When she set out to hike 200 miles of the John Muir Trail, Anne Arthur, 57, wasn’t aiming to make a statement. She just wanted to go on a hike, the kind she and her husband had planned to do. “We’d been trying to get back to backpacking,” she says of her hiking plans with her husband of 22 years, Jeff. “It was an activity in which we both felt alive; it was something that we shared.” But that was before Jeff, 58, died unexpectedly last November. And before Anne was forced to think about her life and her dreams in a new light.
Nature is disappearing, and not just where we notice it. Certainly, the natural world is going under the bulldozer at a frightening rate, from the Brazilian rain forest to North Natomas. But that’s not all that concerns Richard Louv.
What worries the journalist and author is that nature is disappearing from inside us. People are spending less and less time in natural settings and, he says, are losing touch with nature in many different ways.
The great outdoors is so great, in large part, because we get away from all the concerns and pressures that add so much stress to our civilized lives. So saying that manners matter in our outdoor activities – observing the proper “outdoor etiquette” – seems almost oxymoronic.
After all, isn’t going into the wild a chance to let loose our inner wildness? Well, yes and no.
Not everyone who enjoys winter sports yearns to be traveling at insanely high speeds.
While the downhill thrill lures many to the slopes, others are answering a more laid-back call: Come to the snow, and shoe.
Boarding and skiing are great fun, but so is the winter-sports family’s more pedestrian cousin: snowshoeing.
Great whites come to the Farallon Islands, a small group of guano-encrusted rocks 26 miles outside of San Francisco Bay, because of who else goes there: sea mammals. Specifically, elephant seals, which are mobile repositories of fat big enough to give Jenny Craig nightmares.
Such a sight – dryly referred to by Savedra as “a feeding event” – is said to be spectacular.
Anyone who’s spent any time in San Francisco is familiar with the city’s most famous hills: Russian Hill, Telegraph Hill, Nob Hill and Twin Peaks.
But this vertically-oriented city also has a number of lesser-known hills, topped by parks or municipal open spaces, that are well worth the time – and the physical energy – they take to explore.
The biblical phrase “to hammer swords into plowshares” has a nice, logical feel to it. And it’s a relatively simple operation: Once the hammering’s done, you hitch up a mule and start plowing.
But what if your “sword” is a 5,000-acre naval base that was in operation for nearly 150 years and built everything from Civil War sidewheelers to Cold War nuclear submarines?
Rising from the Central Valley an hour to the southwest of Sacramento, Mount Diablo is a treasure hidden in plain sight. Though the 81,000-acre natural playground draws a million visitors a year, the state and regional parklands surrounding the peak still feel wild and remote, and this is Diablo’s time of year.
It may not look like much, this tiny house set behind a low cyclone fence in a low-income Sacramento neighborhood south of City College, but it is a dream home. It was a dream without a dreamer. Or so some thought.