Friday, June 11, 2010

Lakeville Highway, Petaluma, CA - June 10, 2010

Walking Distance: 7.3 miles
Walking Time: 2 hrs., 20 min. (6:36 - 8:56 p.m.)
Start and End Point: side-of-road, on Stage Gulch Rd., several yards from Lakeville Rd./Highway, Petaluma, CA

I really do enjoy walking. But, this evening's walk was mildly terrifying. In addition to walking on a narrow shoulder of Highway 116 (shown as yellow lines on map, right) with traffic whizzing by, and occasionally getting buffeted by blasts of air from passing semis, I also had several surprise encounters with wildlife.

First, I stepped too close to (what I'm guessing was) a gopher snake that was lying at the road's edge; it immediately coiled into a defensive posture (right). Most of the snakes by the side of the road I've seen have been dead. I was happy to see this one was alive, but it did give me a start.

I also had a cow run toward a fence at me. It looked like this cow was either trying to chase me off, or that it was extremely frisky and wanted to play. (Picture shown at right of cows was taken a few seconds before this happened.)  I wasn't willing to risk having this animated cow burst through the fence on my account; so I quickly crossed the street.

Last, but not least, as the sun went down, the afternoon breeze died down -- enabling a large army of mosquitos to move around comfortably. A cloud of bugs encased me for almost 2/3 mile. It was then that I looked forward to every blast of air from those passing trucks -- to blow the bug cloud off me.

Thank you to the two (separate) women who stopped to see if I was in trouble or needed a ride. I really appreciated their kindness. It was hard to explain to them -- as I was swatting away mosquitos, and trying not to swallow any -- that, really, I was out walking of my own free will. Swat, swat, cough. No really, I do this for fun. 

Before the bugs almost carried me off, I enjoyed watching a "V" formation of Canada geese flying overhead (shown in tiny picture, right) seeing the golden-pink tones of the evening sunset, and hearing some frogs singing near a large pond in the distance. I did not have time to investigate the Lakeville Marina, near Papas Taverna, just off the highway. Maybe next time.

Wildlife Sightings:
4 sheep; 10 blackbirds (orioles?); 20 red-winged blackbirds; 21 swallows; 4 little brown jobs (LBJs); 1 rusty screw; 23 Canada geese (flying in V formation overhead); 62 cows; 3 snakes -- 1 live (brown-patterned) snake, and 2 dead ones (1 brown-patterned, 1 kingsnake); 2 crows; and one gigantic cloud of mosquitos (almost 2/3 mile long).

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