Spotted but Nary a Spotting
By Chuck Graham   |   June 3, 2021

The reflection from my headlamp glistened off the wet of its black button snout as we gazed into each other’s eyes under a star-filled night.  I felt the thumps on my picnic table that doubled as my bed at around 2 am on a windswept Santa Rosa Island. I had slept soundly until then, lulled […]

High Plains Paddling
By Chuck Graham   |   December 10, 2020

The stoic gentleman at the Mono Lake visitor center studied me like a deputy sheriff during a roadside sobriety test. “You can die out there,” he said deadpan. “Folks paddle out there and they don’t come back. The winds come from out of nowhere and catch people off guard.” I did my damnedest to convince […]

 

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Bears of the Sea
By Chuck Graham   |   December 3, 2020

I’d never been so popular before, as dozens of northern fur seal pups surrounded me while mugging my kayak with demonstrative splashes and harmless bumps into my boat in the dense kelp forests of Adams Cove on the western fringe of San Miguel Island. It was quite possible that these raucous eared fur seals – […]

My Wandering Pilgrim
By Chuck Graham   |   November 19, 2020

My early morning trail run up to Montanon Ridge on the southeast end of Santa Cruz Island was at a pace I wasn’t proud of. Cold, wet fog swirled over the volcanic isle. My joints ached but loosened with each stride above Potato Harbor, then Coche Point, and finally ascending above Chinese Harbor. Stunning seascapes […]

Trekking into Biodiversity
By Chuck Graham   |   November 12, 2020

It wasn’t rain falling in the rainforest of the Corcovado National Park, located on the Osa Peninsula of Costa Rica, but it was raining leaves, bushels of them floating beneath the canopy that was so dense it blocked out the sun. The wind wasn’t blowing, yet the leaves continued to fall. Instead, there was a […]

Santa Barbara to Santiago de Compostela: A Healing Journey
By Ann Brode   |   November 12, 2020

For centuries, pilgrims have walked the Camino de Santiago in northwestern Spain looking for absolution, healing, and spiritual inspiration. In recent years, seeking a reprieve from the complexities of ordinary life, people of all faiths have been trekking this ancient route, staying in dormitory-style hostels and collecting stamps in a pilgrim’s passport. Similar to Joseph […]

Speed Thrills: Chronicles from the fastest land mammal in North America
By Chuck Graham   |   November 5, 2020

I almost lost them in the densely vibrant fields of hillside daisies within the Carrizo Plain National Monument. They were about a half-mile west of where I stood, my Canon 300mm IS lens aimed in their direction. I was hoping for them to meander my way, but with wildlife you never know. They have their […]

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Mind and Body in Sync, While You Walk
By Michelle Ebbin   |   September 3, 2020

After nearly 16 years living in Montecito, not a day goes by when I don’t think how lucky we are to live in such a special place. Since quarantine and now as my kids have started three different schools online from their bedrooms, never have I been more appreciative of our precious beaches where I […]

Bandit, Ann, and Abe
By Gretchen Lieff   |   August 6, 2020

When you’ve been quarantined for weeks and a tree falls on your house, at least you’ve got your friends, and your dog Ferocious winds tore through Montecito that night, leaving a wake of damage and power outages. Forecasters blamed a strengthening ridge of high pressure and weak offshore gradients for producing the scary and destructive […]

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On the Art of Camouflaging Rocks
By Nick Schou   |   July 30, 2020

After moving north to Montecito from Long Beach 10 years ago so that his family could be closer to the mountains and the sea at the same time, Tim Sulger began hiking the local canyons above his home near Westmont College. A decade into what has become a near daily routine, the daytime options trader […]

Fox and Friends
By Chuck Graham   |   July 30, 2020

The ears were a dead giveaway. As the morning sun warmed the grasslands of California’s Central Valley, it was the large, backlit ears of a San Joaquin kit fox (Vulpes macrotis mutica) that caught my eye. Red blood vessels braiding like a red river lit up each of the fox’s ears, allowing the smallest canid […]

The Fish Reef Project
By Zach Rosen   |   July 30, 2020

The kelp forests found along the Californian coast harbor abundant marine life, reduce ocean acidity, and even help support the plankton so vital for ocean health. While historically the Central Coast has been an area of lush kelp forests, the impact from damming of rivers, repeated droughts during El Niño years, and other environmental factors […]

Walking Through It
By Mackenzie Boss   |   July 23, 2020

When I was younger, I dreaded my parents’ weekend declaration of an impending family walk. I would plead to ride my bike alongside them; to run, skip, cartwheel, anything but walk. We would (slowly) stroll along the dirt path at the nearby Ennisbrook trail and my eyes would meander towards trees that needed climbing, streams […]

1/9 Debris Flow Rebuilding Updates
By Kelly Herrick   |   July 23, 2020

Construction concluded last week on a long-awaited repair following the 1/9 debris flow: a temporary bridge at the Cold Spring Trailhead that connects East Mountain Drive. Construction began in June to replace the bridge, and was paid for by settlement funds from Southern California Edison. The bridge will remain in place for approximately three years […]

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