A stop along the infamous Highway 1, the quaint town of Cambria has much to offer in the ways of creatures. They range from the mighty elephant seals dotting the beaches, and ever-elusive mountain lion (Here’s a fun fact: Mountain lions are the largest felines that can purr), to the endangered California condors and ground squirrels aplenty.
These animals are the namesakes that make up the Central Coast of California.
But have you heard of the wild turkeys? Or better yet listened to their gobbles? Or even better, seen a flock crossing a road?
Taking a stroll up Bridge Street to see the Bridge Street Cemetery one fine afternoon I was blessed with a turkey crossing.
Four broad-breasted turkeys gobbling their way across the pavement. They were on a mission, jay-walking with a kind of grace that I liken to the strut of a French prince. The male fanned his gleaming tail feathers in the right lane: what a beauty!
Such a shame they weren’t chosen as the national bird.
Q: Why did the turkeys cross the road?
A: To avoid Thanksgiving.
A: To see who could find the first worm on the other side!
A: To stalk hikers headed up to the cemetery.
Nestled among the oaks, rows of ornately decorated headstones rest. It was a peaceful spot; only the gobbling of turkeys in the distance broke the silence.
Good-natured though they were I gave those fat birds a wide berth when our paths crossed. They thanked me with a short but polite head bob. Now would a bald eagle do the same? I wondered.
Later in the evening I recounted my cemetery adventures to Rita, a French-Canadian traveler who had just visited the elephant seals earlier in the day.
“Rita, did you know there are wild turkeys up this street?”
She gasped. “No, but I must see them! Elephant seals, yes, but turkeys, oh my! It is not too dark out, I hope? Maybe I will find some.”
Out the door she flew in her haste to catch a glimpse of the pristine birds but no luck; they had gone to roost for the evening, perhaps perching in the pines softly snoring.
Rita returned, spirits dampened but soon lively at the prospect of visiting Hearst Castle in the morning.
I looked around at the guests: Chatting, sipping hot tea, gobbling down lentils, and poring over travel books.
Our flock was safe and cozy for the night.
From Yours Truly,
Turkey liker and BSI Intern Monica Gao