I don't know what's up with the bears, but believe me, it's a banner year!! In all the years I've been coming up here, I've not once seen any bear scat. I've heard of a few sightings, but even while on trails bears have historically used (one even named Bear Trail), I've never seen anything. This year is different.
This beauty encased in scaffolding, is the North Head Lighthouse. I've been stalking this one for the past week (almost every day) trying to get the image I had in my head. Last year when it was open, I climbed to the very top and got some great photos of what the lighthouse keepers saw.
In an effort to keep the lighthouse together, various methods were used to shore up her crumbling exterior. That became the REAL problem. The brick and mortar inside used to "breathe", with moisture escaping through the walls. With all the paint and plaster they put on the outside, the water stayed inside, eroding the entire lighthouse. When they finish this restoration, it's going to be even more beautiful!!
That however, is NOT the picture I was looking for. I want to see all the gorgeous flowers that are growing atop this mountain. Hardly a soul knows the magnificence that grows there. Having tried the North side trail with no luck, I put on my stealth equipment and headed for the South side. It's not off limits ... all the trails in the park are accessible by anyone. Finding the trail is another story.
Suddenly ... there it is!! Three little wooden steps up a completely overgrown trail. I turned sideways to skim through the brush, sucking up all the water into my clothes along the way. After a good 50 yards, the trail opened up to this beautiful sight. I FOUND IT!!! The entire top of this mountain is covered with daisies, sweet peas and berry vines. Watch out for that last one!
Watch out too for the sprinkler system that got me last time, and the HUGE bees swarming everywhere!! They are all over the flowers.
A little further and the top of the lighthouse came into view. Isn't this just fabulous? I could stay here all day. In spite of the people wandering around below, it's very quiet and peaceful.
I stuck to the trail, what there was of it, wandering through the flowers taking picture after picture. I think this is my favorite.
89 pictures later, it was time to head back to the Jeep. There's no place to sit down here and I was soaking wet. Seeing a second trail that looked a little easier, I followed it down the back of the hill.
What I ran into, stopped me dead in my tracks. BEAR SCAT AGAIN!!! Lots and LOTS of bear scat!! Like they had a big party up there!! Good grief ... they're EVERYWHERE!!! I froze, listening for all I was worth. I know bears don't wander around during mid day, but they certainly could be sleeping in a cozy den under these big huge trees I'm right next to.
I slowly backtracked to the original trail, gathered my wits and went back the way I came. One big blackberry vine grabbed my backpack, making a chill go up my spine. Oh come on Nancy, it's just a big vine, not a bear. I have a pretty healthy fear of bears from all my experiences as a kid. In fact, if I have nightmares (about every week), it's always about bears chasing me!! Crazy!!
At any rate, I escaped with a big sigh of relief when I hit the trail. No one saw me enter or leave, which is a good thing, otherwise the flowers would all be trampled into the mud.
On the way back, I took this picture of the Lighthouse Keepers Residence, trying to hold my camera over the top of the big chain link fence.
A little further along, I saw the gate was open (didn't I feel silly), so I went inside for this picture of the duplex for the Lighthouse Assistants. It's a bed and breakfast now ... you can stay here overnight, which I think would just be an amazing experience. The Lighthouse Keepers daughter accidentally fell to her death and they say she and her mother roam the halls at night. I'd rather run into them than the bears.
One day this week I'm heading back to Ledbetter State Park to hunt for coyotes ... I'm taking wasp spray this time, just in case!!