Pandemic. Wildfires. Political drama. It’s been a challenging year. We finally got back on the trail last month and found respite with a hike through the coast redwoods at Sam McDonald Park in the Santa Cruz Mountains – open space with a history.Continue reading “Hiking Among the Redwoods in the footsteps of a Stanford Legend”
You’re Never Far from the charm of Main Street when you hike the Mendocino Headlands.
“Red sky in morning, sailors take warning.” That’s sound advice from a wise mariner. But what about when smoke from California wildfires plunges The Coastside into darkness and the blood-orange sky persists at midday? We went for a drive to immerse ourselves in the weirdness.Continue reading “Cruising The Coast Beneath Apocalyptic Skies on the San Francisco Peninsula”
Every hike begins with great expectations. And while the redwoods at Russian Gulch State Park proved less grand and the fern canyon less lush than expected, we still found plenty to enjoy. Continue reading “Great Expectations on the Trail at Russian Gulch State Park in Mendocino”
Weekly hikes in the Santa Cruz Mountains have been a highlight of our socially distant summer. Sadly, our recent tromp at Wilder Ranch State Park will be our last for a while as the CZU August Lightning Complex fires rip through this coastal range. Continue reading “A Fiery End to a Summer of Hiking in the Santa Cruz Mountains”
The last blast from the IXL quarry north of Santa Cruz echoed up Fall Creek a century ago. Today, the gurgle of the creek prevails beneath the descendants of the old growth redwoods that fed the quarry’s lime kilns. Continue reading “A Forest Reborn Amid Lime Industry Relics on Fall Creek at Henry Cowell Redwoods”
Pandemic hiking rules can have unintended consequences. For example, when the one-way trails at Big Basin Redwoods added 4.5 miles, a degree of difficulty and four waterfalls to our day hike. Continue reading “Magical Falls & Pandemic Protocols on the Trail at Big Basin Redwoods”
There’s more to the Santa Cruz Mountains than redwoods, fence lizards and banana slugs. We hiked the Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve for views that stretch from the Pacific Ocean to San Francisco Bay. Continue reading “Astride the Crest of the Santa Cruz Mountains at Russian Ridge”
The Santa Cruz Mountains are awash in microclimates. Too warm? Too damp? Too cloudy? An alternative is nearby. If hiking a sun-baked hillside and a shady live oak woodland sounds nice, visit Monte Bello Preserve. But beware of angry squirrels! Continue reading “Crispy Grass, Live Oaks and Chuntering Squirrels at Monte Bello Preserve”
Prairie Creek Redwoods doesn’t need a gimmick. But if the idea of Bigfoot prowling a towering old-growth forest or of tiny flesh-eating dinosaurs scrambling through a fern-laden canyon stimulates your imagination, then head to California’s Humboldt County. Continue reading “Hiking ‘Jurassic Park’ in Bigfoot Country at Prairie Creek Redwoods”
Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary was escape-proof back in the day. Now ceded to tourists, it’s impossible to get into the maximum security relic without a reservation. May we recommend nearby Angel Island instead? Continue reading “Alcatraz booked? Try San Francisco Bay’s Angel Island Alternative”
Yosemite National Park shows best in the spring. Winter storms yield to warm sunshine. Streams and waterfalls run full. Flowers begin to bloom. Pterodactyls prowl the trails and overlooks. Continue reading “The Pterodactyl that Ate Yosemite: A Preschool Pterosaur Adventure”
After a dry and sunny winter, the irrigated orchards of the Central Valley may boast California’s only “super bloom” this spring. And it’s show time on Fresno County’s Blossom Trail. Continue reading “Catch Spring Fever on Fresno’s Blossom Trail, the ‘Super Bloom’ Less Traveled”
NOTE: We’re sorry to report that shortly after posting this story we discovered that Z Pie had closed several weeks earlier. But there are still plenty of fruit pie options on the road to Tahoe. Enjoy!
Lots of travelers enjoy stopping for a sweet slice of fruit pie at an Apple Hill orchard on the road to Lake Tahoe. But the most unique pies in the region just may be the savory variety available at a tiny pot pie restaurant not far away in Placerville.
A coast redwood grown from seeds that orbited the moon grows in Monterey, California.
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”
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”
The northern nub of Big Sur is open for business despite heavy rain and fire damage to roads and wilderness. But the Coastside Slackers didn’t find much to do on their recent visit. You’d think we had found Slacker Nirvana. But instead we were disappointed. Continue reading “Big Sur is Open for Business – Sorta; We Visited So You Don’t Have To”
How do you impress your British friends on their first visit to California’s wine country? Take them out for cheesy grits at the Fremont Diner and pair it with a helping of Los Lonely Boys a la Uptown Theatre. Duh. Continue reading “The Slackers Pair Lunch at the Fremont Diner with Rock ‘n’ Roll at Napa’s Uptown Theatre”
If you enjoy Coastside sand and surf but a water temperature of 55 degrees is not on your “to do” list, then consider visiting the beaches, bluffs and tide pools of the James V. Fitzgerald Marine Reserve in Moss Beach. Continue reading “Cold Day Coastside? Break out the Flannel and Chill at the Moss Beach Bluffs, Beach and Tide Pools”