My photo
I'm a self-professed adventure writer and former exercise junkie seeking a long-term relationship with my higher self, healthy workout habits, and a balanced, adventurous lifestyle in San Luis Obispo. Join me as I discover the healthy activities of SLO County, from land to sea.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

San Luis Obispo County: Weather in July

Beautiful in Pismo Beach.
July weather is always peculiar in San Luis Obispo County. This month we've experienced our usual share of gloomy, foggy coastal mornings, as well some recent humid stormy cloud coverings. Unfortunately, only a few sprinkles of precipitation have fallen to the ground, leaving the local soils still parched for rain. 

Although the drought continues, life goes on. I've been out and about for some exercise during these past few weeks, discovering SLO County life in its milieu of mist and clouds .

I hope you enjoy these mizzled scenes. 

I discovered this dewy spider web along the Bluffs Trail in  Montana de Oro.
One foggy morning in Los Osos, these Baywood Park boats seemed to transcend the water and float in the cool misty air. 
I always capture plenty of bird life out and about in the murky Morro Bay mornings.
This morning's scene in Pismo Beach. Hoping for some rain. 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

San Luis Obispo County: Summer 2014

Forgive my absence. I've been a bit overwhelmed these last few months. 

But summer's here, the air is fresh, and the skies are bright. San Luis Obispo County offers more than its fair share of outdoor activities, and I plan to take advantage of the long days by logging in heaps and bounds of plen air exercise. I hope you'll also have the opportunity to explore this Central Coast mecca and chart a few adventures of your own. 

Here are a few pictures of last weekend's exploration of Moonstone Beach in Cambria. What a summer splash!


Sunday, May 4, 2014

140th Kentucky Derby: California Chrome!

Yesterday my aunt and uncle's horse, California Chrome, got a great workout. He galloped into history as the winner of the 140th Kentucky Derby. 

I've had a busy few months and just got up and running yesterday with a new computer, so from now on I'll be back on track with my exercise habits as well as my blog posts. 

But for now, I think I'll just ride the excitement of yesterday's big win, wishing my relatives and California Chrome much success in the coming weeks as they vie for the Triple Crown. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Asbestos Awareness Week 2014

Writing my blogs is a labor of love. I enjoy sharing my SLO County adventures with a widespread audience and hope that at least a few of you will feel inspired to get out and explore your surroundings, and live a full, adventuresome life. Equally important is the opportunity for me to hear from my readers and learn from you. 

Recently, Heather Von St. James, a cancer victor who lives in Roseville, Minnesota, reached out to me with a request to share something on my blog that is very near and dear to her: Asbestos Awareness Week 2014 (April 1 - 7). Once I read about her incredible story I was delighted to help.

In 2005, at the age of 36 and just months after giving birth to her daughter Lily Rose, Heather was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma, a rare and deadly cancer caused by her second-hand asbestos exposure when she was growing up. Given just 15 months to live, she and her husband Cameron faced some tough choices: Heather underwent a life-saving surgical procedure that included removal of her left lung. 

Heather has made it her life's mission to help educate people about this deadly disease and its cause, and eight years after her diagnosis, she's spreading optimism and hope. Here is what Heather wrote to me about staying active...quite an inspiration to keep moving!

"After surgery, I was encouraged to get up and walk two times a day for 20 minutes.. when I started, I lugged around oxygen and IV's on a cart, by the end of my stay...(18 days!!) I was walking a mile a day around the halls of the hospital...with no oxygen or IV's. It absolutely helped with healing…I was released from the hospital in mid February so my walking sort of waned off during those cold months,...but once the weather warmed up, I started walking out doors again. I would take my daughter to the mall in the stroller and walk around with her. It was pretty much all I was capable of that first year…as the years have gone on,  I have tried different things, Yoga, biking, swimming...but I always go back to simply walking,... I don't do it as often as I would like, especially this last winter which was so terribly cold…I kept saying I would join a gym for the cold weather months, but never did...I loathe treadmills...I'm very much looking forward to warmer weather and just being outside.  I stay active...I garden and love doing yard work in the summer and do a lot of fun things with my daughter…but I don't hold tight to any regimen…I think attitude and just staying active help me in everyday life."

Throughout her life, Heather's been accused of wearing rose colored glasses and seeing life very optimistically. She has no plans of ever taking them off. You can find out more about her amazing journey by clicking here.

