Green Window

Green Window title=
Green Window
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By Tom Modugno of Goleta Surfing

When the hills are great and the creeks are running, the ocean has to take the back seat. At least for me. You may disagree, especially when we've had steady surf.

But this year especially, with the displaced Los Angelenos clogging up our surf spots, the empty wilderness has been my preference.

However, finding some wilderness that's empty has also become a challenge, given all the "Corona Refugees" that are off work and scouring the internet for new trails to explore.

But where there's a will, there's a way. And thankfully, Goleta has lots of little nooks and crannies to get lost in.

With our late season rains, even the tiniest creeks have swimming holes, and that comes in real handy when it's 80 degrees out.

The short window of time that our hills are green is a powerful draw.

Powerful indeed.

Early Spring, it looked like the rain was done and things were already drying out. But March and April brought some heavy rainfall, and a second wave of green erupted.

This day, we enjoyed the show as a cloud dumped on Santa Cruz Island

My partner and I travel light and quiet and don't interfere with the local wildlife. (He always wears a leash and we never leave behind shit bags).

We saw more California Newts than we've seen in years. A good sign. Of course we did not touch them.

One day we stumbled on a pool with about 15 newts, many of them locked in the throes of reproduction. A few sets appeared to have a third partner involved. A nurse maid supervising? ... or a menage a trois?

Saw lots of signs of the big guys. Prints and scat all over the place.

Came across a few rattlers. It's a good year for snakes.

This little guy tricked me. I thought it was a baby rattler with no rattles but a friend that knows these thing taught me that Gopher snakes flatten their heads as a defensive mechanism. Live and learn...

See more photos of Tom's adventure at

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420722 May 09, 2020 04:35 PM
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I crack up that he “always wears a leash” but is not leashed in any of these photos. With that being said, I love Toms photos and don’t think dogs should have to be leashed on hikes. That’s their free time, they need and deserve it.

biguglystick May 10, 2020 11:20 AM
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0722: I noticed that too... haha!

MountainMan4865 May 09, 2020 04:44 PM
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Excellent - thank you! I learned something new - I did not know that gopher snakes would flatten their heads - I knew they vibrate their tails in the duff, but always relied on head shape if I was in doubt.

a-1589068935 May 09, 2020 05:02 PM
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Shhh! Don’t tell anyone how nice it is up there!

a-1589070583 May 09, 2020 05:29 PM
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Stunning photos of our beautiful area. Thanks for sharing (quietly).

a-1589073733 May 09, 2020 06:22 PM
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Awesome collection of pics. Thank you so much.

Emmenanthe May 10, 2020 08:19 AM
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Gopher snakes may flatten their heads, but they can't suddenly turn their glossy, flat scales into matte, keeled scales. Nor suddenly develop a V-shaped head. The shadow on the scales in snake photo makes them look dull and keeled: rattlesnake. Unusual patterning for either species, tho.
Grand collection of photos! Thank you and stay safe.

macpuzl May 10, 2020 03:55 PM
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EMM- Totally wrong! Gopher snakes have keeled scales, just not as prominently keeled as rattlesnake scales. That is a gopher snake in class-c threat-response pose.

macpuzl May 10, 2020 04:38 PM
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"classic", not "class-c"

biguglystick May 10, 2020 11:21 AM
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Beautiful photos! Thank you for sharing them and NOT naming the location! That is key... we need to keep these things quiet.

chumbrek May 10, 2020 01:20 PM
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Thanks for sharing!

a-1589144743 May 10, 2020 02:05 PM
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Cool hat.

a-1589152208 May 10, 2020 04:10 PM
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Rare for this medium to be so well done!

a-1589219783 May 11, 2020 10:56 AM
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Love these pics!! enjoyed figuring out the "where"...some places I've camped/hiked as a Girl Scout but haven't been since.

Longing2bhome May 24, 2020 09:57 PM
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Beautiful pictures!!! We do live in a beautiful, special place!

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