Tag Archives: Pacific Coast

Down by the Bay (Upper Newport Bay, California)

When your hotel is situated on the edge of a nature preserve, it’s bound to get interesting. When there’s ten miles of trails winding through it? Even better. I spent a lot of time on the trails of Upper Newport Bay Preserve and Ecological Reserve a few years ago, both strolling with my camera and running without it. There’s nothing like fresh scenery to add a little spring to your step and pull some time off your mile.

Upper Newport Bay Map and Visitor Information

Upper Newport Bay is dedicated wetlands. Without intervention and education, it would eventually fill with sediment and evolve into meadowland. Home to half a dozen rare or endangered bird species, the estuary hosts over 30,000 birds a day during winter migration. Birds are only part of the story though; fish, native plants and assorted critters and mammals share the space in an intricate food web sustained by the unique conditions of a wetlands habitat. Some thirty to forty percent of California’s halibut catch is said to originate from spawning beds in the Bay. A flood control project in the late 60’s has impacted the Bay to the point that regular dredging is necessary to maintain its natural state. Fortunately, many believe the estuary to be worth the effort.The serene liquid landscape teems with life; mollusks, fish and snails emerged along the waterline as well as assorted shorebirds that fluttered away at our approach. We searched in vain for a California trapdoor spider, but a sleek long-tailed weasel caught my eye as it slipped across a narrow channel.

The Muth Interpretive Center was an unexpected find, tucked away beneath a curve of the trail. The paths of an outdoor garden led us down to fascinating displays on the Bay’s ecosystem. We arrived with questions and the employees were more than happy to share information and point us to helpful exhibits. Muth Center guides also helped us identify a couple of plants that intrigued us, including the coyote gourd or coyote melon plant.

The trailing vines of this flowering plant were expansive, invading the territories of all surrounding vegetation and even creeping out onto the horse trail that runs alongside the biking and running path. Jumping the vines daily as I ran the bayside path seemed reason enough for an introduction…

 

Updated from July 29, 2009.

Newport Beach Things To Do

Upper Newport Bay Map and Visitor Information

1000 acres of preserved wetland with 10 miles of hiking/biking/running trails. Kayaking, fishing, birdwatching...

Peter and Mary Muth Interpretive Center: Exhibits and information

Directions/Phone: 2301 University Drive; Newport Beach, CA 92660(949) 923 2290    Website

Newport Aquatic Center: Kayak and pontoon boat tours

Directions/Phone: 1 Whitecliffs Drive; Newport Beach, CA 92660(949) 646-7725   Website

View Upper Newport Bay Preserve and Ecological Reserve in a larger map

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Black Friday 2011

 

Not quite what you expected? Let me explain.

My best shopping experiences generally involve selecting the tastiest tomatoes in produce or the cool tools at the hardware store (I even have a favorite sales guy in electrical). I don’t abhor “real” shopping, but my natural inclinations pull me toward trails more often than malls. And quite frankly, Black Friday intimidates me. I wouldn’t even buy a banana in the midst of such an adrenaline-laced retail event.

So we escaped to Caesar Creek State Park. The parking lot was uncrowded. The trail was as clear as the air and the views. We completely missed the bargains. The competition. The madness.

This season arrives pre-loaded with a frenzy of traditions and obligations. It’s worth taking a quiet moment to choose what is most personally meaningful. If shopping is your thing, be my guest (and you can claim my parking space. At the back of the lot —sorry!). But before methodically checking off the items on your annual list, why not take a look at the list itself. See if last year’s priorities are worthy of the same attention this year.

It turned out that my “must do”s hadn’t changed over the past twelve months. Which is why we went hiking as a family the day after Thanksgiving.

For more on choosing meaningful traditions, visit “Traditions” on the Inspiration page at Heather Dugan Creative .

Cincinnati Things To Do on raveable

 

 

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Suit Required, Tie Optional

lifeguard phone box

The view rivals the one enjoyed from the coveted corner office. The benefits include physical fitness and an ocean breeze. The perfect summer job? Maybe. Except the hours aren’t limited to warm summer days, and it is a job where the stakes run considerably higher than financial earnings and losses.

 

The duties of a San Diego beach lifeguard are far ranging. All full time guards are certified EMTs (Emergency Medical Technician) and may be called upon for boat rescues up to three miles from the shore as well as coastal cliff rescues. Most full time guards are also peace officers with full powers of arrest.

 

Specially trained guards assist in river and flooding rescues, marine firefighting and dive rescues and recoveries. Recent incidents handled by area lifeguards include an exploding scuba tank, a floating blue whale carcass and a directionally challenged harbor seal wandering yard to yard through an area neighborhood.

Clearly, this is not a job for those who value a routine existence. But it’s “ocean front” at no extra charge…

 

Updated from July 27, 2009.

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