Saturday, September 25, 2010

Snakes, Rattle and Coil

You adventurous outdoor enthusiasts who refuse to let a little heat keep you from venturing in the wild need to be extra careful about where you step.
Experts say rattle snakes are especially active when the temperature outside starts to rise.
That make sense, considering I almost stepped on the fanged reptile to the left during a recent hike along Coldbrook Creek Canyon in the San Gabriel Mountains. This creek eventually dumps into the San Gabriel Reservoir.
There are a couple of good fishing spots along the North Fork, near the OHV Entrance Station in San Gabriel Canyon. However, the area is overrun with families and picnickers on the weekends. That's why I explored the river further upstream to look for a place to drop a line and accidentally met up with the snake in the grass that you see above.
So, stay safe! Stay on marked paths and trails. Wear hiking boots and thick pants if you are going to venture into the brush. And look before you step.
Happy hiking.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Look for Osprey in Upper Newport Bay

The Osprey, a majestic bird that makes its home near water, is making a comeback in Southern California.
It's great news because these are beautiful birds to watch in action. I just got back from my annual vacation in Huntington Lake where I joined the Osprey in a daily hunt for trout in the beautiful mountain lake. My efforts were an epic failure but I enjoyed watching the Osprey soar over the surface and dive to pluck the floundering fish from the lake.
If you have never seen an Osprey before, think of a cross between a seagull and an eagle, with a call that sounds like a crying baby.
To see the Osprey, check out the Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve and Ecological Reserve. Follow the link for hours and directions. The preserve boasts one of the largest coastal wetland in southern California, and is renowned as one of the finest bird watching sites in North America.

(Photo: Osprey nest near the Upper Newport Bay. Credit: Los Angeles Times.)