After stopping in a shady spot to paint a profusion of Sticky Monkey-flowers, I came around a corner of the trail and surprised a California Striped Racer. It tried to climb the trunk of an oak but didn’t get purchase and fell to the ground! I have never seen a snake ‘fail’ like that, and we were both momentarily stunned. Faster than I could whip out my phone, it recovered and raced off through the undergrowth at its signature speed. Sorry for disturbing you, little buddy!