Outdoorsy things to do over Winter Break

The days are short (short!) and the air is cold, but that is no excuse to stay inside. There's so much to do outside at this time of year. And it's good for us to move and breathe fresh air. Not sure what to do, though? I have ideas.

1) Look for ladybugs. Millions of them. They over-winter along Stream Trail in Redwood Regional Park. I cannot confirm that they're already there, but I recommend that you go and let me know. More information and directions here.

2) Go to the beach. When the inland valleys - like Walnut Creek and Santa Rosa - are cold in the winter, the temps at the beach can be quite warm. It's a great time of year to walk Tennessee Valley or explore Limantour Beach or find your spot south of Half Moon Bay

3) Walk up a creek. Because at this time of year, there's actually water in the creeks! We did this 3 mile loop on the north side of Mount Diablo recently. Sunol Regional Wilderness is probably stunning right now. Or go explore your local creek. The Bay Area has so many creeks feeding the bay, even some that haven't been covered in concrete. 

What ideas and plans do you have? Share them on our Facebook page.

Happy Winter!


If you can get yourself to the shoreline...

On December 13-14, 2016 there will be extremely high and low tides known as King Tides. The high tides show us what sea level rise looks like in real time. The low tides show us a whole world usually hidden by water. The low tides are quiet and stunning. They are an absence that open minds and ears and eyes.

Somewhere between 60-70 people converged on the beach at Point Pinole on Sunday, December 11 to explore. The talented Alison Young from California Academy of Sciences demonstrated the coolness of iNaturalist and answered a billion questions about the animals we found out there in the mud. Her timelapse camera captured this:

(Click here if you can't see the video)

My big thanks to Alison for coming out and all that she does to connect people to the wonders of nature.

If you can get yourself to the shoreline over the next few days, particularly in the late afternoon before sunset, I recommend it. It's peaceful in a really important way.


Announcing an extra bonus for Sunday!

The weather app on my phone says that it's not going to rain on Sunday. We're going to trust it and say that our plans to explore the low, low tide at Point Pinole are on for Sunday between 1pm and sunset (about 4:45ish). If you're planning to come, and you're all welcome, please let me know by adding your name to this list.

Extra bonus feature! One of the coolest outdoorsy people I know, Alison Young from the California Academy of Sciences, has offered to lead some citizen science action. She was honored, along with the talented Rebecca Johnson, by Bay Nature magazine as local heroes and that sounds about right to me. This citizen science thing is something for the whole family, and will actually generate valuable scientific data. We're bound to learn something without working too hard at it. To play along, download the iNaturalist app before Sunday.

Details below. See you Sunday.

  • Sunday, December 11 from 1pm till sunset (about 4:45)
  • Point Pinole Regional Park in Richmond. Directions are here. And also here.
  • We'll meet in the parking lot and walk less than a mile to the beach. 
  • Instructions to get to the beach in case you come after 1pm: Walk up the hill to the right of the parking lot. You'll find a bridge across the train tracks. Stop for at least 30 seconds to see if a train is coming. Cross the bridge. Continue up the paved road towards the playground. Turn left at the playground towards the water. There's a small path down towards a clump of eucalyptus and the water. Walk southwest towards the water. You'll see Mt Tam in the distance. If you're after 1:30pm or so, listen for loud children.
  • Bring snacks, water, a towel or two, and a change of clothes. 
  • Bring shoes with which you can walk in water. 
  • Download the iNaturalist app.
  • Oh, and there's mud.