Montebello and Saratoga gap

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First, a few small animals from the back yard.

These two (above and below) may be different developmental stages of the same species. The adult was pretty good at simulating a leaf moving in the breeze; I only spotted it because the tree trunk isn’t really festooned with leaves. The young one above was so small it was almost invisible.

The male garden spider outside the kitchen window caught a bee or a wasp.

We move around to get a head view, but there really isn’t much to see.

No idea what this one was. It bears some resemblance to a ladybird larva, but I don’t think that’s right.

Saturday, 20 October

Up early, drove to the Montebello open space preserve at the top of Page Mill road. As usual, I got there before the gates were unlocked, so I parked on the road. Not a problem. On the trail by 7:20 for a hike on a cool, pleasant day of 20 miles, 3700 vertical feet.

In the cool, quiet of the dawn, a coyote trotted along the trail a couple hundred feet ahead. It eventually turned off, but came out on the Canyon trail fire road just ahead of me. It stopped in the middle of the trail, thinking, “Well, what shall I do today?” A deer stood further back, watching the both of us. Neither the deer nor the coyote seemed particularly excited about the other — they both know the coyote stands no chance of being able to run down a healthy young deer.

With the exception of poison oak, the native vegetation is not very colourful in autumn. On the basis of these two photos, one might forgive my colleague Mike G for not recognizing poison oak in its ground cover form — to his regret!

I got to Saratoga summit about 11. A handful of Christian motorcyclists there (well, why not!) offering water to hikers and cyclists passing through. I refilled my water bottle, with thanks. They didn’t try to convert me, and thanks for that, too.

Much of the area was fogged in until afternoon. Some nice views to the west from Skyline ridge.

Where the little bridge crosses Peters creek, leaves floating in the water.

Just beyond, a two-point buck supervising a flock of half a dozen wild turkeys.

And a final calorie break sitting on the bench at Horseshoe lake, one of the more romantic places I know. Then back to Montebello, where I arrived about 3:15.

This is perhaps the easiest of my standard killer hikes, so I wore trail shoes instead of hiking boots and pushed the pace a bit. As a result, I found my calf muscles cramping up after I got home. As they say, no pain, no gain. Good day.

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One Response to “Montebello and Saratoga gap”

  1. Mary Strong-Spaid Says:

    Beautiful!

    Like

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