It’s snake time here in the coastal hills of Orange County; during my morning run today I came across this helpful sign of “Do’s” and “Don’ts” . . .. a little too late?
Two days ago I found a beautiful gopher snake sunning itself in the middle of the trail at Crystal Cove State Park. Since one of my weirder hobbies is photographing my bare feet with critters, I couldn’t resist.
Paparazzi / papa rattler: Keeping a respectful distance from a Southern Pacific Rattlesnake on the side of the trail . . .
A little bit closer, but not too much . . .
This little guy surprised me on a run last week; usually when I find still lizards on the trail, they are deceased victims of mountain bike tires, so this rubbery toy lizard was a good surprise.
Speaking of dead animals: here’s two from last weekend’s trip north to the Central Coast of California.
Maybe a sea lion? That’s Morro Rock in the background; the beach there is a fine place for adventure.
Wild water, beautiful bird.
Pelican keeping watch at Morro Bay.
If you’re lucky, dune jumpers can sometimes be sighted near Morro Rock . . .
Adventure also waits just outside our back door, where a fountain provides birds with water and us with fascinating glimpses of our non-human neighbors–here a Western Tanager and Oriole having problems taking turns.
And, of course, my favorite local adventure places are only minutes away, thanks to OC Parks. Here’s a few shots from this morning’s run out of Santiago Oaks Regional Park. (This is me trying to capture the lovely floatillas of willow duff in Santiago Creek.)
More Santiago Creek reflections.
In the luscious under-oak shade along the trail, wild grapes run rampant with the poison oak. (Grape leaves on left; poison oak “leaflets three” on right.)
Tangy lemonade berries await tasting all over the foothills this time of year.
Stunning (and rare!) intermediate mariposa lilies are a-bloom at the top of Barham Ridge.
A view from the highest point in the area: Robber’s Peak. The hikers disappearing down the Barham Ridge trail lend a bit of scale.
Looking toward the Pacific Ocean from Robber’s Peak in Anaheim Hills.
In the midst of adventure: caution? The gravel road near Robber’s Peak is full of bits of broken glass that glints a warning in the early sun. How to avoid getting it stuck in your bare feet? Use your eyeballs and avoid it . . . and/or just step gently with time-toughened soles. In all my shoeless wandering, I’ve managed to avoid Barefoot KenBob’s “Deadly Broken Glass Dilemma.”
One last lovely critter to end this adventure mash-up: a Brown Ctenuchid moth . . . found only in coastal So Cal. I’d never seen nor heard of this striking local pollinator until my hike in Crystal Cove earlier this week. Lesson learned? There’s so much to discover! Here’s to local (barefoot) wandering!