Sep 302011
 
The one that got away: Diving with sea lions and seals of Anacapa

A sea lion comes in for a closer look I was SCUBA diving in the bracing waters off of Anacapa in the Channel Islands, receiving a stern lecture via vigorous pantomime.  Words aren’t an option when both parties are submerged 30 feet underwater.  It was clear to me, despite our lack of words, that my […]

Jul 072011
 
Weekend Wilderness: Escape to Horseshoe Meadow

Sometimes the inertia of getting out of the city is too much to overcome – especially when we’re talking about a long holiday weekend like the Fourth of July.  My three main barriers to outdoor enjoyment seem to be logistics, the heat, and the crowds that commute en masse from the Los Angeles area to […]

Mar 302011
 
The Underwater Gardener: Restoring Staghorn Coral in Key Largo, Florida

If you’ve ever tried tending a garden, you might be able to imagine the complexities of planting and maintaining a nursery located twenty feet under the sea.  I got just a taste of what it takes to be an underwater gardener when I joined a trip, organized by Captain Don Voss of Marine Cleanup Initiative, […]

Mar 042011
 
Penguins I have known: Half Moon Island, Cuverville, and Neko Harbour

Finally, Antarctica proper. Time for penguins! Our first landfall in Antarctica was at Half Moon Island, a crescent-shaped, rocky island with chinstrap penguin colonies and a small Argentinian research station.  (Technically Half Moon Island is part of the South Shetland Islands, not the Antarctic Peninsula, but there was ice and there were penguins, so I’m […]

Feb 152011
 
The Drake Passage: It's Not so Bad Until It is

Most people who visit Antarctica get there by boat, and the shortest route to Antarctica by boat is across the Drake Passage. For those of you who don’t remember your grade school history and geography lessons, the Drake Passage is the treacherous stretch of ocean between the southern tip of South America (at Cape Horn) […]

Jan 262011
 
End of the Road: from Ushuaia to Antarctica

Ushuaia is, quite literally, the end of the road.  Located off the tip of the South American continent in the archipelago called Tierra del Fuego, it’s considered the southernmost city in the world (although the smaller, Chilean Puerto Williams is giving Ushuaia a run for its money). As the last outpost before the Southern Ocean […]

Jan 202011
 
Antarctica Is . . .

For most of my life, Antarctica was an abstraction — a stand-in for the concept of “faraway”, of inaccessible wilds, bitter cold, the unknowable.  It stood for the idea of a last frontier populated by heroic explorers, or, as a reflection of more modern concerns, a barometer of climate change.  It was the fabled seventh […]

Nov 302010
 
The Dinosaur Hunters: Grand Junction, Colorado to Moab, Utah

My brother Andrew insisted that he had discovered a dinosaur bone, and I wasn’t buying it.  Granted, we were standing on the crumbly slope of Dinosaur Hill, where an almost-complete skeleton of Apatosaurus (colloquially but incorrectly known by the name Brontosaurus) was discovered in 1901.  But Dinosaur Hill was a well frequented stop on the “Dinosaur Diamond“, a […]

Oct 052010
 
Happiness Found at 8,000 Feet: a Birthday Party on Mount San Antonio

By now, you may have already heard about the research that shows that spending money on experiences is more conducive to happiness than spending money on “stuff”.  My friend Pietro understands this concept well.  Last year, he organized a birthday party for a group of family and friends at the San Antonio Ski Hut on […]

Sep 222010
 
The Great Sierra Circuit Part III: Shooting it up (with camera) in the Alabama Hills

This is part three of my description of the ultimate Sierra road trip, which originated in Los Angeles, visited the giant Sequoias, traversed the breadth of Yosemite National Park, and ended with a tour of the east side of the Sierra Mountains.  (See my posts covering Day 1 and Day 2 of the road trip.) Day […]