Today was my monthly day trip day! And after hearing about “Rancho” during my internship all summer, I finally made it out there to see a bit of it!
So, “Rancho” (as they call it) is the most recent acquisition (I believe) of the GGNRA. It’s very rustic I’ve heard, as they haven’t had much time to work on it. One of my mentors spent a good deal of his time there this summer. So it had this air of mystique about it. No more! I have been there and done that!
Well, a supersmallpart of it, at least. The only Easy trail on AllTrails was the Farallone Road Trail Loop. I like Easy. I like Loops. Win-Win!
Turns out, it’s kind of what you’d expect for a “rancho,” I guess? I don’t know! You could tell where parts looked like they were used for agriculture. Lots of non-native weeds. But there were many butterflies (mostly Common Ringlets) and some skippers, so I was happy.
After an alltooquick bit in the shade (where Great Horsetail and Montbretia and a Dusky-footed Woodrat house was), it was open expanse for days it seemed. A Sandhill Skipper (?) and Vivid Dancer led the way out into the sunshine. Then a Gray Buckeye fiercely made known that spot was not mine. And once I was on the narrow trail on the West side, I caught sight of an Acmon Blue fairy that luckily landed and remained for a while for me. I even got to see it move its wings in a back and forth motion that I need to look up. Got video of it doing that before an ant decided that was NOT COOL.
It’s been such clear days lately, and I was grateful for another day of it so I could enjoy the views of the ocean. Even saw the haunting outlines of the Farallones! From the Farallone Road Trail Loop, to boot!
More flying beauties continued to emerge, like another Sandhill Skipper (?), Common Ringlets, Mottled Pyrausta Moth (first time ever seeing that gorgeous underside!!), Seven-spotted Lady Beetle, more Ringlets (like everywhere I looked), and another Gray Buckeye or two.
Coffeeberry berries and Muehlenberg’s Centaury pink flowers were welcome sights. As was a Pallid-winged Grasshopper?
Then I spotted a newtome flower, the Sessileflower False Goldenaster. Another yellowdaisything with a crazy long name.
Started making my way up and enjoyed seeing Orange Bush Monkeyflower start to dominate. But then A WALL was ahead. This trail was labeled “Easy???” Come on, now. Any severe incline cannot allow for a trail to be called “Easy,” folks. Sometimes it’s like I’m not convinced folks understand what that word means.
Fortunately for yours truly, there was a shortcut! Which had a bench! And a group of what looked like juvenile Western Bluebirds! The trail soon turned into a small forest of pine trees, which was welcome relief from the sun. And soon I was back out in it. But Common Ringlets and two orangeish dragonflies and two true orange butterflies fighting with each other all entertained me as I made my way back to where I started.
And there was that first Gray Buckeye. Still in its spot. Still letting me know it wasn’t my spot. Not at all!
So, Rancho. The South end is a great spot for butterflies and other flying creatures right now. Looking forward to finding other spots out there soon.