lagoon, where I first saw them, were not as brightly colored as these. Near them, a Seven-spotted Lady Beetle was hanging out and let me pick it up to crawl over my fingers.

And, as I was admiring a couple blooming Beach Strawberry flowers, a lady walking with a man asked me, “What did you find?” And, I said, “Oh, just some Beach Strawberry.” I assume most people aren’t terribly excited to see the simple white flowers, like I am. I then said, “But, there’s some pretty Paintbrush just over there.” She said, “Paintbrush?” And, I went on to describe it for her. She thanked me. And, I hoped she was able to discern them from the Bermuda Buttercups.

It’s strange, but I am so happy to share such things with interested strangers. In the same (perhaps?) way I am pleased to give people directions when asked. The best feeling to me is that someone looks at me and thinks I know stuff. It’s THE BEST.

The trails back were nice and mostly empty. Of people and fauna. But, it was peaceful. One small Orange Bush Monkeyflower was out, with many bushes nearby. A good sign of what’s to come. And, some Cotoneaster berries brightened up the end of our trail.

On a gorgeous day, like today, the whole place is a real treat to see. I’m so looking forward to coming back in the real spring.

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