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BASE CAMP MONTEREY

Exploring Outdoor California from Monterey

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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 Santa Cruz...

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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...

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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...

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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 from where we parked the...

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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 up to the...

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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 that it’s...

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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 peddling...

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Big Sur, Big Trees

  Note: (January 2018) Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park is open, but due to the 2016 Soberanes fire and extreme rain in the 2016-2017 winter, many trails remain closed. Check here for the latest information on all fo the Big Sur parks and trails. Pulling into Pfeiffer Big...

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Bike Ride: Monterey to Castroville

First of all, I’m not a hard-core, 150 miles-a-week, 8% grade, off a jump, broken-collarbone bike guy. I’ll huff my heavy Trek 4300 up a rise looking for still lower gears and more oxygen only because I know that what goes up must eventually come down, and that...

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Rocks and Rollers, Soberanes Point

Note: (January 2018) This part of Garrapata State Park (west of Hwy 1) is open, but because of the 2016 Soberanes fire, the park remains closed on the east side of Hwy 1.  Check here for the latest information about all of the parks and trails along the Big Sur area....

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Phil’s Fish Market

On any trip up Hwy 1 that takes us past Moss Landing, or even close, we are compelled to take a slight detour toward the beach and harbor, and stop in at Phil’s Fish Market to tank up on some local catch, and maybe a little local color. Phil’s is a bit of a local...

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Salinas River National Wildlife Refuge

Note: In the winter months the access road to the refuge may be impassible. There is also a hunting season for the refuge, usually October through January.   I drive across the Salinas river a few times a week on my way to work at UC Santa Cruz, and I got to thinking...

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