Monday, March 30, 2015

Who Knew EBMUD Had Land in the Sierra Foothills?

Not this guy, not until this past Sunday. The North Branch of the Mokelumne near Jackson is fantastic and isolated. Now one of my favorite foothills spots. QUESTION FOR HERBALIST/WILDFLOWER TYPES: ARE THE PURPLE ONES STICKY CHINESE HOUSES? (Marked with a caption.)

First, enjoy some frogs.

These purple flowers, above and below: sticky Chinese houses? (Comment or message, thanks.)

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Mountain Lion Overpopulation in the East Bay?

Aww. From Wildlife Hotline.

There are a bunch of mountain lions in Ohlone Wilderness. This is a bit nerve-wracking. Last time I was there I saw a bobcat chase down and kill a ground squirrel and I'm fine with those guys because they can't chase down and kill people. There was a story a few years ago that I now can't find that a few years ago a camera caught five mountain lions simultaneously feeding on a deer carcass in Palo Alto. That was more than enough to make me think twice.

Yesterday I was running on the part of the Western States trail where someone lost her life 21 years ago to a lion attack (see 1994, near Green Gate - I think). This sobering history is a large part of why these animals are interesting, and a little anxiety-inducing. And I also had the realization that no one is going to take me up on my bet that mountain lions will return to my home state of Pennsylvania by 2025. I mean they're already in Connecticut again for crying out loud, with tracking information showing that it walked from South Dakota (it wasn't captured and released by some wise guy).

(Note: if every mountain lion sighting by someone's brother-in-law while he was hunting or aunt on her patio was genuine, PA and many other states would be bursting at the seams with them. Verifiable photograph or DNA evidence, or no dice.)

Roads in California, Canyons in Pennsylvania

Above, all roads in California. Found at reddit/r/mapporn of course.

Roads are a good first approximation for population density, which drops off in mountainous country of course. And you can compare to Pennsylvania, where you can really see the drop-off north of I-80, which is the less rugged but still foreboding Allegheny Plateau. (Contains the highest point on I-80 east of the Mississippi; somehow the mountains in Pennsylvania are just scary, captured well by Kerouac in On the Road.*) This part of the state wasn't really explored until the 1790s, after the Revolutionary War. Wiki map below.

Above: the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania, Northern PA, just because. From Geo Times.

*"We walked seven miles along the mournful Susquehanna. It is a terrifying river. It has bushy cliffs on both sides that lean like hairy ghosts over the unknown waters. Inky night covers all. Sometimes from the railyards across the river rises a great red locomotive flare that illuminates the horrid cliffs."