Posts tagged “outdoors”
Beth and I took off on Saturday morning for a hike to and from Alamere Falls via the Palomarin trail. This walk is one of our favorites, meandering through a range of terrains, passing a few small lakes, and then descending down to a beautiful, secluded beach where the falls crash into the ocean. A magical place.
The drive to the trailhead was remarkably quick. When we arrived, we were greeted by a surprising sight: a line of cars stretching back around a half mile from the trailhead. Beth and I have done the hike probably a dozen times in total between us, but had never encountered that volume of traffic in the parking lot or on the trail. Made some sense: it was a beautiful, warm, even hot Saturday morning. Everyone was out.
I’ve been a bit conflicted about what I saw on the trail. Getting people outdoors is a good way to get them to think about open space preservation and may spark some environmentalism. That said, I was dismayed by the amount of trash I saw on the trail, ranging from toilet paper to Clif Bar wrappers to empty bottles. Beyond litter, there was a remarkable lack of trail etiquette - a fair amount of wandering off trail, loud music and shouting, flower picking, and a seeming lack of awareness of one’s surroundings. This all sounds a bit curmudgeonly — perhaps it is — but I think it points toward a renewed need for some “trail manners” literature, discussion, and signage. A small thing, but an important one as social media and the internet continue to highlight the outstanding outdoor opportunities in the Bay Area.
As best as I can tell, Bruce broke into our apartment well after midnight Wednesday morning.
I should clarify. Bruce is a bat. A small bat. He is of the night, of the outdoors. He broached the boundary between inside and outside through a barely open window.
I turned in around 1:00a after a night of writing; Beth had been asleep for hours. The blinds were closed and the windows were open - a normal night for us in California. I imagine that Bruce flew in, collided with the shutters, and, little claws flailing, grabbed ahold. After catching his breath, he began to explore, to poke around his new environs.
I woke up to that: the rambunctious and clattering aftermath of Bruce’s entrance. He made his way over to the other open window, which had a screen in place. It is unclear whether he perceived this as a way out or was just seeking a cool breeze on his furry belly and wings. Regardless, this is where I found Bruce.
In the gauzy moments before adrenaline kicked in, my mind cycled through possible origins of the racket: “Moth. Rat. Bird.” It wouldn’t be the first time a winged intruder entered our home. A few years ago, a small sparrow got caught in the blinds, creating a lot more ruckus and pooping all over the place before leaving our home / exiting his toilet.
I woke Beth up, had her turn the lights on (and, in doing so, moved her away from the blinds), and took a look. My glasses were off, so all I could make out was a small black blob, the size of a small child’s fist. My first thought was large spider. But then, the blob moved in mysterious ways. Furry, winged ways.
“Bat,” I said, still half asleep.
“Bat? buhbuhBAT! BAT! BATBATBATbatbatbatbatbat!”, Beth shrieked, her voice a fading echo as she fled the room and shut the door.
I grabbed my glasses and took a closer look. Bruce came into focus, a wee bat, moving a bit and holding tightly to the aforementioned screen. A screen installed to keep pests out… and decidedly keeping Bruce in.
Beth peeked her head in and suggested we leave the room, close the door, and call maintenance. She was now fully clothed in multiple layers, scarves wrapped around her neck, head, and face. Bite protection.
I was keen on a more proactive approach and assumed we could knock the screen out the window, rid the apartment of Bruce, and not kill him. A late night defenestration.
After a few minutes of vacillating between amusement and sheer terror, I got a broom, aimed for the corner of the window shade…. and missed, putting a big hole in the screen. Bruce bobbled around a bit, spreading one wing, but not taking flight. He slowly slinked his way to the opposite corner of the screen. His wings were taut and leathery, his ears tiny, his demeanor fearless and frightening.
I slowly inserted the broom in the hole I made and decreased the width of the screen an inch. I then knocked it - and Bruce - out the window.
We heard the screen hit the ground an eternity later, closed all the windows, and took showers. We escaped unscathed… or so we thought.
The announcement of the Veolia Wildlife Photographers of the Year has been floating around the internet for a few days. I’ve been wanting to link to it, but have been having a hard time finding high resolution images on their website. Thankfully, the Atlantic took care of that. Click here to see more.