Three days on Santa Cruz Island - returned home just last night. I don't know how to write about Santa Cruz Island without sounding trite. The emotion and wonder that I feel about this place now, however, is the same as what I felt when I first visited as a child. Maybe it is because I am a Californian, but the landscape, unique animals and the ranching history are captivating.
Subtleties characterize winter in Southern California: a little rain, cooler temperatures, maybe even a frost snap.
The cottonwood and sycamore trees are the first to change color and lose their leaves, owing to their preference for creek bottoms, where the coldest air sits in dense pockets before sunrise.
Native succulents, dormant during the summer months, plump up with the rain and reveal their hiding places high on shale cliffs (a bit of rock climbing was necessary to get these photos). Whereas mushrooms emerge on the shaded side of boulders sustained by a trickle from the creek.
It can seem dry, woody and bare, but the chaparral is full of color and surprises.