Nature’s Garden, No Tarantulas

The good news (if you’re a tarantula) is its mating season.

Additional good news (for arachnophobics) is I didn’t spy a single one on my hike this week. You may safely continue reading without any surprises herein.

I’ve really missed my weekly hikes along the Almaden Quicksilver trail. Hiking trails feel like nature’s garden, a place to enjoy flora and fauna and if your lucky, a bit of wildlife.  I generally hike with my friend Karen and her sweet dog, Dylan. They weren’t available this week, so I decided to hoof it alone.

I bent down to take a photo of some fall leaves, when two women approached and said “is that a tarantula?”  Momentarily confused, I realized the hikers thought I was taking a picture of one of our eight-legged friends. The hikers I spoke with saw three tarantulas on the trail that morning.

Off I went in pursuit of exercise and wildlife (with four legs), careful to keep my eyes down whenever I approached a patch of shade. Years ago a tarantula crossed my path on a hike around this time of year. They’re actually slow-moving and quite docile, so other than the startle factor, I wasn’t concerned.

One of the amazing things about hiking this trail is how quickly you feel like you’re away from the city.  I can get there by car in 15 minutes. I love that.

Given the long, dry year we’ve had, things were looking pretty brown.  Even so, I loved the smell of fall in the air, the shadows in the trees and the view of downtown San Jose.

Come have a look at one of the quicksilver trails: nature’s garden, and as promised, no tarantulas.

McAbee Road Trail head

McAbee Road Trail Head

Potpourri of fallen leaves

Potpourri of fallen leaves

trail incline

The first steep incline (no spiders here)

view of silicon valley

A view of Silicon Valley and the dreaded smog we have this time of year.

parched earth

Parched earth

tree cave

‘Tree cave’

Remnants from the Quicksilver days

Remnants from the quicksilver mining days

The bottom of the hill

The bottom of the hill

camouflaged deer

A well camouflaged deer

Almaden Quicksilver County Park

22 thoughts on “Nature’s Garden, No Tarantulas

  1. It looks very dry Alys, you must be hanging out for a bit of rain! I believe Tarantulas are quite becoming [for a spider], and some people keep them as pets…… Personally I prefer something a little larger and with less legs. In a way I’m sorry that you didn’t come across one and include a snap of it here as I have never seen one in the wild……. maybe next hike 🙂


    • Pauline, we are desperate for rain. We’ve had the driest year on record since the gold rush days of the 1800’s. Can you believe it?

      This past Sunday, we had a downpour for two hours, also a record. We rarely get rain, especially like that, in September. It is all so strange.

      I’ll keep my eyes out on future hikes. I’m happy to report that although I too, like the four legged creatures, I did not encounter a mountain lion. Now *that* would be scary…and cool. 🙂


  2. Oh dear, I’m glad there were no tarantula’s herein…although knowing you, you were probably looking for one to photograph and disappointed not to see one LOL. I get the heebie geebies just thinking about how they make more of them hairy beasts…YIKES.

    It sure does look dry, but according to Jim, it’s a desert area. So naturally it looks perfectly normal as far as mother nature would say. Did you see that photo of a ‘Dry Lake’ at Nancy’s blog they other day? Deep deep cracked earth. They say these massive green oasis we like to surround our homes with are a big waste of water and the trend is to landscape with patios and walks and more natural plantings for the area’s you live in. It’s hard to change attitudes though. Actually the home lots are soooo small now in new areas, there’s no ROOM for landscaping.

    Looks like a great spot to hike and enjoy the great outdoors and I really miss the dear at the lake. Lucky you to spot her. Let’s plan on a walk if you can fit it in !! xoK


    • You know me well, my dear. I was secretly hoping to photograph one…from a polite distance of course. All of nature fascinates me.

      San Jose is considered semi-arid, with an average of 14 – 18 inches of rain a year. I think we might have had 5 inches this year so really, really low. We’ve had a lot of wild fires as a result of dryer conditions. It was really on my mind as I hiked.

      You are so right on the green oasis of lawn. Lawns guzzle a lot of water, not to mention needing fertilizer, and regular mowing. I’m so ready to turn over our lawn to something more native, but hub is not ready to let it go.

      I would love to take you up there for a walk. Be sure to pack comfy shoes.


      • Hehe, you read my mind….

        Once again, you say “remember comfy shoes” and I’m posting about shoes. Is it just me or are we spooky in sync?
        I can’t imagine only 5″ of rain in such a long period of time. You must moisturize like mad because you’ve got beautiful skin, not like a tarantula at all…LOL


        • Spooky in sync or boooooomdee in sync. Hee!

          You are so sweet to say that about my skin. Really and truly, I’m a lazy bum. I try to stay out of the mid day sun, use sunblock and drink water and tea.

          Glad to know that I pass the anti-tarantula test, though.


  3. That photo of the potpouri of fallen leaves is lovely – such soft colors.
    I’ve never seen a tarantula in the wild. My friend however, moved to west Texas and her first day in clinic, found one just walking down the hall!!


    • Thank you, LB.

      Oh my goodness…can you imagine finding one indoors? Crazy! Did your friend shriek or is she the mellow sort? The one I saw on the trail many years ago was about the size of a closed fist. My 6th grade classroom had one in a terrarium but much smaller. I may still see one yet.


    • I secretly hoped to encounter one, but on my terms. I didn’t want to find one crawling over my shoe or anything hair raising like that, but it would have been interesting. I’m actually more worried about rattle snakes. The bite can be deadly, and requires immediate medical attention.


  4. Loved the pictures, especially the one of the deer. My little dog used to follow tarantulas around when we lived in AZ but fortunately, never got too close. Spiders and snakes are why I don’t hike. No creepy crawlies on the treadmill. 😉


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