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Exploring outdoor California from Monterey Bay

Best Views, No Bull

Toro County Park, dammit. It took two, seven-mile hikes to get it right. The first time I set out on foot at Toro County Park I parked right there at the front gate. I really should have driven up to the 3rd parking lot, which would have put me on the trail past all...

Mission: The Sequel

We didn’t plan on making back-to-back mission trips, but Susie and I had to swing by LA Hearne in King City for some ranch supplies and decided to travel about 45 more minutes south to the Mission San Antonio de Padua. We left King City on Jolon Road (G14), which is a...

The Mission

I try and limit my posts to our trudging about in the great outdoors around Monterey and central California, but occasionally we find some great indoors to visit and write about.  The Old Mission at San Juan Bautista fits that category in a beautiful and quiet...

The Birds: Zmudowski State Beach

I took advantage of the late summer light last week and squeezed a little more into a day that would have normally ended when I packed up and left my desk at the UCSC Extension in Santa Clara. I decided to take my life in my hands and head over Hwy 17 into...

Just Add Water: San Luis NWR

Our stop here was really an afterthought. Susie and I were on our way to the Hite Cove Trail in the Sierra National Forest and decided to layover in Merced the evening before so we could get a fresh start in the morning.  Checking Google Maps for the best way to...

Wild for Flowers, Sierra National Forest

We all know the best way to tackle a big project is to break it down into small pieces. That's sort of how we ended up on the Hite Cove Trail in the Sierra National Forest. I've been wanting to get back to the Sierra since I crossed Tioga Pass one June and found...

Arroyo Seco Gorge(ous)

This is about the fourth trip Susie and I have made to the trail along Arroyo Seco Gorge, which is about 45 minutes southeast of the ranch by Carmel Valley Road.  Each time I like how easily we get to the action:  This view is about 150 yards...

Garland Ranch: I Can See for Miles

  For the past few years I’ve been driving past Garland Ranch Regional Park a couple of times a week and have always wanted to hike up to the top just to see what it was like.  Not a big bucket list item, just a minor fitness challenge, sort of like hiking...

Big Birds, Big Boulders: Pinnacles National Park

Here’s the thing.  From the parking lot it doesn’t look like much.  Yes, the rocks you see when you get out of your car are a little unusual. The smooth domes and spires are clearly something a little different, but from the parking lot, well… let’s just say...

Head for the Hills: Fort Ord National Monument

The thing is, from the road the hills don't look all that steep.  They look like hills of the 'gentle rolling' genre and seem relatively tame after a trip to Big Sur or Pinnacles. However, they suddenly get a lot steeper when I've lost whatever inertia I had...

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