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Old Mar 22, 2010, 7:52 PM   #11
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You wildflower pictures are stunning, but to see the hills of SoCal so green and lush is a real treat. I remember the short time in spring when this would happen.

Stay clear of the nasty snakes Harriet!

Lou
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Old Mar 22, 2010, 9:24 PM   #12
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Thanks for the compliments, Lou and mtnman. We get these green mountains often, but not every year. Some years it just goes brown almost immediately - the picture you remember of the parched landscape is far more common. I'll try to get a picture of the Gorman Hills when they are golden, that can be quite pretty in the right light. I really do try to stay clear of rattlers, I'm very much a live-let live hiker. They can have all the space they want.
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Old Mar 22, 2010, 9:31 PM   #13
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Lovely, lovely flowers. I haven't seen poppies in ages. And, the lupine are so beautiful.

That's something that's always attracted me is the trip from LA to Bakersfield. The mountainsides, although just plain green (or brown mostly as you've said) are so simple and always so peaceful looking. Totally different countryside than we see here.

The snakes, you can keep them with the spiders. Not one of my favorites.

Patty
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Old Mar 22, 2010, 9:55 PM   #14
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Most likely that snake snake tail belonged to one of the varieties of Western (Pacific) Rattlesnake, which is no more or less dangerous than most other rattlers, but be aware that the most dangerous snake in North America is the Mojave (Green) Rattlesnake (which is not confined to the lower desert as the name implies). It can kill. Unlike other rattlers, it is an excitable, aggressive snake, with a highly toxic venom. Most Rattlesnakes and other North American pit vipers have predominantly hemolytic venoms (which break down red blood cells), and less of the neurotoxic (paralytic) component, but the Mojave has a much higher proportion of neurotoxin, which can kill by paralyzing the breathing muscles. So be warned - it is not wise to take Rattlesnakes for granted in Southern California, Nevada and the souhwestern border states.
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Old Mar 23, 2010, 1:47 PM   #15
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Reading about the Mojave Green does give me pause, especially since it appears I frequent the edges of it's territory. I've never seen one - I've only seen the Pacific Rattler, like the one above (after reading your post, I can now more or less tell the difference). Thanks for the information, I'll keep a closer eye out for them.
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Old Mar 23, 2010, 1:57 PM   #16
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OK, at least tell me you have your cell phone with you, and there is service in the area.
geez, I'm starting to sound like my mother...

Isn't Gorman the little town at the foot of the Grapevine... or am I thinking of some place else?
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Old Mar 23, 2010, 4:09 PM   #17
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I do have my cell phone always. Service is spotty in the mountains, depending on where I happen to be.

Gorman is a small community that's at the top (not foot) of the Grapevine, the "hills" above it are known (at least locally) as the Gorman Hills. They aren't really hills, they are part of the crest of the Tehachapi Mountains and are mostly 6,000 - 7,000 feet elevation. But they do look more like hills from the I-5, which is somewhere around 3,000 - 4,000 feet elevation at that point (the I-5 at the top of the Grapevine is just over 4,100 feet elevation). So you are thinking of the right place. In spring they can be covered with wildflowers, though a brush fire burned through them a few years ago and have been slow to recover.
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Old Mar 23, 2010, 6:57 PM   #18
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Hi Harriet,

Very nice series!!!

Poisonous animals just freak me out! Luckily, there aren't many around Chicago and the most venomous critters around here are the politicians.. . .

Things are just waking up here, after the 2+" snow we had las weekend. What a shock -- 70 degrees, then about a 30 degree drop in temp in 15 min, followed by almost a whole day of relatively light snow. . . Somehow all the green and flowers still isn't connecting. . .

Maybe it'll get warm again. . .

I just got a new toy -- I'll post a review once I've had a chance to get some samples. . .

Scott
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Old Mar 23, 2010, 7:23 PM   #19
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Great shots, I love the first one and (strangely) the snake's tail.

We are pretty lucky (depending on how you look at it) in the UK, we only have one venomous reptile, and it's rare to see one, let alone be bitten by one:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vipera_berus

I have never seen one ever, and only seen one of our other native reptiles (non venomous) in my lifetime:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anguis_fragilis

I loved it when we went to Florida last year, the wildlife was worlds apart from what we get back home. I was sat in the pool mesmerized by the lizards calmly sat on the fly screen minding their own business.
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Old Mar 23, 2010, 8:31 PM   #20
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Very nice. Living in Frazier Park you are very close to the poppy reserve. We'll be heading up there in two or three weeks when the blooms on. We just got back from Anza Borrego where the bloom is on now. It was quite spectacular, definitely something to see.
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