"Don't give up. Don't take a death sentence as a diagnosis. There is hope." ~Heather Von St. James

Friday, March 21, 2014

2014 First Day of Spring: Pismo Beach

Yesterday the first day of spring rolled beautifully into San Luis Obispo County. This annual celestial occurrence—also known as the Spring or Vernal Equinox—happens when the sun passes the equator moving from the southern to the northern hemisphere, and day and night are the same duration. This is the dawning of a progressively warmer season where the days continue to grow longer.

I got my exercise spending two-and-a-half hours walking along Pismo Beach in the late afternoon and early evening, kneeling in the sand, documenting the first spring sunset. The stunning cloud formation caused the sky's and shore's colors to morph from blue and silver to gold and pink. If I haven't said it before, I'll say it now: Clouds bring out the best in twilight's ethereal flirt over the ocean. 

 Here are a few snapshots of last night's once-a-year event.



Saturday, March 15, 2014

Cayucos and Morro Bay: Splish Splash!

Cayucos State Beach
My exercise habits over the last few weeks have been pretty much zilch. My excuse for slacking off last week? The 5-day San Luis Obispo International Film Festival. My justification for this week? Just plain old fatigue from having too much fun at the festival and jumping right back into a long work week.

But I'm back on track. Today I discovered two great outdoor exercisesboth with my shoes off that increased my balance, gave my legs something to shriek about, and left me wanting more.

In the early part of the morning, I ventured out to Cayucos State Beach to walk along its gravely shores. I stopped to pick up nifty pieces of colorful sea glass and when I reached the stretch of offshore rocks where the waves pound and clatter, I couldn't help but take off my walking shoes. Standing with my heels and toes firmly against the sand, I knelt down, got out my camera and captured the catapulting backsplash. 

I can't remember the last time I went barefoot at the beach—normally I walk or run with shoes on and remain carefully removed from the water. But today was different. The warm sunny day compelled me to get my legs soaked. The waves almost knocked me over several times as I balanced and shot pictures...what a great time!

On my way back home I couldn't help but stop in Morro Bay for a little rest and relaxation on the warm beach. But soon after arriving, I left my shoes and chair behind and headed straight for the water, discovering that walking along the shore knee deep in water might quite possibly be the greatest form of aqua aerobics known to humankind. Not once did I fall over during this resistance workout.

So there you go. Balance. Resistance. Exercise that is sheer fun in the sun. 

Wave splash!   
From Cayucos State Beach, you can catch a glimpse of Morro Rock in the distance.
From Morro Rock Beach, Cayucos lies just a handful of miles away on the distant shore.
Sometimes you just have to get your feet wet.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

San Simeon Creek Trail

Much-needed rain is drenching San Luis Obispo County this weekend. The stormy skies and howling wind are a far cry from last weekend's perfect hiking climate, when I discovered a terrific hike in the northern end of the county: San Simeon Creek Trail. This 3.3 mile pathway rambles through a seasonal wetland, a Monterey pine forest, riparian woodlands and open grassland. Along this state park trail's varied terrain and undulating hills, I caught glimpses of local wildlife, walked along land once inhabited by the Chumash and Salinan Indians, and logged an amazing workout.
  Located on Highway 1, the trailhead is a few miles north of the town of Cambria and just south of the turnoff for San Simeon Creek Campground. You can easily spot this day-use area, which has a small parking lot, public restrooms, picnic grounds, and sits directly across from Vista Point on the coast of San Simeon.
From the parking lot, look for the boardwalk's ramp. Walk to the west and you'll go straight to the beach. Head east for a few minutes and you'll soon find the entrance to the trail. 
Along the entire pathway, walkers will find plenty of vantage points to sit and take in the view.
Early in my hike I spotted these mule deer grazing in the seasonal wetland.
After entering the shaded pine forest, the noise of the nearby highway dissipated.
By the time I reached the riparian woodlands, the only sounds came from local wildlifelike flitting birds and scurrying woodrats.
Eventually this loop course leaves the forest and woodlands behind for open terrain. The Santa Lucia Mountains provide a rolling backdrop.
     After this quiet hike, I headed for an opposite experience at the beach: salty air and crashing waves to round out my excursion. I can't wait for my next adventure...when the weather clears up.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Cayucos: Estero Bluffs State Park

If you're looking for a spot along the California Central Coast to peace out, Estero Bluffs State Park in Cayucos is just the place. This 355-acre coastal plain provides a hiking trail that spans nearly four miles along the Pacific Ocean's rugged cliffs. The landscape is stark and serene, the pathway is uncrowded and quiet, the air is fresh and clean. In one word: peaceful. 

The Cayucos Land Conservancy conservation efforts help keep this protected area in northern San Luis Obispo County pristine. Several times throughout the year, they offer guided hikes along the bluffs. 

