Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 30 miles, approximately 3/4 hour. Walking up to 2 miles throughout the day; dirt and gravel paths, sand.
In our meeting room at the lodge, the breakfast buffet offers a rotating variety of choices such as eggs, breakfast meats, oatmeal, pancakes or French toast, cereals, fruit, salsa, juices, coffee, tea, water.
In our meeting room, our naturalist will give us a background presentation to learn about one of the most fascinating species on earth, Elephant Seals. We’ll hear about their life cycle and behaviors before heading out on a field trip to see them live. Boarding a motorcoach, we’ll ride to Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery. As we walk along the ocean cliff, we’ll hear them long before we see these massive, noisy giants of the marine world on a secluded stretch of beach. Inflating their huge snouts, males can bellow loudly enough to be heard a mile away. The Northern Elephant Seal is the largest of its kind on the North Pacific coast. They come to the rookery only for breeding, molting, and to rest; otherwise they stay at sea. Elephant Seals have been recorded making the deepest dives of any mammal. We’ll keep our eyes peeled for molted skin on the beach. We will then ride to San Simeon State Park.
At a scenic spot in San Simeon State Park, we’ll have boxed lunches with a sandwich, fruit, sweet treat. Road Scholar will provide personal, refillable water bottles.
We’ll have some time at the park to splash in the water and enjoy the sun. Next, we’ll walk up a path from the beach into the forest to learn about its ecology, from decomposing organisms all the way to bears and mountain lions. We’ll look high and low on a scavenger hunt to find evidence of these creatures. Bones, traces of skin, feathers — who knows what we might find! We’ll also play a camouflage game to learn how forest animals protect themselves from predators. Learning how and why animals do what they do is important. Returning to the lodge, the remainder of the afternoon is free to see and do what interests you most.
We’ll be joined by a local falconer to learn about the ancient practice of falconry: hunting quarry with a trained bird of prey. We’ll hear about the history and how falconry is used today. Then, we’ll meet some of the birds!