This is a large spider — from leg tip to leg tip it was ~5 cm (2 inches) long! Here's a picture with a ruler for scale:
I'm pretty sure it's a "false tarantula." (It's smaller than a true tarantula, and has finer hairs.) Within this group, it sounds like the most common species in this area is Calisoga longitarsus. (If there are any spider experts out there who can confirm the identification, I'd appreciate any feedback.)
When the spider started to walk away, Eric placed the ruler in front of it so I could try to get one more picture.
Here's what happened:
The spider reared up on its hind legs, raised its front legs, and exposed its impressive fangs (see close-up below).
Although they live in burrows, during the fall the males walk around looking for females. Best to let them continue along their way!
I'm curious — Have you seen this species locally?