I love butterflies, always have, always will. They are so delicate and beautiful to watch flutter through the air but in reality they are fierce survivalist. One of the most beautiful groups is the Monarch and (to my delight) they migrate each year through California with a “rest spot” for some fun and friskiness (they mate here) at the Goleta Monarch Butterfly Grove.
This Monarch preserve is about two hours north of Los Angeles on the coast butting up against Santa Barbara city limits. After an easy hike through eucalyptus trees, some wild flowers and other shrubbery, Spaceman and I came upon their nesting grove (note: it is recommended to visit mid-day when the sun is warm as these beauties prefer to take flight in warmer temperatures). The Monarchs were everywhere. As I looked amongst the eucalyptus trees, I just marveled at their beauty. Then I looked closer at some of the tree branches and realized the leaves were breathing! They were full of butterflies, incredible.
We continued to explore some paths that led us to the ocean’s cliff. The day was stunning with only a few white puffy clouds interrupting the blue sky. We could see all the Channel Islands off the coast of California and hear the sea noises below. It was a special day especially because my Nana (shortly before she died) told me that if I ever saw a butterfly once she had passed, it was her coming to say hello to me. That day in the grove my Nana and I had a very nice conversation indeed.
Details: Goleta Monarchy Butterfly Grove is just opposite the Elwood Elementary School at 7686 Hollister Avenue.