Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Coastal Parkour

Over the last week, I've been spending a great deal of time down at the Dana Point tidal pools.  They are some of the most pristine, diverse, dynamic, and well preserved tidal pools in California, and according to the rangers with whom I have spoken, the best in Orange County.

My son had taught me that it is always better to hop rock-to-rock when we've been out hiking in remote Arizona, than it is to try and place your feet between the rocks on shifting sand or loose gravel.  So on my treks out to The Headlands of Dana Point and back, I've begun doing what I call "Coastal Parkour" - hopping from rock to rock, to make my way along the shore line.

It's a combination of Parkour, mountain climbing, and the child's game "hot lava", except in the case of the tide pools, the "lava" is sea water the closer you get to the ocean, or wet sand the closer you get to the cliffs.  I give myself extra 'bonus points' if the rock onto which I am leaping is actively being splashed by an incoming wave.  It's more than a kilometer each way, of rock hopping.  And I look at it this way: someday I am going to be old and feeble, or blind or lame, and unable to attempt Coastal Parkour, so I might as well enjoy it now, while I can.  My left knee's cartilage gets a little unhappy with me if I do too many extreme impacts where I land too hard or push off too forcefully, but over-all it is an exhilarating endeavour.

And I do it while carrying a back pack full of binoculars, camera, yoga mat, bottle of water, sun screen, bed sheet to lay down under the yoga mat, whisk broom to whisk away little rocks if necessary, hat, cell phone, wallet and car key (or bike lock, if I ride the 29 inch Diamondback down there, as I have twice already).  Double bonus points are awarded for using wet rocks.  Points are deducted for standing on mussel beds, sea weed, or algae - as these are all living things, and the public should not be damaging them.  Penalties involve removal of skin by barnacles and sharp rock faces when slipping - so far only my right palm got skinned and I was clumsily wearing sandals that day.

When there are young men around, I've started saying "Parkour!" when I jump, and several of the young lions try to mimic me or keep up, but mostly they just laugh at the old man jumping from rock to rock past them.
Sadly, the abandoned sea lion pup below died the next day... and is now decomposing on the trail near the foot of the cliff (Spring High Tides are +5 feet, carrying things that float, high up onto the shore).  I did call the Marine Mammal rescue hotline... but either the pup was not viable, or it died before the rescue truck got there.  There's over 100 sea lion and seal pups, abandoned by their mothers, in shelters in Southern California currently.

1 comment:

  1. It is a very beautiful where we have settled. It will be hard for me to go back to the tide pools though until the seal pups stop washing up.


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