Finding scorpions!

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A few weeks ago, I went out looking for scorpions. I found a ringneck snake and a western skink, which made the hike well worth it, photographically speaking, but no scorpions. Once the undergrowth dries up, the scorpions disappear for the season, either retreating further from view or maybe even estivating. In any event, the season is rapidly passing.

I went to Saratoga summit, hiked down Skyline to the Sea trail, detoured on Nutmeg trail and several little stub trails, looking for interesting things to photograph.

 

Although there were creatures of interest, millipedes and even tiny black almost legless salamanders, there didn’t seem to be any scorpions.

I thought I’d go down Beekhuis road trail – the name always makes me think of a Dutch bakery – to the Saratoga toll road and back past Travertine springs and Castle rock. Lots of people out, a number of backpackers probably coming up from the Waterman gap trail camp.

And Beekhuis road trail proved to be the jackpot!

The small ones are almost white; I suspect they are this season’s hatchlings.

The black dots atop the head, if you can call it a head, are the eyes. Not a whole lot of mouth visible.

They are said to be voracious predators, but they recognize large animals (me, for example) and duck under cover when they can.

Darker color goes along with larger animals, and may indicate that they are a year or more old. I really like the rivets around the edges of their armor.

I wonder if the bulgy ones are pregnant, or whether they were just lucky in coming across something large and delicious.

My previous record for finding scorpions is four in one day. Some years, I don’t find any at all. Today I lost count. I think it was somewhere between seven and twelve, before I finally stopped investigating likely habitat. Truly my cup ranneth over!

Well, toward the end of the day, I did pull up yet one final patch of dead bark. No scorpions, just a centipede!

Nice hike. Beautiful country, Castle rock and the San Lorenzo valley. Lots of people out enjoying the day.

There was a little girl, maybe 3, dressed in a beautiful flouncy pink dress, way the hell and gone out on the trail, the trail thickly populated with poison oak. I sure hope her parents knew about poison oak, or she will be in for an unfortunate birthday surprise.

16.5 miles, 3700 vertical feet.

 

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