Number 16 in my 52 hike challenge was up in the mountains. I was still a bit unsure of how my ankle would do after twisting it a few weeks prior. So, we chose a trail to hike that wasn't very technical and wasn't very steep. I wore my running shoes because my hiking boots were still uncomfortable on my ankle bone. My ankle did great! Hooray! We hiked over five miles that day.
We had expected to see a lot of people because the Ernie Maxwell Scenic Trail is popular. Luckily, there weren't very many people up there that day. The weather was perfect, the birds were singing, the trees were sprouting new leaves, flowers were blooming (we even saw daffodils), and...a special and rare treat...the streams were flowing. They were flowing so well that the sound filled portions of the trail like a big, beautiful song. It was wonderful! Hooray for all the rain we got in California this winter!
There was switchback section of the trail where there was a small waterfall a few yards up the hill from the trail. We hiked up to see it and saw a Western Rattlesnake warming up in the sun. I was a bit surprised by the place it decided to snuggle into as pinecones don't seem like they'd be comfy. But, it was very content. I saw it's eyes look at me but it was perfectly happy where it was and had no plans of moving. So many people are terrified of them. And, yes, they can be dangerous. But, they don't want to be bothered by us any more than we want to be bothered by them. As long as hikers are aware and watch out for them and keep a safe distance everyone will be fine. They're an important part of the ecosystem and help keep rodent populations in check.
Speaking of things that need to be kept in check. How about this....litter! I've been finding more and more litter on trails and in nature. On this hike, we found several bags of dog poop at the end of our hike. They were sitting just a few yards from the trailhead and just a few more steps away from a trash can. Why that person or those people didn't take the few extra steps to finish the job just boggles my mind! I've heard others complain about finding poop bags on the trail too. It's great that people are picking up their poop but that's only half of the task. It needs to go in the trash! I just don't understand what people are thinking when they do this! I care about our planet and the experience we want when we go into nature....for it to be clean and beautiful. So, when I see trash on the trail or poop bags I can't just walk by and leave it. I know of other caring people that feel the same way. Everyone needs to be responsible and not leave things like this for others to do.
A video was posted recently of a problem in our local mountains that was created by those who went up to play in the snow over the winter....trash and broken plastic sled pieces all over the mountain. It was unbelievable to see how much was left behind and how wide spread it was. They've been having clean up days and some residents have been going out for an hour or more every single day to try to get it all. They said that it's so bad they're not sure they can ever get it all picked up. So sad! So ugly! And, so bad for wildlife and our beautiful mother earth!