Knee Deep
By Chuck Graham   |   November 23, 2021

We walked gingerly across a teeming mudflat on a minus tide within Elkhorn Slough, located in Moss Landing and within Monterey Bay. As we glopped along the muddy banks of the slough, legions of line shore crabs scrambled into the shadows dramatically baring their pinchers in self-defense. The eel grass was exposed and laid across […]

Jazz, Pizza, Art and Old Friends: What More Could a Gal Ask For?
By Leslie Westbrook   |   October 19, 2021

“New York City is back!” I exclaimed to Gianni Valenti over a drink at Birdland, the 70-plus-year-old jazz club and theater cabaret that he’s owned for the past three-plus decades, on 44th Street in New York City. “It’s half back,” he corrected me, adding that his longtime landlord was very understanding of the economic climate […]

 

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Embracing the Loam
By Chuck Graham   |   October 19, 2021

Snow flurries, hail, and intermittent rain was just enough to dampen the top layer of loam along the serpentine spine of the Caliente Ridge, the Caliente Mountains being a west-to-east uplifting mountain range in the remote southeast corner of San Luis Obispo County. While mountain biking up the winding Caliente Ridge Road, a dense canopy […]

On Foot and by Paddle
By Chuck Graham   |   October 5, 2021

Timing the surge of an incoming tide took me to the backend of the Morro Bay Estuary. Paddling my standup paddleboard, I glided effortlessly through serpentine-like channels choked in colorful pickleweed. Flanked by massive Morro Rock to the north, the rest of the seven sisters lied ahead, prominent rocky spires that fortify the backend of […]

Let’s Get Away From It All: The Endless Summer in Laguna Beach
By Leslie Westbrook   |   October 5, 2021

“Let’s motor down to MiamiLet’s climb the Grand Canyon WallLet’s catch a tunaWay out in LagunaLet’s get away from it all”– Lyrics from “Let’s Get Away From It All” (music by Matt Dennis and lyrics by Tom Adair, published 1941) commonly associated with Frank Sinatra  One of my best female friends and I have traveled […]

Bitter Creek Chronicles: California Condors Put on a Show
By Chuck Graham   |   September 21, 2021

There wasn’t much going on at the Bitter Creek National Wildlife Refuge (NWF). I was laying in the grassy, rolling hills of this California Condor sanctuary, and I was waiting for something to stir. It was mid-afternoon and thermal updrafts were just beginning to waft skyward when a solitary condor rose above the refuge like […]

Staying Close to Home
By Chuck Graham   |   September 14, 2021

As my leg dangled off my kayak and into the ocean, I waited to see how curious this adult harbor seal really was. It had been circling the flotilla of kayaks, displaying curiosity mostly seen from their pups. Suddenly, the adult approached. It decided to use my heel for a scratch post. Back and forth […]

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A New Leash on Life in Cambria
By Jerry Dunn   |   September 14, 2021

Like many of us as the Year of Plague subsides, my wife, Merry, and I were dying to take a trip somewhere . . . anywhere. But even vaccinated, we weren’t quite ready to board a 5,000-passenger cruise ship in Europe. A trip near home sounded pretty good, though. Baby steps. What’s more, like 23 […]

On The Road Again
By James Buckley   |   August 5, 2021

I’m in Paris. And I arrived as soon as I could.  Yes, masks are required everywhere at the airport, but once inside the lounge and sitting at one’s own table, off comes the mask and in goes the American-style breakfast, excellent espresso coffee, and a glass of champagne to celebrate the start of a long […]

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Feeding Curiosity: Wilderness Youth Project Utilizes Nature to Educate
By Steven Libowitz   |   July 22, 2021

I wasn’t much of a hiker before the pandemic. But being cooped up inside for days and weeks on end, with no opportunities for dancing of beach volleyball, finally spurred me to put fears of poison oak and chiggers out of my mind to brave the San Marcos Foothills Preserve. Pretty soon that became a […]

Escape to the North: A Look at What San Luis Obispo Has to Offer
By James Buckley   |   July 15, 2021

After having been locked up for more than a year, there is a real need among many Montecito residents to just get away — anywhere. The nice thing about choosing San Luis Obispo is that one needn’t go very far to feel very far away; it is a mere two hours by car, yet it […]

Ants In My Pants
By Chuck Graham   |   July 15, 2021

It was nearly dark when I arrived on a lonely dirt road within the Carrizo Plain National Monument. I pulled off behind a cluster of salt bush, grabbed my binoculars and scanned the immediate region in fading light. About 100 yards to the east, I saw two rambunctious San Joaquin kit fox pups garnering attention […]

Rattlesnakes Rearing Their Heads; SBWCN Has Some Tips
By Nick Masuda   |   July 1, 2021

It wasn’t a message that any neighbor wants to see on the NextDoor app: “Rattlesnakes Galore. We found FOUR RATTLESNAKES on our property TODAY! My nerves are shot!!! Also saw a bear last week. It’s a jungle out there, neighbors. Please keep a watchful eye out everywhere you step and be really careful with your […]

Little Hooligans of the Veld
By Chuck Graham   |   June 24, 2021

She convulsed mightily standing watch on the fringe of her burrows. Her black milk ducts protruded through buff, tan fur as her belly full of rich milk warbled while she belted out a series of quavering trills warning her kits of potential danger. The watchful San Joaquin antelope ground squirrel (Ammospermophilus nelsoni) guarded her territory […]

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