Rose peak killer hike

by

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Today is for my first killer hike with the new pair of shoes. Nineteen miles, five thousand vertical feet.

Up early, on the trail before 7, in time to see alpenglow, both east and west, as the sun rose on a partly cloudy, cool, perfect day. Horizontal sunlight is one of the secrets of the photographer, and today was a good opportunity to take full advantage of it.

The first tarantula of the day was dead. That doesn’t count, not at all. Shortly after, I saw one that was hunkered up, possibly semi-dormant from cold or darkness. A little surprising, because I thought they were primarily nocturnal, and it really isn’t very cold this morning. Whatever…

Over the course of the day, I found four more, including a final tarantula crossing the road as I was leaving in the late afternoon. Here we have a good look at his fangs, which you will notice are retracted, even though he is admittedly under extreme provocation.

And here we get a reasonably good look at a minimum of six and possibly eight eyes. In this picture, it is also obvious that the eyes are lensed, not compound.

It’s the season for the full glory of poison oak, here shown in an Italian flag motif.

Open country that goes on forever. I wouldn’t want this to be the only choice, but it’s quite attractive as one alternative.

As well as a personal record of five tarantulas, I saw four gopher snakes, out sunning themselves. And I don’t know what kind of snake this one is; what we need here is a serious taxonomist! I took about a dozen shots, got the tongue in only this one.

It has only been two weeks since we had several days of rain, but the grass has started growing green again with great enthusiasm, some of it perhaps as high as ten cm. Where there is no tall dead grass from last spring, even the ground shows green. It will be about March before the new growth completely overwhelms the dead grass and turns the entire world beautifully green.

Even here, we see that the areas that collect the most rain first are the first and most vigorous in the process of greening up.

I suppose it’s beyond hope to imagine getting back without sore feet, but I think these shoes will turn out to be okay.

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