America's Never Never because I was out of town doing something really strange: relaxing. As you might guess from the previous post, we spent a couple of days on the Big Sur coastline simply reveling in the cool air and enjoying a couple of beaches we had never visited before (more on them in later posts). The big surprise happened as we were leaving town: we got caught in a time machine and were transported a few hundred years into the past.
When I've written on them in the past, I've explored the edges, the Sierra Nevada foothills where the soils are poor and therefore undeveloped except as grazing lands. In the interior parts of the valley, though, little of the original landscape remains, less than 5%.
San Luis National Wildlife Refuge. The preserve covers 26,000 acres of San Joaquin River wetlands, grasslands, and vernal pools. We've always been in a hurry before, but not on Sunday. We saw a sign for an auto-tour route through part of the refuge, and we pulled off.
We'll be back. There are several other auto tours, including one that offers possible views of a tule elk herd, and a number of hiking trails. It's always a pleasure making new discoveries in one's back yard!