The March full moon is named the Worm Moon by Native Americans and in the Farmer’s Almanac because the ground begins to soften and earthworm casts reappear, which invites the return of robins. This is also known as Sap Moon, as it marks the time when maple sap begins to flow and the annual tapping of maple trees begins. Since there is (was) also a full moon on Mar 1 this year, the March 31 moon is officially a “blue moon”. Whatever name you give this month’s moon, what better place to view it than high atop the peak at Pinnacles National Park.
Pinnacles is one of four sites where captive-bred condors are released to live in the wild, and many of these birds live out their lives flying between Pinnacles and the Big Sur coast. California condor numbers are now on the rise after reaching a low of only 22 birds in the early 1980s. In any given day, over 60 birds may be seen flying in and around the park. In addition to condors and monstrous rock formations, early spring brings ceanothus, arctostaphylos and dendromecon blooms as well as the start of the chaparral wildflower show. Flowers here are pollinated by the park's 400 species of bees —somewhat surprisingly, this is a higher density of bee species per unit area than any other known place in the world! https://www.nps.gov/pinn/planyourvisit/basicinfo.htm
We'll take a leisurely hike up the High Peaks trail from the park's west entrance, reach the peak to observe the almost full moon rise and watch for condors coming to roost on the rock outcrops beneath us. Part of the descent will be by moonlight which amazingly provides ample illumination. Last year’s hike did not disappoint as we witnessed several adults and adolescent condors. No guarantees this time, but definite probability!
- 4:30pm—Meet at the WEST Entrance Park Visitor Center off of Hwy 146. Bring your national park parking pass or purchase day pass.
- 5:00pm—Leave parking lot and begin hike on the Juniper Canyon Trail to High Peaks, observe, snack, descend. 1,200 foot elevation gain, 4.3 miles roundtrip
- 9:30pm—Return to parking lot
Bring: binoculars, layered clothing, snack, beverage AND water. Flashlight optional.
Moonrise is at 7:55 pm; Sunset is at 7:27pm.
Contact Carol Presley with any questions and to RSVP: firstname.lastname@example.org