Crazy Weekend at Ano Nuevo

Elephant Seals at Ano Nuevo (photo credit: Tom Mangan)

Oh boy! This weekend at Ano Nuevo State Park was super crazy. Yesterday I led two hikes and today I led two more. Each hike is four miles round trip. I hiked 16 miles over mostly sand and dunes. That is normal for me — I lead hikes (as a volunteer naturalist) at the park. This is Ano Nuevo’s busiest season: The adult elephant seals are ashore birthing, breeding and mating.

Who’s in Charge?

The elephant seals delighted us with their antics as they moved around, inadvertently penning us in. One group of hikers got trapped for a while atop what we call High Willow, a prime elephant seal viewing area. Oh, don’t worry, it’s not as bad as it sounds. The park rangers gave the go ahead for the group before mine to enter the High Willow viewing area. Then when I arrived with my group about 15-minutes later, the elephant seals had blocked the path. Federal law mandates that we not be within 25 feet of the animals. I couldn’t, therefore, take my group up to High Willow and the group that was already there couldn’t get back down. The seals were in charge.25 feet back warning

Equal Access Boardwalk
Then there was the business with the equal access boardwalk that some of us slaved over this summer as we got it ready for this current season. Yesterday I was able to lead hikes out to that viewing spot. But today? Not at all. The rangers had to close off entry to the boardwalk because the animals had taken it over! I guess they’re saying to themselves, “Silly humans! It’s accessible to us but not to you!” I am sure happy to see the seals doing so well and taking charge of their habitat. Too bad though, that the wheelchair visitors couldn’t really get to see much of the seals’ carrying-ons.

If you are interested in learning more about the elephant seal hikes, click this link for a short overview: Ano Nuevo by Every Trail. I do not agree with the writer that the seals “aren’t pretty.” I say, I say, they are just as gorgeous as my sea cows that roamed the sea on the south coast of Jamaica. Soooo cute!

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Some previous posts on elephant seals and Ano Nuevo State Park are listed below:

8 thoughts on “Crazy Weekend at Ano Nuevo

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      1. Crazy! My two younger cousins, brothers, were like that. The younger one would be minding his business, reading, playing with his toys, and the older one would then start something and next thing you know, the little one loses it and practically murders the bigger one.

  1. Hi Kay,

    I didn’t know you volunteered there. I’ve organized a trip for our homeschoolers this weekend on Monday at 9:15 and 9:30. It would be fantastic if you lead one of our groups and mostly, if I could finally meet you in person.

    It’s wonderful that you do that and it sounds like you must be in good shape to hike and talk that much. What a wonderful way to contribute to nature and community.

    1. Oh yes, my first season volunteering at Ano was winter 2012-13. This winter, 2013-4 is my second and I’m loving it. I usually schedule my hikes for back-to-back, Saturdays and Sundays and overnight in Pigeon Point/Pescadero area to cut down on driving time and gas/pollution contribution. Every once in a while I do do weekdays, usuallyon a Friday when there are school group hikes. So you will miss me. You have fun on your trip and maybe I will read about it on your blog. And yes, some day we will definitely have to meet up with one another. Kay Rodriques


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