Place: Cabrillo National Monument, Sam Diego, California
Coordinates: 32.668319, -177.244522
Length: about 0.5 mile in and out
The best distraction from actual hiking is the exploration of natural wonders such as tide pools. When we learned upon arriving Cabrillo National Monument that there are nice tide pools there and that low tide is expected in the afternoon we quickly dropped all our previous plans for after our Bayside hike. In stead, upon completing the hike we headed to the tide pools area to check it out.
This wasn't what I normally consider a hike because the walk the parking lot is very short. Despite the popularity of this place we were fortunate to find a parking spot that allowed us to minimize the hike and maximize our time at the pools.
|Our walk from the Point Loma Tide Pools parking area to the tide pools|
|Golden-club Cactus, Bergerocactus emoryi|
The trail ends in a sort of high natural rock platform that overlooks the tide pools. By the time I got there the chikas were already down in the main area of the pools. I do not post a photo of this area here because all that can bee seen in these photos are the gazillion people that were there too that day. Focused my attention a little further out where the pools end and the ocean begun.
|Sedimentary rock layers topped with alluvial sand|
I climbed down to the main area of the tide pools. My first challenge was to find the rest of my family in the crowd. It took me a while but eventually I detected the younger chika as she crouched over a small pool with hermit crabs. She informed me that the elder chika went around the big rocks in the deeper pools and that Pappa Quail went with her. I sat with my young chika for a some time, then wandered off to do some exploration myself. My other challenge was to get wide shots with as few people as possible. Later, I even had to crop those. It was really busy there that day.
Other than people, hermit crabs were the most active beings in the tide pools. It is, of course, their home, unlike the human visitors of Point Loma. Soon I, like my chika, was couching over a tide pool, mesmerized by the movements of the hermit crabs as they glided to and fro in the warm, shallow water, going about their business.
|Elder Chika Quail exploring the tide pools|
As I was climbing down (descending mostly on my behind) I paid attention to the critters stuck to the rocks. The move around during high tide and when the water recedes they adhere to the rock face to protect themselves from dehydration as well as predators.
Many of the rocks had round depressions done by acids secreted by mollusks. I don't know how long it takes them to dissolve a hole like that or wether it's done by a single animal or more. I'll look it up in the near future.
Some of the creatures I found at the pools were very familiar to me from the tide pools in Northern California.
|Sand Castle Worm colony|
Every now and then I got rewarded by a crab that didn't run away from me but continued grazing peacefully on the sleek rocks.
Waves of green grass moved gently with the water. These were bunches of surf grass - a true plant, not an alga.
|Surf Grass, Phyllospadix torreyi|
|Rockweed, Silvestia compressa|
|Feather Boa Kelp, Egregia menziesii|
|Bladdewrack, Fucus sp.|
|Goldenbush, Ericameria sp.|