It's Your World, or more precisely, my world, which is the theme for P.J.'s monthly photo blog. I looked at the photos I took this month, and it really wasn't many, but there were enough photos that show a good portion of my world, and so without further ado, here's my world and welcome to it.
I seriously doubt that I could go an entire blog entry talking about things in my life without writing or at least, commenting on geocaching. I spent last weekend in Paso Robles, mostly geocaching, but also attending an outdoor wedding. Needless to say, I had some free time on my hands and so what better way to fill up the time than going out and finding hidden treasures using just a GPS receiver? I mean, it's better than watching football all day.
This particular shot was taken at an earth cache entitled McKittrick Oil Seep. For those of you uninitiated, an earth cache is a geocache where you learn some geology. You answer some questions about the area and hopefully see some cool geology in the process. This one was one of the better ones I've done, as it involved an oil seep similar to the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles, although not nearly on the scale of the tar pits. The photo shows an oil seep at the side of the road (yes, that's oil, just coming up out of the ground). There were several other seeps on this side as well as several more on the other side of the road. There was also a seep coming up in the middle of the road just to the right of the shot. I had to watch where I was walking since I didn't want to step in any of the oil and get tar on my shoes. One of the questions I had to answer was if I could see any animals trapped in the tar. I didn't see any, but I actually have seen a mourning dove trapped in the muck at the La Brea Tar Pits, which I offered up as part of my answer for that question.
In the past, I've done earth caches in all different kinds of area, some in caves, many out in the desert, and some at the beach. They are just another aspect of geocaching that I enjoy.
My goal has been to get at least 5 miles of walking in per day as part of my daily health regimen and hiking in the hills behind my house or elsewhere happens quite frequently in the mix. At the beginning of this month, I wrote about my backpacking trip in the Sierra in August. Most hikes are not that extreme, but most will be strenuous. I want to stay in shape and live a long fruitful life.
I'm planning another geocaching/camping roadtrip next week where I'll be hiking in Saguaro National Park and Chiricahua National Monument, both of which are in Arizona. I had a student about 15 years ago ask me about Chiricahua National Monument and when I told him I'd never been there, he spent the better part of an hour extolling the beauty of that particular spot. When a 13 year old kid is that excited about something outdoors like that, you pay attention and the park has been on my radar ever since. Next week, I'm visiting, actually camping there and will also be doing some hiking.
3. Meep Meep!
Several years ago, we had a roadrunner living in the neighborhood. Apparently, it was living in the backyard of the house across the street from us. Ironically, the first day that I saw it back then, the very next day, I saw a coyote wandering down the street. Coincidence? I think not, but I digress.
Anyway, the roadrunner disappeared after a couple of months. Perhaps it had run out of lizards to eat there and so it had moved on to greener pastures. I like to think that it was just living the life in our little foothill community, enjoying what the neighborhood had to offer. Interestingly, because of the number of times I spied this particular roadrunner, I was able to hear it squawk a couple of times. No, it doesn't beep like a car as Warner Brothers would like you to believe, but I'm thoroughly convinced that the makers of the movie Jurassic Park, patterned the calls of the velociraptors in the movie after roadrunners.
Earlier this month, I was heading out on a hike and I opened our backdoor and what did I see, but this roadrunner sitting on our fence. Fortunately, I didn't spook it and I was able to quickly get my phone out of my pocket and get a couple of shots of it before it hopped the fence and then proceeded to cross the street over to our neighbor's yard. Whether this is the same roadrunner or a different one, I'm not sure but I hope to see it again.
Over the years, there's a certain theme to my photos as I'm an avid wildlife photographer. The neighborhood birds and insects always interest me and I can usually be assured that I'll see some lizards scurrying out of the way as I walk the neighborhood. Then, in the spring and summer months, it's snake season and I'm getting a reputation as the snake whisperer.
But as always, if I can get a shot of a butterfly, I'm all over it. This American Painted Lady was flitting all around my backyard yesterday and once again, I didn't have my Canon handy, so I had to make do with the phone. Surprisingly, I was able to get quite close to this one and get some pretty good close up shots of it. This one wasn't in the best of shape, as you can see by its battered right wing, but it was holding its own quite well. I am curious since the painted lady migration that we get here in Southern California should have already happened. Did this one get knocked off course? Or is this one just a free spirit doing its own thing? This little bit of additional color in the back yard was welcome regardless of where it's supposed to be.
5. And more animals
As noted above, I enjoy taking photos of animals. If I can get the shot, I'll try to do the animal justice. Since it's getting cooler here as we've inched into fall, the snakes aren't out and about anymore, but the tarantulas have started to come out. I spotted this one a couple of days ago on one of my walks. It was just out for a mid morning walk, just like the rest of us. I grabbed a couple of shots and then thought about what I wanted to do next, so I put my foot in front of it hoping that it might crawl over my foot (yeah, I can already hear many of my friends saying out loud, "Are you nuts?").
Well, the spider didn't want to have anything to do with me, so it just stopped and we were pretty much in a stand off, but then I decided to get this shot, since it gave some scale to how large the spider was. In fact, this is actually on the small size for this type of spider, so I'm thinking this is a youngster.
And there you have it. This was my take on the them, "It's Your World" this month. Please stop by P.J.'s blog to see how other people interpreted this photo challenge and please drop a comment below.