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Exploring outdoor California from Monterey Bay

Death Valley Comes to Life

The irony, of course, is that Death Valley is full of life. Whether or not you see it depends on when you arrive. In the heat of summer most of that life shelters into the earth in burrows or dens, or under a thin layer of rocks and soil; anywhere that’s out of the...

The Color Green

With no meaningful rain in the the last four years, whatever color was in the oak leaves had drained away along with the water table, leaving wooded views so muted that you really began to wonder: just how much more will this landscape be able to stand? Then it...

McWaaaay (lotta people) Falls

Note: Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park (where McWay Falls is located) is open, but the trails on the east side of Hwy 1 are closed until further notice because of the 2016 Soberanes Fire. You can updated information about all Big Sur area parks along Hwy 1 here. “We’ve...

Third Time’s the Charm

ANDREW MOLERA State Park: (June 2019) CLOSED TRAILS: River, Twin Cottonwoods, Hidden and Trail Camp/Headlands. OPEN TRAILS: Creamery Meadow, Ridge, Bluffs, Panorama, Spring, East Molera, Bobcat and Coyote Flat trails. NOTE: On October 31, 2018 the seasonal footbridge...

Epiphany, with a View

  Note: This trail on the east side of Hwy 1 in currently closed due to the 2016 Soberanes fire.  The trails and the beach on the west side of Hwy 1 are open.  Please check here for the latest information on all of the parks in the Big Sur area. This is...

Water, woods and wrocks

Limekiln State Park was one of the state parks on Highway 1 we hadn’t seen yet, so Susie and I packed ourselves and a cooler into the trusty Element, left the chihuahuas behind (to guard the ranch and bark at the clouds) and headed south on Highway 1. We passed all...

Wah-wahs in the Woods

Nellie and Shiloh needed a vacation. At some point last winter I went to a snowshoeing class at the REI in Marina. I was the only person there, and Sierra, the instructor from REI, bless her heart, gave the talk anyway. I was still holding out hope for some real snow,...

Two for One

Note: (July 2019) These trails are open on both sides of Hwy 1 (Partington Cove Trail and Tan Bark Trail), but many of the trails on the east side of Hwy 1 throughout Big Sur are closed because of the 2016 Sobreanes fire.  Check this link for the latest information on...

Fields of Gold

    Well, actually, you have to work a bit before you get to the fields of gold. Before that, there’s a 7 mile washboard road that’s a field of dust and gravel. Especially if you find yourself 50 yards behind another car that’s heading to the same place....

Bath Time in Birdland

I was walking around the ranch on a hot and dry Sunday. I noticed that one of the drip irrigation lines had a crack in it.  I looked up and saw a dozen or so of the neighborhood birds enjoying the water being sprayed into the shrubs, taking advantage of the...

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