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Share the Trail
By Charlotte Orr
Photo of Charlotte Orr on a trail ride with her horse, "Good Knight Moon" -Photo Courtesy of Nikki Bahlman
Experienced trail riders know that it is the responsibility of each individual to determine not only their own safety out on the trail, but also the safety of their horse and other trail users. There was a time when my horse was younger that I worried about encountering other trail users. You never know how people are going to react when they come face to face with a horse. After years of blood, sweat, tears and desensitizing, I am now the proud owner of one of those “hard to scare” horses. But even the calmest horse can startle under the right circumstances.
This is not to imply that I don’t enjoy people admiring my horse. It’s always nice hearing compliments, and of course my horse, “Amigo” loves neck scratches, and sniffing pockets in the hopes that a carrot will magically appear. Most equestrians out on the trail just want to avoid situations that could result in a horse bolting, spinning, bucking, rearing, kicking out, or obtaining an injury.
Over the years I have learned that most people weren’t raised around farms, and have never been taught how to behave appropriately around horses. Out on the trail this can be dangerous for all parties involved, so I have identified a few things that I think are important for the public to know about “safe equine encounters.”
Quick safety tips for being around horses:
Always ask permission to approach a horse and rider. Like dogs, some horses do not appreciate strangers coming up to pet them.
The safest place to approach a horse is at the shoulder. Never approach a horse from the rear! Horses’ eyes are on the sides of their head; meaning they have blind spots. Horses cannot see directly behind them, or up to two feet directly in front of their face. A horse that cannot see you will be more likely to kick if they are startled.
Be calm, and use quiet body language. Horses are prey animals, and it is their natural instinct to react quickly and “out-run” what they perceive as predators. Sudden movements can cause a horse to spook (scare), bolt (run), or jump sideways.
Watch your feet! If you’re standing with your feet too close to a horse’s hooves they might accidently step on your foot. Horses can weigh upwards of 1,000lbs, so it really does hurt when this happens. It’s best not to approach a horse if you are wearing soft, or open toed shoes.
If you are really scared or nervous around horses, the safest distance to walk around them is about 10 feet away, which is outside their “kick zone.” Let the rider know you are uncomfortable around horses so they can make sure not to ride too close to you.
Here are 10 tips for sharing the trail:
1. Bikers yield to hikers.
2. Both bikers and hikers yield to horses.
3. Uphill traffic has the right of way; regardless of hiker, biker, or horseback rider.
4. Always be aware of your surroundings – watch for other trail users and let others know you are there by shouting a friendly “Hello!”
5. Go slow around the turns – you never know who will be right around the bend.
6. Always ask horseback riders if it is safe to approach, pet, or pass their horse. Otherwise you could end up startling the horse, or causing the rider to lose control and fall. Or you might just end up with a big hoof sized bruise somewhere on your body. Trust me, it hurts!
7. Make sure you’re on a designated trail. Going off the trail can destroy habitat and can be dangerous.
8. Respect the trail and be kind to other visitors. If the trail is muddy, or closed due to bad conditions, don’t use it. Riding in the mud will wreck the trail, which is not only expensive and time consuming to repair, but could prevent others from enjoying it during the dry seasons.
9. Have fun and be considerate of others. Loud noises, yelling, and screaming deters wildlife for viewing and could startle horses out on the trail.
10. If you are on a trail that allows dogs, please keep them leashed, or at least make sure they are under control at all times. Some people, and horses are not comfortable around dogs and do not want to be approached by them. This is for the dog’s safety, and the safety of everyone out on the trail.
"Spring Trail Ride" - Photo courtesy of Cathy Engstrom and her horse, "Summer"
Today, I am lucky enough to live near the public lands in the Berryessa Snow Mountain region, where there are boundless opportunities to trail ride.
We all want to get out there and enjoy the spring weather, so let’s just remember to be safe and share the trail!
Tuleyome Tales: Butterflies emerging for spring
By MARY K. HANSON
Created: 03/31/2013 12:33:04 AM PDT
It's usually in March and April when these butterflies first emerge from their chrysalises and set out to feed on nectar and find suitable mates. I look for them along the riverbanks and streams I visit in the spring, knowing I'll find them on the plant for which they're named. I love their velvety black wings with their bright blue iridescence that winks in the sunlight as the butterflies do their early morning warm-up flights.
