SA Guides: Lake Cachuma, Valencia Peak / Badger, Spooner CoveDune Loop

"It was  22° this morning, dear. That's why we think you're crazy."

The launch ramp attendant said this to me as I walked down to my kayak, and her statement was notable for several reasons. First, having been raised back east, and having plenty of relatives still living there, I wanted to laugh at the notion that someone had to be crazy to be out in sub-freezing weather. So I acted the part, puffing up my chest as if the temperature was merely, um…brisk, all the while wondering if my day's paddle might end up being an adventure in unintentional cryogenics (yeah, I went "California" a long time ago).

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SA Guide: Gazebo loop - Oso

The big storm now assaulting the East Coast had just steamed through Southern California, and Laura and I were anxious to take advantage of the crisp, clear, and often dramatic conditions that result from such a passing. We were not disappointed.

I'll shut up and let the thousand words have their say.

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SA Guide: Arroyo Trabuco

In a continuing series of adventures, brought to you by the California Native Plant Society, and directed by Ron Vanderhoff, field trip leader extraordinaire, our intrepid band set off from O'Neill Regional Park in the morning light of November 17, 2013. Our objective: to reach our cars at the Taco Bell on Oso Parkway with all hands accounted for, as few blisters as possible, and possibly even a few laughs along the way.

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SA Guide: Bommer Canyon

Hiking in Orange County parks and preserves often involves interfacing with the acts and artifacts of man. Many parks abut roads or residential developments and trails sometimes run along fence-lines. These conditions can be to the benefit of those who live nearby, but if you're like me you prefer a hike which, even if it doesn't traverse wilderness, at least looks the part.

But even in those parks that don't include moments of waving at passersby in cars or homeowners mowing their lawns, there can be moments of frustration. Some places, Caspers Wilderness Park for instance, lie adjacent to private preserves, leaving gates in what often seem to be strategically situated spots calculated to interrupt an enjoyable ramble.

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SA Guide: Nehalem Bay

"I wouldn't mind living on the northern California coast, or even up here, someday," I remarked to Laura as we headed out on our second day driving down the Oregon coast.

"You?" she rejoined, not particularly charitably. She was looking at me as if I was from Neptune. "You spend most of the Spring acting like someone shot your dog!"

Okay, let's clear something up here - I don't have a dog.

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