I spent a season long ago as a botanist on the Carrizo Plain, one of the coolest landscapes I have ever encountered, so I was a bit dismayed this week that it’s National Monument status might be up for revision by the new presidential administration.  Then I read that Patagonia (yes, the retailer) was standing up to the attack on monuments (read about it here).  It brought to mind one of the most significant and impacting films I have seen about adventure and the environment, 180° South.


land art.

I don’t know what is most intriguing about land art.  Simply that it is in the outdoors, displaced, making the ecosystem and the natural world the museum by default?  Maybe that it draws people out to the most random locations where they can then look back from a completely unlikely vantage point and reflect?  Maybe my hope is that it will give people an appreciation for nature.  Or perhaps it’s simply that many land art pieces are just extravagantly weird.  Like the mirror house near Palm Springs pictured below.  It’s a part of DesertX, a different kind of art exhibit, scattered across the entire Coachella Valley.  Link to it here.  It ends soon, and is so worth the roadtrip.


california state parks.

Conservation areas need all the love they can get these days.  California has a magnificent network of state parks, protecting an array of California’s unique landscapes, from beaches to high mountains to parched deserts and even an inland sea.  Check out their many sites here.  There are nearly 300 to choose from and 63 are right on the Pacific Ocean.

If you are looking for beachfront property you can actually afford, plan a camping trip.  My picks in SoCal are San Elijo State Beach, though the proximity to the road makes tent camping a bit of a noisy proposition, and San Clemente State Beach where you can pitch a tent right on the bluff under the main lifeguard tower.  You’ll have views to eternity, but watch out for the wind which comes in strong along this stretch of the coast.

Want to pitch in?  The california state parks foundation is an independent advocacy group that schedules volunteer days for the public to help out with important resource management projects.  Share the love here.