Scary and Hairy: Mount Diablo Tarantula Trek

Spend an autumn evening on a quest to find the superstar spider.

SIGN OF THE SEASON: What's the first telling of autumn, in your opinion? Is it the light in the morning a little different? Is there a note on the wind? Or do you find yourself walking into spider web after spider web while taking the pooch on his nightly walkies? That's a definitely feature of August in many spots. Spiders and fall just go hand in hand -- or hand in hand in hand in hand in hand in hand in hand in hand, if you prefer -- which makes a nature trek to look for the king of the eight-leggers something of a true seasonal pleasure. Walnut Creek-close Mount Diablo is offering a number of evening rambles over the course of the season with one interesting aim in mind: To find, observe, and admire tarantulas.

ASTOUNDING ARACHNID: True, we just called the tarantula "the king of the eight-leggers" but there are other spiders who could easily wear that tiny crown. Still, there isn't another spider, save perhaps the black widow, with as much pop cultural cachet as a certain palm-sized, oh-so-furry wonder. If a movie calls for an arachnid of size, you can bet a certain sizable arachnid will trundle on screen. And, we hope, trundle near where you trek at Mount Diablo. The dates for the tarantula-themed walks dot both September and October -- night number one is Saturday, Sept. 7 -- and the evenings will vary a bit. For example? There are a couple of outings devoted to tarantulas looking for love. Please. That sounds amazing and interesting. Surely they arrive with a wee box of candy and minuscule bouquet?

YOU'll WANT TO... RSVP via email and stash some cash for parking. Also, a bottle of water and hiking shoes are sensible additions to your tarantula adventure.

AND AS FOR CLASSIC WEBS... tarantulas famously don't spin 'em in the typical sense (though they do rock the silk in some different ways). So when you're out walking your pup tonight, take heart: Those webby bits you're walking through did not emerge from one of the largest arachnids on earth. Likely just a neighborhood spider doin' his thing, what with the bug consumption and such. Spiders? You may make some humans be-willied, but you are total wonders.

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