exploring our amazing natural spaces

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Foothill trails

Named for their blood red appearance at sunset, the Sangre de Cristo mountains are the southern most range of the Rocky Mountains traversing southern Colorado and New Mexico. The low foothills around Santa Fe are dotted with sparse groves of pinyon pine, prickly pear and cholla cactus perfect for hiking even during the winter months. copyright Gene Kalligher copyright Gene Kallighercopyright Gene Kallighercopyright Gene Kallighercopyright Gene Kalligher

Anyone seen Santa?

While related to reindeer aka caribou (both are members of the deer family), these elk were looking for greener pastures along a major north south highway. I expect this group will stay well grounded over the next few days. Happy holidays, Merry Christmas, safe travels to all!

copyright Gene Kallighercopyright Gene Kalligher

Surfer girls

Wet suits are required attire for winter surfing as this group of four (one paddling out) would surely agree. Low tide can also be a popular time for harvesting California mussels (wet suit optional) on boulders completely submerged later in the tide’s range.

copyright Gene Kalligher

History harbor

The tiny village of Trinidad California tucked behind its beach head and 19th century replica lighthouse has a long history. First as a village site for native peoples before harboring Spaniards, Russians and Brits in the 1500-1600s. European settlers arrived in the 1800s; their grave markers still evident in the town’s cemetery. Today Trinidad is a tourist mecca and fishing village known for supplying Dungeness crabs to California and states beyond.

trinidad-lighthousetrinidad-cemetarycrab-pots

Wave power

If you’ve ever been hit by even a small wave you know there’s power behind that water. Sea stacks are the eroded rock formation left standing after a millennia of wave activity. They add character to an already beautiful coastline AND make great nesting sites for birds and other wildlife.

copyright Gene Kalligher

Turkey trot

With all those tasty treats around it’s not uncommon to gain five pounds or more between Halloween and New Years. Which means NOW is a great time to walk your favorite sidewalk, path or trail. There’s a good chance you’ll encounter one of your neighbors looking to stay ahead of the curve (pun intended) too!

copyright Gene Kalligher

Golden state

With sunsets like these it’s easy to understand why California is called the Golden State. According to Stephen Corfidi NOAA meteorologist, these colors are no accident. As a region on the earth’s surface rotates away from the sun the extra long wavelengths that remain visible to the human eye at sunset happen to be the orange, red and golden hues. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

copyright Gene Kallighercopyright Gene KalligherGene Kalligher

Endor redwoods

California’s old growth redwoods are out of this world. Thankfully through efforts of many preservation groups we can be both awed and inspired. So inspired was Hollywood, scenes for the fictitious Moon of Endor from Star Wars Return of the Jedi were filmed in the state’s Redwood National and State Parks where these photos were taken.

copyright Gene Kallighercopyright Gene Kalligher

 

Mocha beach

It’s called Clam Beach but there are nearly as many sea biscuit (aka sand dollar) fragments as discarded clam shells. The sand has a light coffee color and the beach is almost clutter free. There’s plenty to see here too from small feisty sand crabs to tiling patterns in the sand. On some days dogs outnumber seagulls two to one!

copyright Gene Kallighercopyright Gene Kallighercopyright Gene Kallighercopyright Gene Kallighercopyright Gene Kalligher

Low tide wide

Three mile long Clam Beach between Trinidad and Arcata is wide, flat and firm at low tide encouraging an early AM stroll by humans, dogs and western gulls alike.

copyright Gene Kallighercopyright Gene Kalligher