They really are one of the most recognizable butterflies in the region. When viewed from the top they are predominantly black with an iridescent blue sheen on their hind wings (which is brighter on the males than it is on the females) and white spots along the wing margins. The underside of their wings boasts some bright orange spots surrounded by black and iridescent blue. Can you name my favorite butterfly?
It is the Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor)!
(Photo Courtesy of Mary Hanson)
The Pipevine Swallowtail's body is fuzzy black with white spots. Its long curling proboscis is used to feed on nectar from a variety of flowers and thistles, but the butterfly gets its name from the host plant on which it lays its tiny reddish-brown eggs: the California Pipevine, also known as the California Dutchman's Pipe (Aristolochia californica). The flowers, which look like fat pitchers or calabash pipes, arrive just before the vines start sprouting their broad vaguely heart-shaped leaves. Although the flowers look like those of some insectivorous (insect-eating) plants, the Pipevine isn't an insect-eater. Later in the season, when the flowers drop off, they are replaced by six-winged ribbed seed pods.
These vines can be found growing naturally in riparian zones (moist areas where forests meet streams and rivers) throughout the northern and central parts of the state, including the Sacramento Valley, Yolo County and Napa County. Although they are not considered endangered, there are some areas where the vines have been exterminated as weeds or nuisance plants by those who do not recognize them or understand their importance to the local ecology. And that is very bad news for the Pipevine Swallowtails. The female butterflies will only lay their eggs on the vines; and when the caterpillars emerge, they feed exclusively on the Pipevine. No other plant will do. So, where the Pipevines are destroyed, so are the Pipevine Swallowtails.
The caterpillars forage in groups when they're young and then become more solitary as they age. They go through stages called "instars" during which the caterpillar sheds its old skin, sort of like a snake, and emerges larger and darker. The caterpillars, like the adult butterflies, are very recognizable. They usually appear locally in April and May (but may be seen as late as September) gorging on the leaves, stems and pods of the Pipevine plants.
In May or June, the fully grown caterpillars start to hang themselves from the side of trees, fence posts, twigs or branches from silken threads they weave called "suspension loops", and then form a chrysalis around their torpid bodies. The chrysalises are usually brown, but can also be golden-brown or green when they're first made. When you find them, look closely at these tiny delicate works of art.
Resist the urge to touch them. To ensure that this intricate, complex, and beautiful cycle of life continues, it is essential to leave the eggs, caterpillars and their chrysalises wherever you find them. Taking photographs is the best way to "take them home with you."
-- Tuleyome Tales is a monthly publication of Tuleyome, conservation organization with offices in Woodland and Napa. Mary K. Hanson is an amateur naturalist and photographer who is currently serves as executive assistant to Tuleyome's executive director. Mary has degrees in journalism and law. For more information about Tuleyome, go to www.tuleyome.org
March Guest Author
Tuleyome Tales: Remembering To Let Go While Still Holding On
Remembering To Let Go While Still Holding On
Lake Berryessa - Napa County, California
By Guest Author: Damien Luzzo
There are two aspects of a photographic memory that truly make it a blessing to have. One characteristic is the constant reminder that there is beauty in this world even if that beauty isn't visible right this second. There are so many magical places in this world and remembering this immutable fact of nature helps you to recall these mystical truths both substantively and visually. In a sense, I never formulate remembrance of any one thing; I simply hit rewind in my memory theater, dim the lights of the external world and see the memory as clear as reality.
Tuleyome Tales is a monthly publication of Tuleyome. Damien Luzzo is the CEO of SaveWithSunlight, Inc. More information about Tuleyome and the Berryessa Snow Mountain region can be found at www.tuleyome.org.
Tuleyome Tales: Clear Lake hitch face extinction
Updated: 01/28/2013 05:05:45 PM PST
Friday, 04 January 2013 01:39 Charlotte Orr
LAKE COUNTY, Calif. – Saturday, Jan. 5, marks National Bird Day, a day to reflect on the survival and well-being of the world's birds.
National Bird Day was established by bird activists to bring awareness to issues affecting captive and wild birds, but it is also a wonderful opportunity to be thankful for the native wild birds we see outside our windows.
Whether you are a bird owner, birdwatcher or simply a wildlife enthusiast, what better way to celebrate National Bird Day than signing up for an outing to view our national bird, the American bald eagle?
During January and February, the Bureau of Land Management will host free guided hikes to look for wintering bald eagles in the Cache Creek Natural Area in Lake County.
Hikers will enjoy scenic vistas of the Cache Creek Canyon, where eagles often soar over the creek and perch in streamside trees.
