Keith wanted to go up to Tehachapi yesterday for their Apple Festival, an event that didn't sound all that exciting to me but something to do since we have done absolutely nothing all summer, mainly because it is too hot all summer to do anything.
However, he got home from work Friday evening and went to watch the baseball game at Chuy's and then of course joined some of his railroad friends at another bar for more beer, then went to Denny's for after beer breakfast and didn't get home until 3am. He slept until 2pm yesterday and by then it was too late to drive up to Tehachapi since he was going back out to work last night and always takes a nap before he goes back out to work, despite the fact that he already slept all day.
So, I suggested a drive out of town just to get out of the house. It was hot yesterday but it was okay since we were in the car with the air conditioning going full blast. We went out Stockdale Hwy which joins up with Interstate 5 way out of town, passing almond orchards and cotton fields, which by the looks of the cotton plants were ready for harvest. And yes, they were ready as we determined after passing huge stacks of cotton all baled up along the road.
It's always a little odd when you take a drive out of town, so much of this valley is really kind of barren but with it's own beauty, and it's nice to see so much open space and not a McDonalds to be found.
Off of Stockdale Hwy out near Tipton there is a Tule Elk reserve state park that we had heard of but kind of forgotten about. Unfortunately the park is closed until January for renovation so we couldn't go in but did see some elk from the road. At first we only saw 3 sitting in the field but then saw a herd of them off in the distance. The park itself isn't much, a small picnic area with trees and a restroom, but if you are just coming to look at the elk, you don't need much more than a place to sit.
We are going to put it on our calendar to come back after the park reopens because it sounds like a very relaxing thing to sit under some trees and watch elk.
This is what we saw of the elk that were sitting, you can see how wide open the space is around the reserve and how desolate it all looks, especially when everything is so dry.
Here is a picture that I got from the internet with a much closer look at the elk.
Here is some more info about the elk copied from the state park web page.
Tule Elk State Natural Reserve protects a small herd of tule elk, once in danger of extinction. In the 1800's, the vast herds of tule elk were greatly reduced in number by hunting and loss of habitat.
In 1874 cattleman Henry Miller began efforts to save them. At that time few elk remained. In 1932, the herd was given permanent protection on the land now known as Tule Elk State Natural Reserve.
Elk from the reserve have been successfully transplanted to other areas in California. Today nearly 4000 tule elk are again free roaming the foothills and grasslands of California.
The elk are most active from late summer through early autumn. Visitors are encouraged to bring binoculars for better viewing.