You Can See Forever at Carrizo Plain National Monument
Teeming with wildlife, California's Serengeti offers an expansive view of a captivating past.
By Chuck Graham, 10/13/2008
Driving slowly on Soda Lake Road, I stopped every time something caught my eye, and with my binoculars scanned the horizon for various signs of life. After coming up empty on every occasion, something faint in the distance drew my interest. I jumped out of my truck and found myself standing between the expanse of the Temblor and Caliente Mountain Ranges, lost in silence within Carrizo Plain National Monument.
It wasn’t clear what I saw, but whatever it was vanished in the rolling grasslands about a mile away. I wanted to stretch my legs, so I picked up my 600 mm lens and took a stroll in that direction. Within 15 minutes, the grasslands came alive and I wasn’t alone anymore. The large heads of pronghorn antelope rose above the grass line, not sure themselves what was hiding behind a tripod. At least 30 of North America’s fastest mammal herded together. Not wanting to disturb the pronghorn, I backed away as they continued grazing across the largest remaining remnant of original San Joaquin Valley habitat.
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