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2022 Trip Chronicles:    Contents

West Walker River 5/25
Point Lobos State Reserve 6/15
Point Lobos State Reserve 6/22
Pacific Grove 6/23

2022 Trip Chronicles:  Page 2

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West Walker River 5/25

Mid afternoon on Tuesday May 24, I began driving east in order to overnight near Sonora Pass so I could evaluate public campsites and conditions before 3 of my brothers in 2 vehicles arrived later the next day. In darkness a bit west of the mostly snowy pass, parked at a familiar spot then spent a quiet night sleeping inside on the back bed of my 2007 Forester. Was awake and soon on the road east over the 9.6k pass by dawn Wednesday May 25, 2022. Stopped a couple spots for snowy crest shots including the above with warm sunrise light. On this trip did not bring my Sony A6000 camera system but rather my tiny Canon ELPH190 compact digital camera. A bit after 6am reached the US395/SR108 junction then turned north on US395 along the shadowed West Walker River where I would drive assess a couple Toiyabe National Forest campgrounds. Drove through the mostly empty newer Bootleg Campground that is west of the highway and the returned south and went through the Chris Flat Campground where I noted one most excellent spot riverside. Next drove back to SR108 to take a look at the Sonora Bridge Campground up on the side of a rocky dusty north slope with pinyon pine and mountain mohoganny. Well the Chris Flat spot would be it as I filled out an envelope inserting $$, texted the others that were on their way, and set up camp. By late morning all had arrived, J, S, & M, and set up tents and gear.

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This was supposed to be a two night fishing oriented road trip and I didn't know what to expect because of the high late spring flows given melting snows even during this droughty year. Well two of us did fish a bit. Enough to realize it was futile so then spent the rest of the day enjoying ourselves along the interesting river, eating and relaxing.

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The next morning we rose late on Thursday May 26, 2022 given chilly sumping down canyon flows of mid 30F temperatures in the shadowed canyon. By 8am PDT sun had reached our campground, so J and I drove to Leavitte Meadow and briefly tried fishing the high silty river flows before returning to Chris Flat where we again had a most enjoyable relaxing day. On Friday May 27, we packed up as soon as sun reached down along the river and were soon off driving back home from our successful social brothers gathering.

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Point Lobos State Reserve 6/15

One of my favorite photography destinations has been Point Lobos State Reserve that is just south of Carmel on the Monterey Peninsula. I usually visit during May when wildflowers are at peak bloom, however this droughty year would only be interested in working rocky shores that requires choosing a day near the full moon with minus low tides near sunrise and high tide midday. So at sunrise Wednesday June 15, 2022 drove the 70 miles south on Highway 1 arriving about the time the park opens at 8am PDT, parking for free along the highway then walking in about a mile to the south shore areas. The 8am park entry means it is impossible to arrive at the optimal lowest tide near sunrise.

And this day as I looked at familiar areas, it was clear I would not be able to work the most interesting subjects that were underwater a foot lower. So instead explored the numerous muscle bed tide pools with the image above of California mussels, mytilus californianus, and giant green anemones, anthopleura xanthogrammica, sunburst anemone, anthopleura sola, and purple sea urchins, strongylocentrotus purpuratus. The mussels are often covered by various barnacle species. Note the smaller sunburst anemome top center. All these predatory species prey on the mussels. Note the crab claw in the anemone mid frame lower left. Look via the enlarged vertical slice view.

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My favorite shore zone of the park is Weston Beach that has some of the most fascinating sedimentary rocks on the Pacific Coast. It is not a beach at all but rather a rocky bedrock shore. The above image is of wave on rock smoothed 50 to 60 million year old Paleogene Period Carmelo Formation bedrock with colorful Jurassic andesite volcanic cobbles eroded out from conglomerate atop the sedimentary mudstone. Each high tide, the cobbles that tend to be at highest tide levels, are left in new locations atop the bedrock, so naturalness is refreshed most days for photographers.

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At mid tidal level, a colorful tan hued mudstone sedimentary channel tide pool with an array of invertebrate animals one can identify with the full image. Many turban snails, chlorostoma funebralis, many light green hued sunburst anemones, anthopleura sola, many rough limpets, macklintockia scabra, many owl limpets, lottia gigantea, volcano limpets, fissurella volcano, many acorn barnacles, balanus spp, seaweeds, and a coating of greenish algae on the bedrock surfaces of the deeper channel with wavy water distortions. I believe the black surface areas are a crustose form of black tar spot, mastocarpus spp algae. The red areas are deposits of surface rusted sedimentary ironstone nodules. The best time for such photography is midday when the sun is at a high altitude that better illuminates elements under water. The foraging snails, congregate in low areas of the turbulent channels as they feed at the top of tidal flows.

