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Archive for california

Trees of Mystery

By Linda Tancs

In the coastal town of Klamath, California, you can walk among giants. California redwoods, that is. In the heart of redwood country is the state’s original redwood nature attraction, Trees of Mystery. The family run preserve has over a mile of interpretative trail to take in the size and scope of these forest wonders, which average eight feet to as much as 20 feet in diameter and some as tall as 375 feet. For a bird’s-eye view, take the sky gondola. Have a green thumb? You can buy a seedling and try to grow your own giant.

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Exploring the Unexplained

By Linda Tancs

How do you explain the unexplainable, like extraterrestrial life? A panel of leading experts will take a crack at it when AlienCon convenes this weekend in Pasadena, California. Featuring Giorgio Tsoukalos, the panel includes UFO expert Nick Pope, ancient civilizations expert David Childress and investigative mythologist William Henry. You’ll have the opportunity to take part in celebrity autograph and photo sessions with some of the biggest names in alien exploration and pop culture and to buy specialty merchandise at the marketplace. May the force be with you.

San Francisco’s Little Giant

By Linda Tancs

The Mission District of San Francisco, California, is nowadays a culturally diverse and trendy part of the city. But were it not for a working fire hydrant on April 18, 1906, it would have likely been lost to the ages. That’s when a disastrous earthquake brought the city to its knees, spawning the Great Fire left largely unquenched by a series of broken water mains—except for a certain fire hydrant on the southwest corner of Dolores Park in the western edge of the Mission District. Against all odds, the lone functioning hydrant (nicknamed “little giant”) is credited with saving the district. Each year on April 18 it receives a fresh coat of gold paint.

The Pacific Crest Trail

By Linda Tancs

One of the original national scenic trails established by Congress in the 1968 National Trails System Act, the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail generally runs along the high crests of the Sierra and Cascades mountain ranges. Beginning in southern California at the Mexican border, the trail marks a total distance of 2,650 miles through California (passing through five state parks), Oregon, and Washington until reaching the Canadian border. The trail is open to the public from April to September for foot and equestrian travel only. About 200 people attempt to hike the length of the trail each season, generally starting at the Mexican border and ending at the Canadian border. Only a few equestrians have ever ridden the entire trail.

Chrome in Chino

By Linda Tancs

Enveloped in chrome and shiny aluminum, Yanks Air Museum is an aircraft lover’s dream. Located in Chino, California, the facility is a showplace for carefully restored historical aircraft and boasts legends like the P-40 Warhawk and the F-86 Sabre. Its collections range from early aviation (1903 – 1918) to modern jets. The site also has drones, helicopters, vehicles, missiles, model airplanes and aircraft in the boneyard currently being restored to flight-worthy status using period materials.

 

Surfing in Santa Cruz

By Linda Tancs

Santa Cruz proudly claims to be the location of the very first board surfing ever in North America, at the “Rivermouth” break in 1885. A strong surf culture still prevails today, enhanced by the locale’s dedication as a World Surfing Reserve in 2012. An initiative of Save the Waves, the program serves as a global model for preserving wave breaks and their surrounding areas by recognizing and protecting the key environmental, cultural, economic and community attributes of surfing areas. At least 23 consistent surf breaks are sited along this marine protected area, including the world-class breaks of Steamer Lane and Pleasure Point. Not surprisingly, the city hosts a surfing museum overlooking Steamer Lane tracing over 100 years of surfing history in town. Winter is always the best time for surfing consistent waves, and the breaks are rated from “expert” to “beginner.”

Gardens at the Getty

By Linda Tancs

The J. Paul Getty Museum (the Getty) celebrates visual arts of outstanding quality and historical importance at two locales in California. In Los Angeles, the Getty Center houses an international collection of European paintings, drawings, sculpture, illuminated manuscripts, decorative arts and photography from its beginnings to the present. In Malibu, the Getty Villa is dedicated to the study of the arts and cultures of ancient Greece, Rome and Etruria. What both venues have in common are extraordinary gardens. Just like ancient Rome, the gardens at the villa are integral to the site, boasting fountains, arbors and reflecting ponds designed after ancient Roman models and planted with species known from the ancient Mediterranean. The heart of the Getty Center is its Central Garden, featuring a natural ravine and tree-lined walkway amidst 500 varieties of plant material. The Center has reopened after a rash of wildfires in the area.

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