Palomarin Trail One of my favorite moments on the trail (aside from all those gray whale sightings) happened when Stephanie and I were hiking Palomarin Trail to Alamere Falls. About two miles in, we came across a muddy patch occupied by lots of small, blue butterflies as well as a few slightly bigger ones that were orange with black spots. Slowly, we crept our way along the trial (being very careful about where we stepped, of course) and took in the fluttering flurry as these beautiful insects feasted on whatever moisture or bugs or microbes were present in that muddy patch.

If you've never seen large clusters of butterflies before, you're missing out on something magical. (I've even been fortunate enough to see them by the thousands at the Coronado Butterfly Preserve in Santa Barbara during the Monarch's winter migration season.) I'm not sure what it is about these delicate little creatures that is so stunning when they amass, but it is definitely something that stops you in your tracks, makes you hold your breath, and leaves you feeling, well, just a little lighter.