Posts Tagged ‘spider and fly’

Sierra Azul

July 4, 2012

First, let me post a couple more pictures of my little friend from the backyard table. I have no idea what it is, but it sure is cute!

The fourth of July gave me one more excuse to go on a long hike before being out of action from surgery. Well, a moderately long hike. Only 13 miles, but 3800 vertical feet, and on a hot day in the south bay, it was long enough.

I parked at Lexington dam reservoir and hiked uphill in the Sierra Azul open space preserve. Took a trail that provides access to a string of electrical transmission towers; the high point is at 3000′, under one of the towers. Hot, dry, steep. Heavily overgrown with poison oak, but the trails are fire roads, so it’s easy to avoid. Lots of trees, scrub oak and buckeye, a little madrone and here and there a laurel. Because the trails are fire roads, there’s not as much shade as I would have liked. A few mountain bikes, a few hikers.

Across the valley we see the characteristic square block at the top of Mt Umunhum. It has to do with some kind of radar installation, now disused because of the end of the cold war. You see this square building against the sky from many miles away, specifically from the top of Page Mill road, looking down the San Andreas rift zone. The epicenter of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake was right near here.

Looking to the east, we see Mt Hamilton. This is the first time I have ever seen the Lick observatory below the skyline! The dome above the skyline is the 120 inch reflector.

I mentioned that the top of the hike was at the base of an electrical tower. While I munched calories and soaked up a bit of water, I searched for small animals.

I find empty cicada shells once in a while, but rarely see the animals themselves. This one had a strategy of playing dead, but after I flashed it a few times, it tried to crawl away and hide under a leaf.

This is the dead leaf of a fern. Quite common, but small enough that they’re easy to ignore.

Took an alternate trail down, alleged to go to or past Priest rock. I didn’t see any special rock formations.

Home before mid-afternoon to the block party, where I wandered over, shook hands with Clarence, the archetypal organizer (and I learned he had been a navigator in the RAF during the second world war), soaked up a few more calories, and mellowed out.