Monday, September 20, 2010

Mount Diablo's Hairy Inhabitants

A view from the summit of Mount Diablo
I went for a walk around the summit of Mount Diablo in California at the weekend. We can see the peak across the bay on the East side from our apartment, and it had been beckoning for quite a while now. It was a cloudy day in San Francisco. The cloud seemed to be quite low. So it made sense to assume that if we went up to the top of the mountain we could still enjoy the sun over the weekend. And off we went.
A break in the cloud
As we entered the National Parks area we started driving along the five miles of road that would take us up to 3000 feet. It wasn't long before the cloud thinned enough for us to realize that we were approaching the top of the cloud layer. Aah, sunshine!

But what was that! True that up till now the rather nonchalant squirrel population had been mandating that I drive around them as they frolic in the road, but this creature was a totally different shape. It was also a little smaller, though not by much. It was hairy yes, but it was also black and had eight legs - a tarantula!

With a smooth instinctive Jedi movement I was crouched in the road with my camera already raised to my eye focused and on the target. The sun went behind some clouds at the same time and I hadn't taken a flash with me this day. I hung around for a while but we just got more and more engulfed by the cloud that was caressing the mountain. Appearing tarantulas seem to be a regular phenomenon here so I will be going back specifically to take some detailed shots and maybe use some for stock submissions too. 

The sun did burn the cloud of quite quickly so by the time we were at the summit we were bathed in the afternoon sun. By the time we decided to leave, another wave of cloud was coming in but as we drove down the mountain toward the valley we were able to continue to enjoy the sunshine of the late afternoon.

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