Friday, January 7, 2011

The Owl and the Hot Springs

After the Christmas madness was over and we turned the Prius' nose northward again, Mr. ShellHawk and I made a couple of stops on the way up the coast. One stop was Hearst Castle, which will be another post, and the other stop was Mercey Hot Springs. The Hot Springs is about twenty-six miles from the middle of nowhere, and there is no doubt as to how happy I was that we had our GPS in full working order! We had gotten a late start from Ventura, where we had visited a friend for brunch, so by the time we got to the last couple of turns, it was pitch black and raining. It would have been super-easy to miss a turn in the dark and wind up at Leatherface's house, instead!

We had reserved one of the tiny cabins, which was basically a small bedroom with heat and enough space to put your bags down. Though small, the place was immaculate and there was nothing wrong with the heater!

Because that fat bastard, Santa, brought me a cold for Christmas, I stayed in bed in our little cabin and couldn't bring myself to take advantage of the hot springs. (It was also cold and rainy, and there was no way I was going out in that any more than I absolutely had to.) The Mister headed over to the tubs while I snuggled up with my Kindle, my tissue box and my Ape and listened to the wind blow and the rain fall.

Why on earth would we go there in December? Why not go when it's warmer? Because of a feathered resident, the Long-Eared Owl. Mercey Hot Springs (and surrounds) happens to be their overwintering spot.

They are very hard to see under normal circumstances, because their plumage allows them to blend into the trees. 
The next morning, we woke to a sunny, windy day, and the trees outside were full of owls. Think of the picture above as one of those "Hidden Pictures" searches from your childhood while you look for the little guys. On the other side of the tree, they were a bit easier to see.
He and his friends were definitely checking us out as much as we were checking them out.
They were so flipping cute, I just wanted to snuggle them. 

2 comments:

  1. How cool is that? I love spotting owls. Too bad you didn't get a good soak in.

    ReplyDelete
  2. That is so cool! I love owls but have only seen one in the wild.

    Saw a feral chicken once but that really isn't as cool is it?

    ReplyDelete

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