Monday, July 11, 2016

Castle Crags State Park

Camping with My Brother

July 9-10, 2016


WARNING:  Pictures of creepy spiders are found below.  Proceed at your own peril.

Also, Sorry to those of you who follow and/or comment on my posts as well as those I normally follow.  I've been having some computer problems at home that make replying to my posts on this site and those I follow difficult. 

Castle Crags State Park, CA
Sam and I met my brother and niece for a one-night camping trip at Castle Crags State Park on Saturday.  It was a nice little trip, although I didn't take a lot of photos.  We ate sketchy camp food and played a couple of games of Pirate Fluxx.  I couldn't hike up to the vista point with Pongo, so we mostly stuck around the campsite and enjoyed each others' company.  It was nice, in that sense.

Castle Crags State Park, CA
Sam, Pongo and I stopped at Colusa National Wildlife Refuge on the way home.  It's at about the halfway point, making it a good spot to stretch our legs and let Pongo have a little adventure.  There's a short hiking trail where he was able to chase an uncountable number of lizard off of the trail.  It's summer so the waterfowl are mostly gone except for a lone greater white-fronted goose that we saw at the pond near the parking lot.

Common Buckeye - Colusa National Wildlife Refuge, CA
Western Tiger Swallowtail
We saw a lot of butterflies.  I chased down a handful of buckeyes but couldn't get a good photo.  They kept their wings open only for a few seconds after landing, which never gave me enough time to find them in the viewfinder, focus and zoom in.  That shot above was the best I could pull enough.  You get the idea, I guess.  They have wonderful eyeball patterns on their wings.

Western Tiger Swallowtail -- Colusa National Wildlife Refuge, CA
We saw a large number of white butterflies as well as a few swallowtails and a couple dozen monarchs.  I'm used to seeing monarchs in large numbers at their wintering grounds in Pacific Grove, but this was a bit different.  Here we were seeing them among the milkweed in one of their summer hangouts.  There's even a sign on the trail that notes the area as a designated monarch environment.  Pretty cool.

Monarch -- Colusa National Wildlife Refuge, CA
OK.  Here come the spiders.  I'm only going to post the two creepiest spiders we saw.  I haven't been able to identify them. 

Colusa National Wildlife Refuge, CA
Colusa National Wildlife Refuge, CA
We didn't notice all of the spiders until about half way through the hike, and then they seemed to be everywhere we turned.  I'm not afraid of spiders, but I have to admit I was a little freaked out by the end of that hike.  There were some big and scary-looking arachnids out there!  Sam has always been afraid of spiders, so he was jumping left and right all the way back to the car.

Here's a nice photo of a field of flowers to clear your mind if you've made it this far.

Colusa National Wildlife Refuge, CA