Tarantula season again!

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I have done a fair amount of walking in my recent world travels, but walking on flat pavement mostly just guarantees sore feet. Nice to be home, nice to be able to get out and get in some vertical gain on one of my favorite killer hikes, Grant ranch (21 miles, 4400 vertical feet).

Besides, it’s tarantula season again. And indeed, I found a tarantula only fifteen minutes into the hike, but it was dead on the trail. Score: zero. I found a number of small gopher snakes, too, and several of them were also dead. That’s depressing; I wonder whether there’s an epidemic amongst the small animal population.

But then I came upon two more very small gopher snakes, both of whom were healthy and active. That cheered me up considerably.

Along with a coyote, all of this wildlife was north of the twin gates road crossing. No idea why the separation in habitat, maybe because the forestation changes subtly on the south side. The next wildlife sighting was the little pond in the back country, populated by more frogs than I think I have ever seen in one place!

No tarantulas, and the day is wending along, getting toward mid-afternoon. There’s a stretch of open forest two or three miles from the finish point that I always like, and today is even better, with the newly fallen red leaves, and the hard bright colors of the poison oak.

Forty-five minutes before I reached the car, I entered the stretch west of Quimby road, tall dry grass, straw really. And out of the grass came a big beautiful tarantula! Yes! Callooh! Callay! I chortled in my joy.

A good day: tired, sore, tarantula score = 1.

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