Archive for October, 2009

Monarch Butterflies to Return to Monterey Bay

  Date Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

The seasonal show of fall color in California is not limited to falling leaves.  Every autumn, beautiful orange and black Monarch butterflies return to the Monterey Bay area to mate.  One of the best places to see the display is at Natural Bridges State Beach in Santa Cruz.  Jodi Apelt of the California State Parks reports that on every Saturday and Sunday at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. through Feb. 14 (or until the migratory Monarchs depart), Monarch Butterfly Tours will occur.  Natural Bridges is located at the end of West Cliff Drive.   To know that the Monarchs are there when you plan to visit, call (831) 423-4609 in advance.

Monarch Butterfly (1/16/06)

Monarch Butterfly (1/16/06)

Other colorful California State parks fall events in the Santa Cruz area include a program on Mushrooms of the Santa Cruz Mountains, Nov. 7 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Ranche del Oso Nature and History Center near Waddell Creek Bridge (16 mi. north of Santa Cruz off CA-1).  A mushroom taxonomist will describe where to find them, how to be sure they’re “the right ones,” and tips on gourmet preparation of wild mushrooms.

On the Sunday of the Thanksgiving Day Weekend (Nov. 29), a “Creeping Forest Ramble” will leave at noon from Park Headquarters at Big Basin Redwoods State Park.  Docent Doreen Devorah will lead a three-hour, 2.5 mi hike up and down the “creeping” terrain, along creeks, through fire-scarred redwoods and over log bridges.   Bring water, a snack and good hiking shoes.

Photo Credit: © 2006, John Poimiroo

Free Skiing at Mammoth on Friday

  Date Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

Mammoth Mountain opens its ski season Friday, Oct. 16, marking the second earliest opening for the Eastern Sierra snow monster.  Yesterday’s storm dumped two feet of snow, with as much as six feet hitting the top of the mountain.

Adding to the excitement of the second earliest opening in Mammoth history, skiers and snowboarders will be able to ride for free on Friday, Oct. 16.  The Broadway Express lift opens at 8:30 a.m. serving a base of 16 to 24″ of machine-groomed “natural” snow.  Woo Hoo!

A tip of the helmet to Howard Pickett, Mammoth’s Chief Marketing Officer who says the free skiing is a reward to the Mammoth’s guests. Runs to open on Friday include: Broadway, St. Moritz, Forest Trail, Mambo and Main Park with assorted rails and jibs to entertain us.  Mammoth plans to open additional lifts as snow conditions permit.

Mammoth offers First Tracks lift and lodging packages for as little as $99 per person based on double occupancy.  Call 800.MAMMOTH or visit to book your stay.

Fall Color Peaks in the Eastern Sierra

  Date Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

Fall color is peaking above 8,000′ in the Eastern Sierra.  California Fall Color has posted a beautiful photograph of aspen leaves in a stream, each a dazzlingly bright tone of green, yellow, orange and red.  Weekly updates on this site report where the color is peaking throughout California.  Whoever says California has no change of season reveals they’ve never traveled to these colorful places.

Colorful aspen leaves in Rock Creek (10/5/09)