The Berryessa Snow Mountain region is host to California's second-largest population of wintering bald eagles.
Winter is the best time to look for these brilliant birds because they tend to concentrate in small areas.
With open water and fresh food sources such as catfish and carp, the Cache Creek Natural Area provides the perfect habitat for wintering bald eagles as they feed, soar and roost until about mid-April.
Spotting a bald eagle in person is not only an impressive sight, but also an inspiring reminder of how the species has recovered from near extinction.
Although bald eagles have made a remarkable comeback, continued conservation is necessary to keep populations strong.
Wild birds are an integral part of the natural community, but they need healthy habitats to survive. Permanent protection for the Berryessa Snow Mountain region will provide a safeguard for all of the unique birds and wildlife that we are able to come into close contact with and enjoy.
This National Bird Day, consider the wonderful diversity of birds, such as the bald eagle, living right here in our backyard. Take the opportunity to see it yourself, by signing up for the Bureau of Land Management’s free guided bald eagle hikes.
Participants in the guided hikes often spot other wildlife including tule elk, golden eagles, osprey, herons, red-tailed hawks and egrets.
Guided hikes will be held on Saturdays, Jan. 12, 19 and 26, and Feb. 2, 9, 16 and 23.
They will start at the Redbud Trailhead parking area, eight miles east of Clearlake Oaks on Highway 20 at 10 a.m.
The hikes are four-miles long – including a steep 600-foot climb in the first mile – and will last three to four hours.
Participants should wear sturdy hiking boots suitable for wet conditions and dress for cold weather.
In addition, participants should bring water, a lunch and binoculars.
Space is limited. Reserve a spot by contacting the Bureau of Land Management’s Ukiah Field Office at 707-468-4000.
For more information on permanent protection for the Berryessa Snow Mountain region, visit www.berryessasnowmountain.org .
By SARA D. HUSBY-GOOD/Executive Director of Tuleyome
Created: 11/03/2012 12:30:54 AM PDT
Did you know that the Cache Creek River and the Cache Creek Natural Area is right in your own back yard? Just a quick 50 mile hop, skip, and a jump in the car and you could soon find yourself immersed in an area rich in natural wonder and excellent outdoor recreation.
The Cache Creek Natural Area is made up of more than 70,000 acres of public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management 4,700 acres of State and County public land. Of the 70,000 acres of secluded, hilly expanse of oak woodlands, grasslands, and chaparral, on BLM public lands, 27,245 acres was put into permanent protection as Wilderness in 2006 under Congressman Mike Thompson's Northern California Coastal Wild Heritage Act.
The Cache Creek Natural Area is also home to one of the largest wintering habitats for bald eagles. From mid-October until mid-April you can discover the bald eagles soaring above, feeding on catfish and carp from the Cache Creek River, or nesting in trees high above your heads.
And if you keep an eye out on hillsides, near brushy cover you might be able to see Tule elk and blacktail deer. You may also be able to spot a river otter under the Highway 20 Bridge if you have a bit of patience.
The Cache Creek River flows year round through this magnificent natural area and is a tributary to the Sacramento River.
In 2005, led by local group Tuleyome, AB 1328 was introduced by then Assembly member Lois Wolk to designate a portion of Cache Creek as a California Wild and
But the Cache Creek River also has a history with hydrology. The Cache Creek Dam on the Main Fork of Cache Creek, about five miles downstream from Clear Lake, was built to increase Clear Lake's capacity and to regulate outflow for downstream users of Cache Creek water.
While the Indian Valley Dam on the North Fork of Cache Creek forms Indian Valley Reservoir. The dam's primary purpose is water storage for irrigation, but a 3.3 MW hydroelectric plant was built to take advantage of the falling water.
When water is released from the dams during the summertime, the Cache Creek River is an ideal spot for kayaking, canoeing, or rafting down the river.
But everything I just told you are facts. What about the story behind the Cache Creek Natural Area and the Cache Creek River?
Did you know that the Cache Creek River was named by the Hudson Bay Company, trappers who caught furs along the Sacramento River and other tributaries?
The original name given by the Hudson Bay Company was Rivière la Cache. Or did you know that gravel mining has taken place up and down Cache Creek and innovative projects like the Jan T. Lowrey Cache Creek Nature Preserve emerged out of struggles over whether and how much to mine out of the river?
Want to learn more about how local history and ecology intersect? Then I suggest attending one of the Restore/Restory project presentations scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 4; or Thursday, Nov. 8 and Friday, Nov. 9. Restore/Restory explores the different social, cultural, and environmental histories of the Cache Creek Nature Preserve through the voices of a wide range of Yolo County residents.
