Browsing Category



Hiking Among Tarantulas Near San Francisco

September 30, 2017

Okay, call me weird but as soon as I heard I could hike among the tarantulas on Mt. Diablo, I put it on my bucket list. These gentle giants are easy to view along a specific trail at dusk in September and October during the mating season.

I hadn’t realized how quickly the free guided tours filled up, so I was fortunate to move off the waitlist. Now I know what you’re thinking – what a lucky duck!

Tarantula on the move

I didn’t know what to expect. I guess I was hoping to see a mass migration of tarantulas. But these fellas are solitary. We spied about 12 of them sparsely along the trail.

The hike began with a quick educational introduction to these marvelous creatures. Because they are so big and juicy, tarantulas are vulnerable to predators. So as a defense mechanism, they flick fiberglass-like hairs into a predator’s eyes and nose.

And all that body hair gives the spider important feedback about their surroundings because their eight-eyed eyesight is actually quite poor.

Tarantula Burrow

A female is inside this tarantula burrow. Her underground home may stretch one foot down and one foot across. And in February, she’ll lay approximately 150 eggs.

Males only mate at the end of their life which coincides with full sexual maturity. This is not true for females who will be mamas many times over their 30 years of life.

View of Mt Diablo State Park

Tarantulas never venture far from where they were born. It’s so beautiful, why would they?

Tarantula against a tennis shoe

Spiders can’t chew so they inject venom from their fangs into prey to liquefy their insides. Then they suck out the juices. That’s why you see empty insect exoskeletons below spider webs.

Although tarantulas look fearsome and are venomous, they’ve never been known to cause a human fatality.

View of Mt Diablo State Park

Mt. Diablo State Park is approximately 40 miles east of San Francisco. Sign-ups for free guided tarantula tours are available online on August 1st through the Mount Diablo Interpretive Association. Admit it – you’re marking it on your calendar now 🙂

More: Best Day Trips from San Francisco


Instagram * Facebook * Twitter

Yosemite In A Day

Yosemite In A Day

One thing we learned from living in Europe was traveling shouldn’t be reserved exclusively for school holidays Sometimes you just have to take the time you’ve been given, and for us, we had one weekend in May put aside to visit Yosemite National Park Yosemite was…

May 20, 2015
Visit Beatrix Potter's Lake District

The Lake District

For the long holiday weekend we took a quick zip to the Lake District, the largest and most visited National Park in England located near the Scottish border You can see how this area has inspired so many authors including William Wordsworth and Arthur…

June 7, 2014
Visit Gertrude Jekyll’s Munstead Home

Visiting Gertrude Jekyll’s Home

So, wow. This week I visited the Godalming home of the most famous garden designer of all time, at least in my mind – Gertrude Jekyll – (pronounced GEE-kul) Not only was she THE garden designer for wealthy Edwardian homeowners, she was an artist, writer,…

May 18, 2014
Rural English daffodils in spring

The Year Of The Daffodil

This year the daffodils have never looked more spectacular They must love wet feet for this has been the wettest winter on record and they’ve never looked better While England’s national flower is the rose, the daffodil belongs to Wales Let’s take a look…

March 25, 2014
Smoky Sun in Spring in Surrey

A Smoky Sun

It’s not until you stop seeing the sun for a prolonged amount of time that you start to realize the indicators of a longed-for sunny day Shadows Sunglasses Squinting Sun visor on your car Sunrise Sunset After such a bleak winter, the sun is…

March 24, 2014
Down Came The Rain...

Down Came The Rain…

 We have had rain by the bucket-loads for the past month For the second time this season, the river jumped the banks and flooded the street This has never happened in my four years of living here You know it’s a big deal when the…

January 20, 2014