Quest for a Coastside Labyrinth Travels from a Quarry to Lands End and Back Again

Why walk a labyrinth? Actor Jeff Bridges, who portrayed the ultimate slacker in “The Big Lebowski,” offers this:

“With a labyrinth, you make a choice to go in – and once you’ve chosen, around and around you go. But you always find your way to the center.”

Nice centering metaphor. That is until someone completely lacking in inner peace pitches the labyrinth’s border stones into the ocean. Bummer. Continue reading “Quest for a Coastside Labyrinth Travels from a Quarry to Lands End and Back Again”

The Canadian Rocky Mountain Icefields have over a hundred glaciers. Many are visible from the Icefields Parkway. Dawn Page / CoastsideSlacking

21 Goofy Reasons to Visit Canada: Maxi Bars, Timbits and Pocket Loonies

Part 6 and last in a series:

The Coastside Slackers had an amazing time in the Canadian Rockies: Soaring mountains, roaring waterfalls, exotic wildlife, orange marshesplacid Alpine lakes. We could drop the mic and end it here, but we wanted to share a few tongue-in-cheek thrills that amused us along the way. We hope you’re amused, too … Continue reading “21 Goofy Reasons to Visit Canada: Maxi Bars, Timbits and Pocket Loonies”

Saskatchewan Glacier from the Parker Ridge Trail. Dawn Page / CoastsideSlacking

Canada’s Icefields Parkway Eclipses Our Beloved Yosemite; Gobsmacked at Parker Ridge

Part 5 in a series: For nearly 30 years, Yosemite National Park defined mountain majesty in our world view. And then we traveled slack-jawed through Canada’s Icefields Parkway. OMG. We need to get out more.

Imagine if the Yosemite Valley were 140 miles of soaring mountain peaks. Conjure up hundreds of ribbon waterfalls pouring meltwater from scores of glaciers into dozens of meandering milky blue streams and turquoise lakes. Now add hundreds of thousands of acres of alpine forest and slash the tourist per square mile ratio. Then we might have a competition. Continue reading “Canada’s Icefields Parkway Eclipses Our Beloved Yosemite; Gobsmacked at Parker Ridge”

Coyote in Banff National Park. Dawn Page / CoastsideSlacking

Loaded for Bear in Banff, We Settle for a Coyote; the Man Who Cried “Moose”

Part 2 of a series:

Who tromps through the Canadian Rockies hoping to see a grizzly with bear repellent in their pockets? Um. We did. Perhaps to the good fortune of all, the Coastside Slackers didn’t meet up with a bear. But we did enjoy a handful of fun critter encounters. And we nearly saw a moose! Continue reading “Loaded for Bear in Banff, We Settle for a Coyote; the Man Who Cried “Moose””

Meltwater from glaciers carry silt downstream, refracting blue and green light, forming the beautiful turquoise lake colors in Banff National Park.

A Turquoise Lake in Banff Without the Hub-Bub; Go Ahead, Skip Lake Louise

Part 1 of a series:

Ice blue. Mint green. Cyan. Turquoise. However you describe the hue of the lakes and rivers fed by glacial meltwater in the Canadian Rockies, it is spectacular. But why the unique color palate? A hike to the headwaters of Bow Lake is an amazing way to enjoy and explore the effect. Continue reading “A Turquoise Lake in Banff Without the Hub-Bub; Go Ahead, Skip Lake Louise”

Sea otter at Moss Landing. Dawn Page / CoastsideSlacking

Quest for California Sea Otters Ends with Shenanigans and Groupies Downstream from the Power Plant

Marine mammals stir the hearts of even the most jaded Coastsiders. Slackers, too. We’ve seen dolphins cruising, whales spouting, harbor seals lolling, and elephant seals … well, um… it was mating season. But sadly, not a single sea otter. Where the heck are the sea otters? Continue reading “Quest for California Sea Otters Ends with Shenanigans and Groupies Downstream from the Power Plant”

Waterfall at Garrapata State Beach. Dawn Page/CoastsideSlacking

Visit the Beach and Bluffs at Garrapata; With a Name Like “Tick State Park,” it’s Gotta be Good

The Coastside founding fathers stumbled upon a sweet brand when they came up with “Half Moon Bay.” Who can resist, right? But 100 miles to the south, the bureaucrats who named Garrapata State Park and Beach missed the mark badly if they were trying to evoke seaside romance.

