Timber Top Trail

In Big Sur, Katherine and I discovered a trail. We had driven by the trailhead on a few occasions and finally, one day, we parked to check it out. We didn’t get far up the trail that day but we saw enough to come back…and with more water!

This trail (called Timber Top and Boranda Trail in the AllTrails website) is about 2500 feet of elevation gain in just over three miles! It is a butt kicker! But so worth it. The views are amazing.

This trail is, as Katherine says, “Straight up!”

The first thing Katherine (a former bee-keeper) saw was a wild bee hive.

Video courtesy of Katherine

No matter how high we climb, we keep an eye out on the ocean…

Katherine scanning the water looking for whales or dolphins.
Whale near the surface March 2, 2021
Whale spouting April 28, 2021

Because this is a multi-hour hike, we always bring Sam and Sasha (rather than leave them home alone for several hours). They enjoy the views, too.

Photo courtesy of Katherine

The dogs are more interested in creatures lower to the ground…

Common Side-blotched Lizard (ID’d by iNaturalist)

You never know what you will see. Take the above pictured Common Side-blotched Lizard. According to Wikipedia, the Side-blotched Lizard is “is notable for having a unique form of polymorphism wherein each of the three different male morphs utilizes a different strategy in acquiring mates. The three morphs compete against each other following a pattern of rock paper scissors, where one morph has advantages over another but is outcompeted by the third.”

Who knew?

At the top of the hike is Timber Top camp. There you will find a picnic table, a bar-b-que and a corral. Because the smart people let the horses do the work.

Photo courtesy of Katherine

On the days we make it to the top, we stop for lunch…Sam’s favorite part of the hike. Sam is, like, eighteen years old and can still hike with us despite having the shortest legs among the four of us.

Sam trying to grab a bite.

What else have we seen on our hikes on Timber Top trail?

Acorn Woodpecker peeking out from its nest
Variegated Meadowhawk perched on a twig
American Kestrel perched on a branch…with an insect…I don’t think it was a Variegated Meadhowhawk
So much to see…and photograph!

We’ve also seen Peregrine Falcons. One flew above us and turned so sharply that Katherine and I turned to each other. “Did you hear that?”

We’ve seen Western Meadowlarks, Western Bluebirds, Merlins, Lazuli Buntings, Rufous-crowned Sparrows (as well as White- and Golden-crowned). This last visit, at the beginning of February, we saw fast flying birds that we think may have been Swifts, though they flew too fast to positively identify.

We’ve seen Northern Flickers, Turkey Vultures and so many beautiful Red-tailed Hawks soaring, often in twos and threes. We’ve seen Spotted Towhees and Hermit Thrushes and Say’s Phoebes.

The real reason we keep coming back to this hike, though, is the California Condors! We saw them at least three times last year on this hike and on our only hike this year (so far). We’ve hiked this trail five or six times. Those are good odds!

If you climb high enough, many of the condors will fly low enough that with binoculars or a long camera lens, you can see their wing tags. Very cool!

We always have sore quads and calves after this hike and it is always worth it.

Next time, I’m bringing trekking poles!

Katherine just reminded me that she always brings the poles.

Okay, next time, I’m using them!

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[…] nicknamed “Amigo.” I had seen Amigo before. On February 1, 2022, Katherine and I had hiked the Boranda Trail (which we refer to as Timber Top since that is our destination) in Big Sur. Amigo […]

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