 There are several entrances to the park along Highway One, just north of the beach town of Cayucos. Look for parking areas on the west side of the highway. The first entrance is marked by a windmill, directly across from San Geronimo Road. After entering the park, it's just a short walk to these stairs that transport you down to the rocky beach. 

Although along the well-marked, flat trail you'll find a few access points that allow you to get down to the beach, for the most part, the steep, crumbling bluffs keep you trailbound.

With the recent rain, tiny specks of green are popping up along the trail. Coupled with the warm winter weather San Luis Obispo County is experiencing, now is the perfect time to explore this peaceful oasis. Be sure to check the weather forecast for upcoming visits, as rain is on the horizon.

Peaceful. Serene. Tranquil.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Yosemite National Park: Nevada Fall

When golden opportunities arise—take them! I took full advantage of this past holiday weekend by heading to the Sierra Nevada Foothills to visit relatives who live near Yosemite National Park

On Monday, we rose early to drive the winding road down to Yosemite Valley to start our day with a free camera walk led by one of the Ansel Adams Gallery staff photographers. Braving the chilly winter morning, we warmed up by walking around the meadow for an hour and a half, learning of Ansel Adam's humble beginnings, picking up useful landscape composition tips, and soaking up the inspiring view around Yosemite's glacial-carved valley.

Then it was time for a serious hike. We caught the free shuttle behind Yosemite's Village Store and headed to the John Muir Trail.  After trekking along this paved pathway for about a mile, we reached the Vernal Fall footbridge. From this vantage point, the waterfall crashes above; during the warmer part of the year hikers can veer off on the Mist Trail until they reach the top of the fall.

Since the Mist Trail is closed during the winter, we took the road less followed and continued our ascent along the John Muir Trail. From the bridge, we slowly traipsed up this steep switchback trail that leads to an even higher waterfall: Nevada Fall.
Nevada Fall splashed into view about two miles up this byway, after reaching the plateau at Clark Point. We stopped for a much-needed break and gaped at the backside of Half Dome jutting into the air, while Nevada Fall crashed in the distance. Other hikers opted to continue another half mile to the top of the waterfall, but after a full day, we decided to head back down the mountain.

A beautiful hike. A golden opportunity.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Sochi 2014 Olympic Games

The 2014 Olympic Games are rockin' and rollin'! My uncle's nephew, Travis Ganong (no relation to me), competed in Sochi over the weekend as a member of the U.S. Ski Team. He skied the men's downhill event and when I read the article about his celebratory fifth place finale—about how he pushed himself hard and had a smile on his face when he finished—it struck a chord.

In my humble opinion, no matter what you do, if you come from a place of contentment...you've arrived. 

Sweat with a smile!

My frequent walks on Pismo Beach often take me to a parallel universe and leave me with a smile.

 After a rainy Saturday, plenty of surfers and stand up paddleboarders hit the waves at Pismo Beach.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Cloisters Beach Path, Morro Bay

This past week, San Luis Obispo County's recent warming streak changed course.The unusual skyrocketing winter temperatures in the 80s settled down a bit, bringing gentler highs in the 60s and 70s. We even saw a little rain. Regardless of the cool down, no complaints here. 

Yesterday I headed out for some early morning exercise on Morro Bay's Cloisters Beach Path. I walked a mile-and-a-half loop course that followed environmentally sensitive wetlands, sandy dunes, an uncrowded beach, and the home of the threatened shorebird, the snowy plover. The entire time, the iconic Morro Rock loomed in the near distance. Not a bad way to start the day.

The Cloisters Beach Path is easily accessible from Highway One in Morro Bay. Turn west on San Jacinto Street at the major stoplight on the highway and drive a short ways until the street dead ends. Make a left on Sandalwood Avenue and you'll see the public parking lot to the right. There are restrooms and direct access to the beach.

From the parking lot, look for the sign to the path. This paved trail eventually winds past Cloisters Community Park, and if you continue walking south for about a half mile, you'll reach the short beach boardwalk. At the fork on the boardwalk, head toward the beach. Your legs will get a nice workout traipsing through the soft sand dunes.

   If you want to extend your walk by an extra mile, head south towards Morro Rock once you reach the shore. Otherwise, head north and walk up the beach for about a half mile until you find the sandy path that leads back to your car.

 You have to watch carefully for this sandy path back to the parking lot. I use the trees to the left in this picture as a guide. This stretch of beach does not permit dogs due to the snowy plover's nesting grounds.
Whatever the weather brings, have a beautiful day!