Used the lovely day yesterday as an excuse to head out to the "Refuge" (some of the trail signs just have arrows and the word, 'refuge' on them. As wannabe urban refugees, the BAG and I find this amusing). We had hiked one side of the thing on the 4th. Unfortunately part of the thing was being dredged and the resultant muck was being dumped on top of the levee trail. This happens every 40 years or so to repair damage done by wind and water. Unfortunately it pulls up all of the putrid shite from the bottom of the flat and the wind blows this hideous smell (and no doubt some concoction of heavy chemicals, pesticides, and remains of Jimmy Hoffa) over the entire area.
So this time we did the other side. This side is also a bit more hilly and features a lot more wildlife - like that Indian up there at the top. We wandered for about 3.5 hours - probably somewhere between 5 and 6 miles of tromping, and I got rather sunburnt.
In the middle of all this we swung down off the ridgeline to the visitor's center which had a lovely "nectar garden" for butterflies. It was open, since it was not caterpillar or chrysallis season. A note on each entry warned us that because of "recent occurrences"the garden would be closed at these times. Using nothing more than my big brain and white male privilege I intuited that some (hmmm.. how to be culturally competent here?) stinking FOB savages had been culling either caterpillars of chrysalli for some hideous potion that they had learned to enjoy in the old country.
The only way this is ok with me is if it contains some kind of alcohol.
Anyway, above you can see a picture of a lovely hummingbird who, each time I snapped a picture, presented his/her posterior.
The butterfly over there on the left didn't get the "present buttocks" memo to the animal kingdom. In general the butterflies seemed much more interested in frolicking in mid-air than settling down anywhere, and this made picture taking difficult.
We also saw a load of Turkey-Vultures as the hills were swarming with updrafts. While the BAG collapsed on a picnic table I went running all over the top of the "Red Hill" trail and ended up with only one snapshot worth anything. I did, however, figure out where I would go hang out to take more pictures if I came back alone.
As usual, the day ended with a long trek out - being cheapskates of substantial proportions we had chosen to park across the freeway in the free lot. This saves a few bucks, but we always end up sweating and swearing as we trudge the rather boring last mile to the freeway and across.
On the other hand I was able to use the saved money on some perfectly lovely Mexican food and two Bud Lights (that was a mistake - they tasted like light beer for some reason).
The only other thing of note was how garbage-strewn (partly because of the wind) the hillsides were. I picked up trash where I could and tossed it into my backpack. One piece of trash of which I am particularly fond is this "to-do" list. I'm fond of it because I know who the dickweed was who left it to swirl around the hills. Apparently Mr. Mitch Brenner (or someone using his name to discredit him) loves him some the faux-birdies, but doesn't get quite as het-up about actual nature. This note was in a scattering of trash, and I'm sure that Mr. Brenner was implicated in that as well, though he had long since hopped into his Hummer and headed home to his McMansion.
I hope he got a flat tire on the way home. ;-)
I think my anger rating just went up to 27%?