A Rainy-day Walk at Tar Pits

Posted January 24th, 2009 by John Callender


It was still raining a little this morning, but Linda and I wanted to get out of the house, and we forced William to come along. We parked at the end of Calle Ocho, by Al and Kathleen’s house (boy, do I envy them their location), and crossed the tracks to Tar Pits Park.

I remember when I’d first moved here, and I was talking to Laura Fraley, a Carp native, describing how we’d been at “that neat little beach between the campground and the Venoco pier.”

Laura rolled her eyes at me. “Tar pits, John. It’s called tar pits.”

It’s true; I can’t even surf. Sigh.

Anyway, we met Dick (my brother-in-law) while we were there today. It was pretty muddy near the harbor seal rookery, which made walking an exercise in caution, but there was a nice group of seals, and a number of people watching them from the overlook.


I want to figure out what this plant in the foreground is. There’s a lot of it in the coastal sage scrub around here, and I really like the purple flowers. Linda thinks it’s some kind of Salvia. Update: Maybe Purple Sage (Salvia leucophylla) or Cleveland Sage (Salvia clevelandii)?


There’s an excavation going on at the State Beach. According to the link-hostile Coastal View, there’s an early-20th-century trash dump there, which is problematic because erosion occasionally exposes things like broken bottles. So the State Park people are digging a trench to figure out how much trash is there, and what they should do with it, and as part of that they’re also checking for Chumash artifacts.


Linda and Dick: solving the problems of the world.

Tags: tar pits, state beach, casitas pier.

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