Friday, September 18, 2009

Hiking on Santa Cruz

Local boaters anchored nearby told us about a nice 4 mile roundtrip hike, and said that we would not need a permit, so we decided to try it. Santa Cruz has an interesting history -- for over a century it was farmed and ranched, then in 1987 it passed into the hands of The Nature Conservancy.

TNC has vowed to protect and restore it, by removing invasive species and limiting human impact on the island's many endemic species.

On our hike we were fortunate to see several of these, including the island fox, several species of endemic oak trees, and Santa Cruz Island pine (regarded by some botanists as a subspecies of Bishop pine).

We saw two foxes, one an adult, and another smaller one that may have been a juvenile. The juvenile appeared quite curious and let us get to within a few feet of it. These foxes are about 1/3 smaller than mainland foxes, and beautifully marked.

We also saw an ephemeral pond with a lot of succulent ferns and flowers around it, a visual surprise in this otherwise dry environment.

1 comment:

Bend Richard said...

Vickie, Mark;
Thanks for keeping the blog updated. Its a pleasure to be able to see and read about the places you're visiting.
S.C. island is beautiful above ground and below sea level.