Four new caches motivated me, sissopolis, EcuaDeb and both Foocachers to return to Ormond Beach. And BWidget (Bill) needed all 19 caches there. Beach hiking/caching was also a welcome change from the Backbone Trail (BBT) and the still hot temperatures in the SFV. Without pressure to beat the heat we started late, at 9:40am. And for the first time in our experience, Walter the official birdman of Ventura County wasn’t there to greet us at the trailhead.
’Bossy’ EcuaDeb issues marching orders.
Almost right away we saw 3 grounded pelicans along the trailside canal. One was only 10’ from us and didn’t fly away. We stopped, wondered if it was stuck or sick, and kept walking. Later we saw dead birds, including pelicans, scattered every few dozen feet for miles along the hike.
We made the turn from canal-side into the dunes.
Someone pointed out a dune plant that looks like miner’s lettuce but is more fleshy, like a succulent. I noted its similarity to dichondra. Can anyone identify it?
BWidget and Foo (Jr) watched as (Sr) helped EcuaDeb extract her arm from a pipe. But it took a hiking stick to finally retrieve the hike-a-key cache that someone dropped 4’ down.
In addition to all the dead birds we saw 3 dead sea lions and avoided more by turning away when we smelled their characteristic stench first. How do I know that we saw sea lions and not seals? I could be wrong, but the 1 skull and 2 (decomposed) heads were pointed. And all the harbor seals I’ve ever seen had much rounder heads. The bodies were too far gone to see ears or back flippers.
At the top of our loop we cached along a marshy bay. It was scenic IF you didn’t look too closely at the algae/trash filled water.
We turned West, then South and walked & cached back to parking. There were far fewer bird carcasses near the waterline.
Though the entire hike was only 5 miles, walking through soft sand was harder on my bad knee than hiking the same distance in the mountains. At least the hike was mostly flat!
Bill left to attempt an FTF in Santa Barbara. Sissopolis & I made our long awaited return to Pho Saigon in nearby Port Hueneme and introduced it to Deb and the Foos. It was unexpectedly crowded and chaotic for a mid-afternoon Sunday. We eventually got our food and “jelly drinks.” It was a really great caching day, pho sho.