Tuesday, April 21, 2009

So Cal "Groundhog Day"

For many of us in the sun-belt, spring has sprung. For others, like my friend Miss H in Montana, spring has been more elusive. She recently posted a piece called "A Groundhog Moment."

Through writers like her, I’ve become aware of how good we have it here in Southern California. The week of April 5th, I was vacationing with my wife in Oceanside, California. The weather was supposed to be “dismal:” low 60s with some showers. We persevered and only hit rain for 20 minutes in six days. We had a great time.

We were staying in a timeshare just a few blocks from the beach. The public beach close to the pier in Oceanside features two walkways, one on the beach, one up on the bluffs. Walking on the bluffs, I caught a glimpse of a Southern California Groundhog. Here s/he is:

The Southern California Groundhog is really a ground squirrel. These squirrels never really hibernate (because they don't have to), but when things warm up… say in early April… they like to scamper atop the canopy of natal plums to feast on the early ripening berries.

After getting their fill, they might spend some time gazing off at the surfers, who are enjoying glassy peaks of 3 to 5 foot surf in 53-degree water. (You can watch the surf real-time here.)

Besides the surfers, the squirrels enjoy watching the tourists and locals who frequent the pier seen in the distance and the park hidden below the bluffs.

The squirrel’s cousins live up and down the bluffs. Many of these squirrels have relocated from far away places, like Montana, where they are still watching the snow melt while they dream of days with more sunshine than gray. Days like this… in sunny Oceanside, California.

But to be fair, Oceanside does have its perils as indicated on the sign below found just two blocks inland.


  1. Beautiful pictures, Don! (especially that last one! The blue and the white, whew, what a beaut!)

    Gosh I miss California Beaches.

  2. Chase: The beaches are nice, even year-round. That sign was a hoot. I saw it on one walk, and I made sure I got a picture when I walked by it again. Too funny to miss. Definitely So Cal: earthquake country!

  3. Awwww.....look at that cute lil fella!! Did he really let you get that close Don? Wow, what a fantastic shot!!
    Tsunami and Earthquake Hazard Zones???????Dude, I would freak out if I saw a sign like that.
    Boy, talk about a thrill seeker.........

    Steady On
    Reggie Girl

  4. Reggie,

    I did get that close, and he was cute. He wasn't the only one either, but he stuck around a bit longer.

    I've lived in CA for 45 years... no tsunami's, but quite a few small to medium earthquakes. I think they had a little tsunami in Norther California in my lifetime. But it was only 3 to 5 feet, and because of a quake in Japan or Alaska. Maybe I'll look that up.

    The risk is really quite low, and I live 20 miles inland.


  5. THanks for the props... P.S. is snowed a little over a foot at our house last night/this morning. Rrrggg!! I hope the weather continues to be nice. :)