This Best of Bogue column originally was published Sept. 2, 2004.

Dear Gary: My husband and I just got back from four days camping near Mount Shasta. We went hiking and hundreds of butterflies went with us.

Have you ever been hiking with a bunch of butterflies? They flitted around and teased me as I huffed and puffed over rocks and up hills. The heat and sun were tough on me, but they loved it.

It was pretty neat hiking with bright orange, black and white butterfly guides. We looked them up and they were California sisters, Adelpha bredowii, which I'd never seen or heard of before. What a treat.

Jackie

Pleasant Hill

Dear Jackie: I'm jealous. I've backpacked in a lot of California wilderness areas but never had the pleasure of being escorted by dancing flowers. What a delight.

Seems to be a lot of butterfly action in the high country this year, for whatever reason. You may recall I wrote about the huge California Tortoiseshell butterfly (Nymphalis californica) migration.

Mother Nature is such a tease.

Driving by horses

Marisa S. phoned me after reading a column about a horse that had to be euthanized after being hit by a motorcycle on North Gate Road in Walnut Creek.


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After we talked about the tragic accident, I asked Marisa, a horsewoman, if she would prepare a list of suggestions to help drivers when passing horses and riders on the side of a road.

If you drive, please try to follow these rules to help avoid any future accidents:

  • If you are driving and see a horse and rider on the street or shoulder, please slow down and give the horse plenty of room.

  • If you see that the rider is having difficulty, stop and assess the situation before continuing. Watch for any signals from the rider that indicate "stop" or "move over." Please follow the rider's requests.

  • Please don't use your horn, and if you are driving a vehicle with air brakes, keep in mind that the noise is very frightening to a horse.

  • Remember that speed limit signs do not mean you should drive at that speed when conditions, such as horses present, make it unsafe.

    Because we have no neighborhood trail system allowing safe passage from boarding stables and private barns to the open space, it is vitally important that drivers be alert and cautious when sharing the streets and roads with riders.

    A final note

    I found this phone message in my mailbox when I came into work this morning:

    "One of your readers called in and asked that you run something similar for fish to what you discussed in a story about hot weather and kids and pets in cars.

    "She said she just lost her beautiful, perky and friendly beta fish. This was her kitchen pet; she said they used to have conversations while she was doing dishes and cooking, and he'd swim toward her and become animated when she came into the room.

    "Her kitchen is quite sunny and bright, and with just two consecutive days of high temperatures, she lost her fish. She wants everyone to know about this so others don't make the same mistake.

  • Don't let the sun shine on your aquarium. Warm water loses oxygen, and fish will suffocate. Use an air pump and air stone.

    I'm sorry about your fish.

    Gary Bogue has retired after 42 years of writing this column. If you have animal-related questions, contact Joan Morris at jmorris@bayareanewsgroup.com; or P.O. Box 8099, Walnut Creek, CA 94596.