At page top are swirling patterns of a Carmelo Formation mudstone area with piles of andesite volcanic cobbles and pieces of white shells here partially underwater from wave flows at low spots. This section of Weston Beach has few limpets or barnacles due to erosive action of the rolling stones that also smooths the bedrock. At lower center are dark trace fossils of burrows animals made.

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Above is another section of swirling patterns of a Carmelo Formation mudstone with a few invertebrate animals at bedrock spots protected from the rolling stones.

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Above is a third section of swirling patterns of the Carmelo Formation mudstone that is such a fine photography subject. Note, the bedrock only looks this aesthetic when wet as the tide is just pushing waves higher up the shore. Thus an active game for this photographer, moving my tripod about near the top of wave flows while timing shots for moments when waves have somewhat receded enough to capture enough shots to focus stack. Obviously one needs to be wearing boots that can stand a bit of water.

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This photo was taken from the south end of Carmel Beach that has some of the finest white sand on our coast. That helps illuminate the shallow water with a more aesthetic light blue hue. The dark area is bull kelp anchored to underwater bedrock.

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Point Lobos State Reserve 6/22

A week later on Wednesday June 22, 2022 I returned to Point Lobos State Reserve. Since tides were reversed, I instead worked some other areas of the reserve. The above is a 4 column horizontal stitch blend panorama across Headland Cove with Monterey Cypress trees at frame left and right towards drifting fog at Sea Lion Rocks that has its sounds of barking animals.

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Given the moist marine air, reddish orange hued blue red algae, trentepohlia aurea, that grows benignly on branches of Monterey cypress, cupressus macrocarpa. A rare tree originally found at just two small locations on our coast line though subsequently is considerably planted as an ornamental elsewhere. Here is a close-up of a whitish cyan hued lichen with algae covered cypress branch at ground level plus some blooming seaside paintbrush, castilleja wightii.

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A close-up at Weston Cove of 2 large owl limpets, lottia gigantea, rough limpets, macklintockia scabra, some California mussels, mytilus californianus, volcano limpets, fissurella volcano, acorn barnacles, balanus spp, and seaweed on a drying mudstone bedrock surface. Note the fingered limpet limpet, lottia pelta, and rough limpet atop the middle limpet shell. The wet spot frame upper left is a shallow depression filled from splashing surf.

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Close-up of colorful Carmelo Formation sandstone patterns.

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Fascinating patterns of Weston Cove Carmelo Formation layered sandstone bedrock, boulders, and volcanic cobbles.

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Pacific Grove 6/23

Later in the afternoon, I drove to Pacific Grove shorelines where I'd visited a few years ago, and decided before driving home, there was plenty of subjects I could work. The next morning Thursday June 23, 2022 drove back south the 65 miles to the north shore of Pacific Grove where I had to wait for morning fog to burn off. The above image shot at 12 noon PDT, looks down from the bluff top wall at water smoothed and rounded granite boulders and white sands. Resistant to erosion granodiorite granitic rocks are uncommon along the California coast and were once part of a broken off section of the southern end of the Sierra Nevada basolith that the San Andreas fault has moved northward.

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Close-up view of a granite boulder with rusting iron minerals, covered with many many red thatched barnacles, tetraclita rubescens, plus a few acorn barnacles, owl limpets, and rough limpets. Frame upper left appears to probably be the calcified tube remains of a colony if calcareous tube worms. To appreciate the fine detail focus stacking provides, look at the fine detail of the enlarged vertical slice view.

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This looks down from the bluff at the beach west of Lover's Point at Hays Perkins Park showing the white granite sand beach, dark areas of seaweeds, and Monterey Bay beyond. Kelp holdfasts and other seaweeds attach well atop the underwater hard granite bedrock substate. Thus its underwater forests are abundant in this region that also provides exceptional cover for many sea vertebrate and invertebrate animals that make the deep bay famous. And that hard resistant to erosion rock that protrudes above the seas includes some of the most dramatic gnarly shorelines on the Pacific Ocean. When fishing such rocky shores, one must cast into the underwater sandy zones where stronger wave tidal flows sluice through and not the snagging dark seaweed areas.

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2022 Trip Chronicles:    Contents

   David Senesac
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