Carving at the Trees of Mystery park in Klamath, California (Photo MCArnott)

Pondering Old Growth Forests at the Trees of Mystery in Klamath, California

I am looking at the top of a tree that is so tall, I have to hug it to keep my balance. Let's do the math: It was a seedling around the time Christopher Columbus discovered America. Before the 1800s, the American Northwest was still a dangerous Read More

Santa Monica Pier for a Distance

Dodging Rollerbladers on the Venice Beach Boardwalk—Los Angeles, California

Crazy people, right out there in public, or better put, making up the “public”—that is what the Venice Beach Boardwalk is famous for. My first memory of Venice Beach is Val Kilmer embodying Jim Morrison as he sings “Moonlight Drive” in the opening Read More

Driving Through the Chandelier Tree

Driving Through a Redwood in Northern California

It seemed mythical when I was a child: There were actually trees in California that people could drive a car through. I couldn’t help but envision a busy freeway running through the forest, occasionally sending commuters tunneling through the trunks Read More

Beautiful tufa towers of Mono Lake. Photo by Yvette Cardozo.

Wandering The Tufa Towers Of Mono Lake

Years ago, I stopped at California’s Mono Lake on a bike trip. I was hot, tired and ready for the day to end. I briefly looked at the lake’s famous tufa mounds, felt the greasy, salt-laden water and left. I’ve always wanted to go back. And Read More

Street cars on the F Line were rescued from the dust bins of the world. This one from Milan.

Sightseeing San Francisco on the F-Line Trolley

I agree with the world. To visit the city by the Golden Gate and not jump aboard a cable car for at least one cling-clanging, hill-climbing ride is tantamount to visiting the Louvre and skipping the Mona Lisa on purpose. But once that's been done, Read More

Entrance-to-the-Oakland-Zoo-

Visiting the Oakland Zoo in the San Francisco Bay Area

The elephants remind me of a story about a female pachyderm that lived at the then-downtown Oakland Zoo. "Effie" was so used to seeing the owner's family stroll on the grounds that one day she did what family members do: Help push the baby's Read More

Lush, green vines turn golden as fall enters Sonoma County's Valley of the Moon. l

Exploring Wine Country’s Fall Color in Sonoma County’s Valley of the Moon

  Never a day passes that I don’t marvel at the beauty of where I live, but never more so than when the early fall frenzy of grape-pickers at work, crushers and pressers in motion is over. With the last cluster removed, I watch the Read More

Sonoma Zipline

Ziplining in the Sonoma Canopy, California

Redwoods shouldn’t sway. At least not in my mind, anyway. These enormous, ramrod straight trees grow for centuries, stretching hundreds of feet skyward, while widening and thickening their trunks. Heck, here in northern California you can even drive Read More

Kayaking on the Russian River is fun in an inflatable water craft. (Melanie Radzicki McManus)

Kayaking Northern California’s Russian River

The river is totally quiet today, except for the occasional sound of our paddles dipping into the water to steer us around a branch or rock. The weather probably has something to do with it — it’s cloudy and a bit nippy out. But I don’t mind. We were Read More

Children experience the force of nature with Pheena the fin whale (Credit: MCArnott)

Visiting the Berkeley Lawrence Hall of Science with Children in California

Watching a turtle chomping on a strawberry is a far cry from inventing the idea of a cyclotron smashing particles. But they are both aspects of science, and as such, have a place at the Lawrence Hall of Science in Berkeley, California, located in the Read More

Fall Bishop Creek c. Jim Kellett

Finding Fall Foliage on the Eastern Slope of California’s Sierra Nevada

Those in love with wide-open spaces and scenic vistas are mightily pleased when they cross over to the backside of California’s Sierra Nevada. True at any time of the year, this becomes overwhelmingly so when autumn adds a riot of color to the Read More

Hiking the High Sierra

Hiking the High Sierra Trail in California

My eyes are searching in the wrong place for a trail. They are searching in the wrong place because I simply refuse to believe that the obvious route -- up THERE and over THAT -- is the route we will actually have to climb. Two days into a hike of Read More

Sequoia

Hiking Among the Redwoods in California’s Muir Woods

I am standing in front of a redwood tree California's Muir Woods, swaying from side to side. If there was anyone else on the trail, they might think I was performing some arcane New Age ritual. Either that, or being charmed by a hypnotic snake. What Read More