Original Publication Date: 5/27/2011 3:38:32 PM
Day two of the journey to Mexico found a stop at the Pinnacles National Monument. I can’t believe I had never been there before–especially since I have thought about it often. It is the poster child for the land of the ghost pine in my mind because of a photograph taken here which appeared in Ron Lanner’s Conifers of California. In addition to the plants, I got up close and personal with Condor 99–a juvenile who was quite photogenic perched in a ghost pine. This was particularly exciting because I had spent so much time in the late ’90’s looking for condors in the Sespe and Sisquoc Wilderness areas but had never yet seen one. I finally got my glimpse. Later in the day I was driving through the Bitter Creek National Wildlife Refuge along the Cerro Noroeste Road and got to see a bird on the nest, incubating an egg. I was cued into this because a scientist was monitoring the nest from the San Diego Zoo. The condor return is an amazing success story.