The out-and-back hike from Sunol to Rose Peak was the original inspiration for my term Killer hikes. I have recently expanded the category by stitching together trails from adjoining open space areas, but even though it’s less than 20 miles (19.00 according to the GPS), Rose Peak is still the classic (5004 feet of climb).
I haven’t been there for a couple months; time to do it again. The wildflower season is fading fast: quite a bit of green, but already fading to the white of new grass seeds and the golden hills of summer.
This little wildflower is about the size of a smallish pea. Flowers like California poppies grow pretty much everywhere, but this species showed up only in a stretch of maybe 100 meters of trail. Dark enough that you might not even realize they were flowers, if you weren’t keeping an eye out.
Cloudy and chilly. I left my jacket in the car, expecting to warm up as soon as I started uphill (true) and to break out into the sunlight fairly soon (not true). Lots of backpackers on the way down from last night’s camping, probably thirty or more by the time they had all straggled past. I kept thinking each new one or two represented the lanterns rouges, and then I would meet yet another one or two.
Because the day remained cloudy, there was a lot of dew on the vegetation.
I programmed the image processors in my brain to match against mantis. No hits among the millions of images that flowed past, all day, but the filter did pick up one of these pretty little orange spiders.
He figures that, if he can’t see me, I can’t see him.
The filter spotted a wolf spider. I like the 747 upper deck, complete with rear window, as well as the four parking lights just below the headlights.
I noticed a second wolf spider, so small it could have gotten lost on the nail of my little finger. The one above would have sprawled well beyond the nail of my thumb, but if it does well this season, it will be twice as big (8x as massy) by fall.
This little guy was almost invisible on a stalk of milkweed. I am delighted with the fine detail visible in the photo (and this is the low-res version!).
Near the top, a bobcat, something we don’t see very often. No photo, sorry; it didn’t want to stay around and pose for me.
On the way back, I stopped for calories at the little pools where McCorkle trail crosses the W-tree rock scramble. Water striders, and the opportunity for almost abstract photos.
And under water, a larva of some kind, very likely preying on an even smaller larva under its left foreleg, while just under its tail section, another larve would be breathing a sigh of relief, if only it could breathe.
As I drove out, late afternoon, I saw a car stopped off the road ahead, people out in the traffic lanes. I slowed and passed in the left lane, and saw that they were protecting a large gopher snake as it crossed the road. Good for them!