Monday, October 12, 2009

Looking East; Looking West...

We've been exploring the beautiful green Yuba River State Park (thank you Ahnold for not closing our parks yet). Looking east towards the rising Sierra Mountain range, the granite walls narrow at a place called Hoyts Crossing. A nice hike on a sunny day.
Several species of butterflies are still very active, this late in the season. I kept thinking I was seeing Lorquin's Admirals, but it turns out it was an Adelpha Californica. They were everywhere on a beautiful Sunday afternoon.

These small California Crescents also caught our eye. The last few flowers springing wildly from between granite rocks attracted them to where we were sitting. These butterflies now match the oak leaves with their yellows and oranges against the clear mountain skies.
It's easy to dismiss gray squirrels, but there was something about this one that caught our attention. Its tail wasn't bushy, and it had wonderfully mottled fur. A little research told us that we were seeing California Ground Squirrels. A rather charming and inventive little creature. If you get a chance, check out how they defend against their most ardent predator: the Rattlesnake.
Then, we looked west. Soon the Yuba will be rushing over all of these rocks. We plan to make this a regular hike, to watch the rising river in the coming winter. Our first rains are supposed to start on Tuesday. We'll keep you posted.

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