Thursday, February 19, 2009

Snow in Sunol and Hair Snakes

After a very long dry spell, we are finally getting days of rain, beating down, pound on the roof, flashes of lightning, rain. I'm not complaining. The reservoirs are still only 67% of what they should be - rain is good. However, it somewhat complicates our training efforts. Sometimes we don the rain pants, rain jacket, even sometimes waterproof socks, and venture out on our usual trails. Of course we still use our running shoes, and they sometimes come back caked with mud. Our hiking poles are vital for keeping us erect.

Sometimes, though, we are lazy. Where can we hike in the rain and avoid the mud? We have some routes on the local streets that are interesting, and we may do them, but eventually we have to get out of town, and into the open spaces. Sunol Regional Park is one of our favorite wet weather hikes. They have a gravel road that runs out beyond Little Yosemite, and we can get a good 6 mile hike by following that out and then up to the gate for the back country route to Del Valle. This last weekend we were out there, and were astounded by snow, not at our feet, but just a few miles further, and very close to our elevation. An aside, we've been getting some unattributed taking of blog content so inserting © 2009

For me, the highlight of this trip was a hair snake spotting, a short distance up the road. We always called these hair snakes when I was a kid, but now I've learned that these 10 inch long white wiggling creatures are actually roundworms - parasites that live in insects for part of their life cycle.

Turkeydactls in Berkeley?

This was a week or two ago, but I finally captured my photos. Even though digital is so easy compared to film, I still have to read them in, use The Rename to change the filename to date and time, and then Photoshop one copy to my web_sized_photo folder. All I can show is the bench where the following occurred. You have to fill in the birds.

I was out doing my usual long distance training hike, our house to Huckleberry Reserve, to Sibley Regional Park, to the Tilden Train station and back again. About 10 miles. Anyway, as you near the Tilden end, there is a bench just off the trail, where you can sit and look at miles of rolling hills, at least until the Orinda housing project completes. This time, as the bench came into sight, about 40 feet away, there was a large flock of turkeys around the trail and bench - 35 to 40 of them. I slowed down, and got to within about 20 feet and they all took off - fifty feet off the ground immediately and then flapped and then glided, silhouetted against the distant sky, and well over 200 feet above the canyon. The view of these huge birds against the distant horizon, was just like those old movies where the prehistoric valley is discovered, and the huge meat eating birds swoop thru the air, looking for prey. An aside, we've been getting some unattributed taking of blog content so inserting © 2009