Climbing the Ladder Canyon Trail in Mecca Hills
Hiking & Backpacking, Outdoor Adventures

Climbing the Ladder Canyon Trail in Mecca Hills

When I think of slot canyons, I think of the stunning water-carved walls of Southern Utah and the tall narrow gorges of Northern Arizona. I think of iconic slots with telling names like the Subway, the Zion Narrows, and Secret Canyon. What I don’t picture, however, is a slot canyon just outside of Palm Springs, California, a land more known for palm trees and art deco hotels than its geologic wonders.

In fact, you wouldn’t know this treasure of a hike was only a few miles off the road. It’s not the type of hike you find on a two-lane highway meandering through dramatic mesas or bucolic farm land; on the contrary, it’s accessed by urban freeways through industrial areas full of mines and windmills.

But it’s there, hidden in Mecca Hills, a protected wilderness formed by the convergence of the Pacific Plate and the North American Plate. You may be more familiar with one of its most prominent features, the San Andreas Fault — in fact, the active fault line runs right through Mecca Hills.

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Wearing an insulated snowsuit and fleece-lined beanie
Parenthood

How to Dress Adventure Babies for Cold Winter Weather

In her first year of life, Gemma camped in the snow, hiked the Cascades, explored the Colorado Plateau, and visited a variety of terrain from sea level to 12,000 feet above. Through it all, she remained a happy, healthy baby and simply adores being outside, rain or shine.

What’s your secret to bringing a baby outdoors? other parents want to know. And while they think my answer will be one of the many pieces of gear we’ve acquired since becoming parents ourselves (we definitely don’t travel lightly!), I always tell them it comes down to one thing: layers.

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First apple blossoms of spring
Random Thoughts

Five Things Friday

The five little things that made my week…

1. Spring starts much earlier in Southern California than most parts of the country, but a sure sign of the change of seasons for me is when the apple blossoms on our tree begin to appear!

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Planting milkweed for the monarchs
Flowers & Herbs, Garden of Eatin', Insects & Worms

Planting Milkweed for the Monarchs

It’s one of the greatest migrations of the animal kingdom: Every spring, hundreds of thousands of monarch butterflies sweep across the continent from Mexico to Canada and then back again in fall, a journey spanning nearly 3,000 miles and multiple generations. In fact, recent studies show that it takes up to four generations for monarchs to make it north out of Mexico and into Southern Canada!

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Nestling in bed on a cold day
House & Home

Keep Calm and Hygge On

Do you find pleasure in nestling deep in your blanket on cold days, or warming up the house with a slow-cooking stew? Do you feel content with sharing a simple meal with family and friends, or gathering around a campfire under a moonlit sky?

The Danes have a word for all these things: hygge. But hygge is not any one “thing,” per se. It’s a Scandinavian lifestyle concept that encompasses all things cozy (in its most simplistic definition) and the intimate connection one feels with others. While there’s no direct translation in English, hygge can be thought of as the pursuit of everyday happiness, or the art of creating a calming and comfortable atmosphere in and out of the home.

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Introducing my 10-month-old baby to snowboarding
Parenthood

Introducing My 10-Month-Old Baby to Snowboarding

Pre-parenthood, I always heard stories of babies that could swim before they crawled or run before they walked. It seemed that babies were built with instinctive reflexes that went beyond sucking or smiling — reflexes combined with a lack of fear and low center of gravity, two great advantages in the world of snowsports.

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