What is this?!? It’s driving me crazy!

Strange Cuts in TreeWhen hiking I frequently encounter trees that are cut out like the one in my picture. Why do people chop these rectangular holes? What are they looking for? This one was encountered in northern California, but I’ve also seen it in northern Oregon. In fact, there I saw a guy walking back with his supplies from having done this, but didn’t ask him what he was collecting.

Please tell me in the comments, it’s driving me crazy!

A Bit Inconvenient

Fallen Tree on Bike TrailIt’s hard to see, the picture isn’t that great (I was facing the sun, and it’s a cell phone), but on the way to work this morning there was a tree laying across the bike trail.  No warning signs, no detour signs, nothing.  Moreover, I was told that it had been there yesterday as well!

This is a major (as bike trails go) transportation corridor for cyclists in the Folsom area. Had this tree fallen across a road intended for motor vehicles it would have been removed immediately! I hope it’s gone on the way home, it was difficult to press through the branches!

Connected, Yet Still Disconnected From Nature

Tasty or Toxic? Who knows?One thing that I really love about my bike commute is that I’m so close to nature. In the mornings and evenings I seldom see anybody else, maybe one or two other cyclists, and that’s it. But I DO see hawks, eagles, skunks, snakes, lizards, bobcats, coyotes, geese, egret, ducks, owls, fish, etc… I love the connection to nature.

Toxic? Good to eat? Who knows?I also love picking the wild blackberries. They taste very good. I also love the figs that grow along the lake whenever I can find one ripe.

This morning I saw these two diffent kinds of berry bushes and I realized that I had no idea what they were. They looked interesting. Edible? Toxic? I’m not going to test them on myself!

It made me realize how little I really know about nature and how disconnected we’ve become. I hear about gooseberries, huckleberries, wild strawberries, and other wild things that are good to eat, yet I don’t know enough to identify them and would be afraid to try. It’s too bad that we’ve become so distant from nature that we don’t know it at all.

Snake! Snake!

The American River bike trail along Lake Natoma is known for having a large number of snakes. I see more snakes in a week here than I saw in my entire life before moving here. It’s not uncommon to see as many as four snakes in a single ten mile commute in the evening. The most common ones are rattlesnakes, though gopher, king, and others are also frequently seen.

So, the other day I’m riding my bike to work in the morning, as is my usual habit, when I seesnake_snake.jpg another rider not too far ahead of me. Just as I’m starting to catch up to him I see him suddenly jump off of his bike, throw it to the ground, and start pacing around quickly. As I get closer I hear what he’s saying… “snake, snake, snake, snake…”. I roll up to where the snake is and see that it’s just a harmless gopher snake.

So, I get off of the bike and start to point out the various features to show him how to distinguish it from a venomous rattlesnake. As I point to the head region my finger is just a few inches away from its head and he suddenly starts going crazy!! I briefly considered picking it up, but decided that I didn’t want to risk even the slight discomfort and possible infection that their otherwise harmless bite could cause. Besides, that wouldn’t be very nice of me. 🙂