The project involved over 200 Yolo County people in a collaborative effort to chronicle our diverse and changing demographics, traditions and relationships with the land.
Collectively, they a wide array of media art work that you can explore at restorerestory.org. Restore/Restory is a project of the UC Davis Art of Regional Change in collaboration with the Cache Creek Conservancy. For more information on upcoming presentations go to http://artofregionalchange.ucdavis.edu/?page_id=1070).
But also take the opportunity to get out and create your own stories and adventures in the Cache Creek Natural Area with your friends and family. Year round the region offers adventures suited for everyone. The Cache Creek Region offers hiking, fishing, hunting, equestrian usage, birding, and a great opportunity to see rare wildflowers.
Tuleyome Tales is produced by Tuleyome , a regional conservation organization based in Woodland. Sara Husby-Good is the Executive Director. You can learn more at www.tuleyome.org
Sunday, October 21, 2012
YOLO COUNTY, CALIFORNIA
Volume 115 · Issue 209 | 99¢
Lake Berryessa stretches out below in this view from Cold Canyon Ridge above Annie's Rock. Hiking the beautiful back country of Northern California is particularly appealing in the fall. Jim Rose/Courtesy photo
By Bob Schneider
Fall is here; temperatures are cooling; and the hiking season begins! I am really looking forward to revisiting favorite trails and hiking new trails throughout the region. It is also time to do a bit of trail maintenance.
As we pack our packs and tighten our laces it is important to also remember to hike safety. We are fortunate to have dedicated public safety men and women who take time away from their families and incur personal risks to aid those who in need. But, let’s be sure that we take personal responsibility and do our best to let them enjoy their time at home.
Here are a few pointers to help us have a great safe trip:
* Know where you are going and let others know. There are maps online and trail books at outdoor stores. Plan your trip and let friends or family know your plan.
* Take adequate water. While the high heat of summer maybe gone, we still need water — at least a quart and I recommend two for a day hike. I use a water bladder and hose for sipping. Whenever I think of water or thirst I always take a sip to stay hydrated.
* It is good to have some basic first-aid supplies. While super glue and duct tape are invaluable, you can also purchase small first-aid kits at outdoor stores.
* Keep up your energy level. It is nice to have a sandwich, nuts and dried fruit but energy bars can give a quick boost and make for a happier hiking experience.
* Flashlights can allow you to hike and avoid an unplanned night out. Leaving late and getting benighted is not a reason for a rescue! I like to use headlamps.
* A hat, dark glasses and sunscreen protect from the sun. Take them with you and use them.
* Whistle, signal mirror or cell phone? It is nice to be able too call for help when really necessary. Unfortunately, some calls are irresponsible. Is somebody injured? Is it a life-threatening emergency? Do I really need help or can a figure this out myself? These are important questions to ask.
* Rain clothes. It is always good to dress in layers with poly pro or other wicking material close to your skin. Your outer layer can be Goretex but in our area you are often better with waterproof raincoat and rain pants.
Yes, there are rattlesnakes so keep an eye out. They don’t always “rattle” but they will generally avoid us unless startled, provoked or stepped on. Personally, I do not recommend getting closer for a photo. Also, the small ones are often the most dangerous as they have not yet learned to regulate their dosage.
I have not seen a mountain lion in our region (yet) but I vividly recall seeing footprints on two frost-covered steps at Cold Canyon. It was exciting and just a bit scary. Attacks are extremely rare but it is wise to be aware particularly with pets and small children at dusk and dawn.
Yep, there is a bit of poison oak! If you are susceptible learn to identify the plant in all seasons. Wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts and stay on the trails. When you get home remove your clothes and wash them. Take a shower and start with a very thorough hand washing. Tecnu soap is recommended for washing away poison oak oils.
Mosquitoes can be present and watch out for ticks that might carry Lyme disease. Take a good repellent.
I use walking sticks when I hike. I find they help stability, ease stress on the knees and help prevent sprained ankles. The science says they are more efficient and I like that they exercise your upper body. What’s not to like?
Please do not cut switchbacks. It causes erosion and habitat destruction. Ultimately, someone must repair the damage. It starts with one self-important person or group who believe this does not apply to them. They cut the first path straight down the hill and then others follow. Please don’t!
So be careful and have a really great safe hike. For more information, go to www.tuleyome.org.
