Photo Essay: Whistler-Wilson Ranch
The Whistler-Wilson Ranch is an amazing property that the Big Sur Land Trust recently acquired with the intention of passing it along to a public entity. The land lies up San Jose Creek behind Monastery beach and borders both the Palo Corona Regional Park, Point Lobos State Reserve. This winter I took Red on a walk up the canyon to the top of the ranch to survey wind and rain damage to the ranch roads. Here’s a short photo essay from that walk.
1. Red following me up the redwood canyon from the beach. She goes slowly because there’s so much to inspect. I saw weird mushrooms, flowers, and bobcat tracks. The Whistler-Wilson Ranch is unusual in that it has native redwoods and Monterey Pines growing next to each other.
2. We got to the old cabin and looked out at the meadow from the porch. You feel like you’ve gone back a hundred years here.
3. I started up the hill and looked back through the sycamore trees at the meadow. The hills are steep so as you ascend you go through different ecological zones quickly.
4. Sycamores like the wet canyon bottoms. After leaving them we came to the live oaks shrouded in Spanish moss. Spanish moss is a lichen and it’s very sensitive to air pollution. You can tell the air is clean here from all the lichen hanging from the branches.
5. When we got up higher we could look down on the hunting cabin tucked away in the redwoods.
6. On the south facing slopes there were early wildflowers; Indian paintbrush and wild iris.
7. Back into the oak forest on the north facing slope.
8. And voila! Up on top of the hill looking down on Point Lobos. Preserving this property is a significant step in preserving the integrity of a very sensitive and vulnerable ecosystem.