Along the trails to get to Little Yosemite, the nearby Calaveras Dam project is clearly visible. Slated to be completed in Spring 2019, Calaveras is the Hetch Hetchy’s largest reservoir in the Bay Area holding 96,850 acre-feet of water!
Up near the Eagle View trail, the winds picked up and we spotted a couple of American Kestrels fighting the wind while hunting for insects in the grass. American Kestrels, next to the Red Tailed Hawk, are one of the most common raptors. Much smaller than hawks, they’re related to falcons with cool looking eye strips and red-blue feather colorations.
And with the moisture brought by rains, mushrooms spontaneously erupt in the shady spots around fallen trees.
Ticks don’t seem to be a major concern in the East Bay and in the past 40 years of living here, I have never come across one. However, this experience felt like a scene out of Arachnophobia!
We did about a six mile hike this past Saturday doing a loop in the Sunol Regional Wilderness through the Indian Joe, Eagle View, and Flag Hill trails. Traversing the steep slope of the Eagle View trail, J exclaims “There’s lots of spiders climbing on me!” Upon closer inspection, those spiders were actually ticks!
This section on the Eagle View trail was a bit overgrown with tall grasses on which the ticks were waiting for unsuspecting passersby like ourselves. At any given time, 4-5 ticks could be found on our pants, gradually climbing up in search of bare skin! All in all, be probably had to flick off about 20 ticks each during the traversal!
Fortunately for J and I, we foiled the ticks’ plans by wearing hiking pants and long sleeve shirts. Even though shorts can be more comfortable during those super hot and dry East Bay days, one trip through some overgrown thistle can make you glad you wore pants. And added protection from those surprise ticks doesn’t hurt either.
NPR Page on what to do if you’ve been bitten by a tick
TickEncounter page for submitting tick pictures and identifying the tick
Wear long pants and long socks!
Got this response from TickEncounter who identified the tick as an American dog tick. Snipped for brevity:
FYI, American dog ticksdo not transmit Lyme disease but can transmit the germ causing Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF). Studies have shown that American dog ticks can transmit an infectious dose of the RMSF rickettsia as well as other less dangerous rickettsiae in as little as 12 hours of attachment. The chance for disease from a bite by this type of tick is typically low as the tick infection rate in American dog ticks is generally less than 1% in your area, but if this tick is the chance for disease would likely be low due to the shorter duration of feeding.