— Bob Schneider of Davis is Tuleyome’s senior policy director. He has climbed and hiked over much of the planet but now focuses much of his exploration in the Berryessa Snow Mountain Region. Tuleyome Tales is published monthly.
Wednesday, August 1, 2012
By Andrew Fulks August 02, 2012 |
Tuleyome Tales: How the California delta happened
May 04, 2012 | Posted by Special to The Enterprise
By Stephen Daubert
The Blue Ridge forms the western boundary of the Sacramento Valley. Its crest rises out of the ground southwest of Vacaville and continues north for 50 miles. The crest trail reaches above the 3,000-foot level beside notches cut into the wall by rivers older than the ridge itself, by Putah and Cache creeks.
The panorama to the west from the trail looks down a steep cliffside, then out across the ridges of the Inner Coastal Mountain Range that recede off toward the Pacific shore 50 miles away.
The view to the opposite direction looks down a more gradual slope, upon a completely different landscape. Off to the east lies one of the flattest places on Earth — the Sacramento Valley. Fifty miles across that bottomland, the snowy Sierra begins to rise up to its own ridgeline.
The differences between the two sides of Blue Ridge extend to the weather. The ridge forms a weather divide. On a brisk morning, with the reminder of the last night’s delta breeze still fresh in the air, the contrasts between the opposite sides of the ridge are striking.
On the sunny side, the light slants up the slope from the east through another calm, hazy valley day. But on the other side, the world is transformed — submerged by a flood of fog that spreads all the way over the western horizon. Only the tallest hilltops reach up through that sea of gray, with the slopes of distant Mount Tamalpias most prominent among them.
You can see the weather divide that follows Blue Ridge even on cloudless, fair weather days, by looking at the plants. One of the most reliable barometers of the local climate is an air plant — lace lichen. It lives suspended in the branches, with no root system to supply water and nutrients to the pale, gray-green foliage. It meets its needs through what it can harvest from the sky.
The flattened, finely divided foliage provides these lichens with the greatest surface-to-volume ratio of any plant. No cell in this lacy meshwork is more than a fraction of a millimeter from thin air. Its filaments hang limp and dusty gray when dry, like silk curtains billowing in the breeze. But they respond to the humidity on a windy evening, stiffening to spread their net and catch what the wind carries.
The sea breeze brings a microcosmic sample of lands far away across the sea — specks of dust levitated by sandstorms in the Gobi Desert, volcanic aerosols injected into the jet stream above Indonesia, invisible smoke particles that rose on plumes of African grass fires, salt crystals that are all that remain of evaporated droplets of sea spray. The transoceanic journey of these fine particles ends in the finely divided foliage of the lichen.
The gray-green webwork becalms the air within it. Motes from the far corners of the Earth wander into the living lattice and settle out on the strands. Eventually, those particles dissolve in place in the predawn dew. They color a tea that coats the finely divided surface with a solution of phosphates, potash — minerals that most plants search for with roots in the soil, but this plant finds in the air.
Lacy lichens grow fast, extending their length by a third again every year. Often they do not reproduce by making spores, but spread from tree to tree as fragments. And just as other plants rely upon their flying allies to disseminate their pollen or seed on the wing, this plant also enlists the assistance of animals to spread its population.
Lacy lichen’s dispersal partners are hummingbirds. These birds build a nest from filaments of lace, so that it will be expandable, to accommodate the growth of the hatchlings. As the chicks mature, their respiration hydrates the strands of lichen next to their bodies. The dry filaments come to life, just as they do on a dewy dawn, when they absorb water vapor from the nestlings. The nest dilates with the press of the growing hummers; it may increase in diameter almost twofold as the chicks fluff up.
Other weaverbirds also transport lichen strands for nest building: orioles, bush tits, blue-gray gnatcatchers. The nests hang vacant through the dog days of summer, sagging and drying out after they have accomplished their first task: fledging the next generation of birds.
With fall, the lace in those nests reawakens, absorbing the season’s moisture and beginning to grow again. It trails into the open air spaces, expanding all the way down to the browse line, where the deer trim the longest streamers. The distribution of these waving fronds maps the course through which the sea breeze spills farthest inland overnight through the maze of valleys in the mountains.
— Stephen Daubert is a nature writer living in Davis. He is the author of “The Shark and the Jellyfish” and “Threads from the Web of Life.” Tuleyome is a conservation organization based in Woodland working to protect our wild heritage and our agricultural heritage in the Northern Inner Coast Range and Western Sacramento Valley.
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