Saturday, April 30, 2016

High Energy Life Of Elephant Seals

After the Phi Alpha Theta Cal Poly contingent left Hearst Castle this afternoon it stopped by the elephant seal rookery near Point Piedras Blancas to see the latest social dramas unfolding on the beach there. What follows are the high points. To view images of our group's Hearst Castle tour go HERE.

All photos by Kim Patrick Noyes (all rights reserved).

A Great Place To Spend The Depression

Today I joined some of my fellow members of Cal Poly's chapter of Phi Alpha Theta for a tour of Hearst Castle. About a dozen of us availed ourselves of this opportunity to take a break from our studies and take the regular tour four just $4. We took the 11 a.m. tour and spent about three hours up on the hill both for the tour and milling around the grounds afterwards exploring the part of the estate open to the public apart from the tour. I visited this place only once previously and that was with my mother and my late father's parents back in September, 1995. At that time we took the tour only and did not do any exploring the grounds apart from the tour. I did take some photos back then but I was less of a photographer then and had an inferior camera. I thank chapter president Jennifer Freilach for making all the arrangements for this delightful excursion. After we finished our Hearst Castle visit we headed down the hill and visited the elephant seals at the nearby rookery near Point Piedras Blancas, photos of which can be viewed HERE. Following that, we had lunch together in Cambria and then headed our separate ways. Note: the title of this blog post is a quote from the late actor Cary Grant who described Hearst Castle thus and he should know given he visited the place 34 times.

Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary monument at Hearst Castle Visitor's Center.
The tour begins.... that's Floppy Hat Dean from our group in foreground.
Edge of the Neptune Pool structure.
Front of Casa del Sol which is where the SLA bomb detonated back on February 13, 1976.
Point Piedras Blancas and the California Coast and the Pacific Ocean as seen from Hearst Castle on this hazy day.
Looks to be a serpentine tile on the pavement... there were many other such tiles in the vicinity.
The Neptune Pool sans water due to San Simeon Quake crack damage. This pool was leaking 5-6000 gallons of water per day until the drought made that no longer acceptable and the pool was drained both to save water.
The Neptune Pool is also drained for repairs and rehabilitation. Two years ago Lady Gaga finagled the refilling of this pool to accommodate her music video.
North-side view of guesthouse Case del Sol.
William Randoph Hearst instructed project architect Julia Morgan to create a "profusion and confusion" in regards to the landscaping. As is evident here, she did just that and quite well.
A quintessentially California scene.
I like that sarcophagus most of all things in this image.
The cat idols of Sekhmet, Egyptian Goddess of Healing (and warrior goddess).
This statue is over 3000 years old and is composed of diorite with veins of pink feldspar profused throughout.
The top-most statue is over 3000 years old as is the bust partially visible at right. The one below it  and the bust at left are undated. All four feature Sekhmet.
Casa Grande
Casa Grande
Casa Grande
White marble mermaid
The gold on this grill is 22 ct. gold as is most of the gold on the estate.
The Assembly Room where Hearst where guests mingled and the evening began with cocktails.
The Assembly Room has only the second largest fireplace in the building.
This "casket" was for presenting gifts to nobility in France. The glass panes are actually rock crystal quartz.
Ceiling of the Assembly Room.
The Refectory which name was used for the dining hall of a monastery.
Upper portion of the Refectory.
Disturbing statue on left side of the fireplace in the Refectory.
Right-side Refectory fireplace statue. Fireplace at left is the largest in the estate.
Morning Room ceiling... note scaffolding at right as it is being restored.
Billiard Room.
Billiard Room fireplace view.
Phi Alpha Theta photo-off!
Casa del Mar guesthouse.
View from Casa del Mar porch looking down.
Casa Grande
Renaissance wellhead
Unfinished end of South Wing of Casa Grande.
Backside of Casa Grande.
Backside of Casa Grande looking into Morning Room.
Lightning-sculpted palm tree.
Early modern brass cannons.
Early modern mortar.
Another early modern brass mortar and brass cannon.
That other early modern brass cannon. Note the exquisite artistic detail.
Indoor Roman Pool.
Detail of beautiful tile mosaic on floor adjacent to Roman Pool.
The Grotto on the Playboy Mansion has nothing on the grotto here.
All photos by Kim Patrick Noyes and permitted by California State Parks (all rights reserved).