Faeryland to branded sea lions

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sea lion montereymonterey beauty   It’s been nearly fourteen years since I was here last. I was visiting my grandmother for two weeks and she brought me here to see the aquarium, still on of the best memories of my childhood. It was the last time I saw her, though she only passed away last spring. I just couldn’t make it back across thecountry until now. Monterey is much as I remember it though also, as always happens when you grow up, smaller and more expensive. I could lay on the rocks with the sea lions for years andstill never see all the possible combinations of beauty. Not able to afford $40 each to tour the aquarium again, we decided to go to the source and walked up the pier, wishing we had brought food for the obviously spoiledsea creatures. Making it out to the end of the pier to gaze in awe and the hundreds of sea lions, Aaron spotted one that had, I am not joking, been BRANDED FOUR TIMES! Now, I don’t believe in branding animals in general, and wild ones even less. Thisis the 21stcentury, their are more humane ways to mark an animal for scientific observation. That kindof treatment is just disgusting.branded sea lion  poor animal 😦

Other than the poor sea lion, our time here has been, I feel, the best since weleft Santa Fe- we are all healthy again, the culture here is very laid back and welcoming. We’ve already made friends with a handful of travelers and some locals who have invited us out to seetheir places and give us tips on land for sale in the area. We’ve been street vending with moderate success, esp considering that today has been rainy and Zoe and I forgot our baskets( we make badass gift baskets and pretty much all the the stuff inside them). Camping in the area is a bit of an issue, we drove around for about four hours looking for aplace that we could camp legally and finally found one single spot- it’s off the del monte exit after reservation rd heading north from monterey( Thereare about six del monte’s make sure it’s the one after reservation rd) turn off del monte onto lapis rd which is the first rd you’ll see. It’s off the road by a bunch of farmland, but the owners don’t seem to mind and we haven’t seen any cops in the area. As usual, if you camp there, be courteous, don’t litter, don’t damage the land, it gives us all a bad name.

palo romancepalo tree hugging  palo beautyZoe having fun taking pictures of Aaron and I planning our tree house in the faery woods 😀

The best part of all the crazy driving around though was stumbling across a place called Palo Colorado, which turned out to be an “interpretive site” part of the National Forest- it’s a Faery paradise is what it is really. We gleefully hiked the area, trying to figure out if it would be possible to get away with building a Hobbit Hole inside one of the trees and justifying it by keeping the forest immaculate. I think it would be a life well spent personally, but alas, the forest service frowns on such frolics. I had dreams of what it would be like to be part of the first peoples following the little creek flowing through, to find it suddenly open up to the ocean with not a power line or paved road in site…. ah, nostalgia, I think I’d get back to appreciating vaccines for smallpox, internet and printing presses pretty quickly, but a hippie can dream. I guess it’s more a wish that we could figure out a balance of both worlds- you’d think with all the tech we have, at this point minimal environmental damage would be easy, but it’s not profitable, so continues on the age old battle of “progress vs nature”. My meandering point is that I will remember the enchantment of that place forever. We are planning to do more hiking tomorrow and heading onwards to San Fran on monday or tuesday, depending on how things go.

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