Garrapata — that’s “tick” in Spanish, as in the eight-legged blood-suckers — deserves better. Continue reading “Visit the Beach and Bluffs at Garrapata; With a Name Like “Tick State Park,” it’s Gotta be Good”

We Battle Rain and Phlegm to Find Fun in Napa; Would You Like Wine With That?

“It’s spring. Let’s go to Napa!” we said. “Let’s taste some wine, take a hike, pack a picnic, book a balloon flight! It’ll be great!”

But GeekSlacker caught a nasty cold. And then it began to rain – again. And the deadline for canceling our reservation at the charming El Bonita Motel in St. Helena had passed. What were two Coastside Slackers to do? Particularly with a blog to feed. Continue reading “We Battle Rain and Phlegm to Find Fun in Napa; Would You Like Wine With That?”

Lake Berryessa "Morning Glory" spillway.

Dark Bathtub Anxieties Revisited at Lake Berryessa’s ‘Morning Glory’ Spillway; Stare if you Dare

Did you ever have a hint of anxiety as a child watching your bath water swirl down the drain at the deep end of the tub? Could the drain capture a toe or perhaps a foot? What might crawl or reach from the from the soapy vortex? Alone in the steamy confines of the bathroom, would anyone hear you scream?

Continue reading “Dark Bathtub Anxieties Revisited at Lake Berryessa’s ‘Morning Glory’ Spillway; Stare if you Dare”

Super Bloom Part 3 — The Carrizo Plain Blows our Minds; Please Don’t Tell

Our spring wildflower sojourn had yielded a brilliant carpet of color at the Poppy Reserve, and dazzling individual blooms interwoven into intricate floral tapestries at Anza-Borrego. We really didn’t know what to expect at Carrizo Plain National Monument – the road less traveled on the super bloom trail. I suppose we expected more of the same.

Wrong again! What we found was was a floral cascade of brilliant yellow California goldfields, accented by purple lupine, yellow-orange fiddlenecks and occasional patches of baby blue eyes, flowing from the mountain tops and pooling into the Carrizo grasslands across miles of the rugged Temblor Range. Continue reading “Super Bloom Part 3 — The Carrizo Plain Blows our Minds; Please Don’t Tell”

Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve/Dawn Page/CoastsideSlacking

Super Bloom Part 2 – We Cope with Urban Anthophiles at the California Poppy Reserve; the Flowers are Quite Orange

Part 2 of 3

We lived 90 minutes from the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve for 21 years and never visited. We thought about it, but we always had an excuse.

“We’re too busy.”

“It’s too crowded.”

“It’s a bad bloom.”

So since we were passing by on our way back from admiring the wildflower super bloom at Anzo-Borrego Desert State Park, we decided it was time to stop and smell the poppies. We even spent the night in nearby Lancaster so we could do it right. Continue reading “Super Bloom Part 2 – We Cope with Urban Anthophiles at the California Poppy Reserve; the Flowers are Quite Orange”

Seven Miles of Weeping Bluffs, Moss-Shrouded Woods, Roaring Waterfalls … and One too Many Staircases

The Peabody Award-winning TV series Portlandia taught us that the Dream of the ‘90s is alive in Portland. And for nearly two decades during visits to Dawn’s folks at their hillside Silverton, OR, home we have coveted the fantasy of retiring young and weird.

Perhaps our favorite activity in Oregon is sitting on the ‘rents expansive deck overlooking pine covered hillsides and the Silver Creek Reservoir, sipping wine while watching the bats emerge from beneath the shingles of the house at dusk

A close second, however, is Silver Falls State Park. Continue reading “Seven Miles of Weeping Bluffs, Moss-Shrouded Woods, Roaring Waterfalls … and One too Many Staircases”

Rancho Corral de Tierra

Sample the joys of the Coastside with a Family-Friendly Stroll on the Old Road

Not much time? Have a toddler or infant in tow? Try the family-friendly stroll along Old Pedro Mountain Road from Montara to Martini Creek through Rancho Corral de Tierra, the newest addition to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Once the primary route between Montara and Pacifica, the aging pavement remains stroller and bicycle friendly, the grade is minimal and the walk will give you a taste of numerous Coastside charms.
Continue reading “Sample the joys of the Coastside with a Family-Friendly Stroll on the Old Road”