Ormat to Conduct Geothermal Well Testing near Mammoth Lakes

MAMMOTH LAKES, Calif. - The Bureau of Land Management Bishop Field Office, in coordination with the Inyo National Forest Mammoth Lakes Ranger District, has approved a proposal by Ormat Nevada Inc. to conduct a 30-day flow and injection test of two existing geothermal wells near the town of Mammoth Lakes.

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Felton Covered Bridge: Tallest Covered Bridge in the USA

If you follow this blog, then you know that I am a huge fan of bridges. So when I heard that the tallest covered bridge in the USA was in California, I knew I had to check it out. The bridge, built in 1829, is located in a county park that was built around it in the town of Felton, and you read on for all the information.

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Details

  • Free
  • Need about 20 minutes
  • Location: 6281 Graham Hill Rd Felton, CA 95018

Getting There

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The county park is located in the town of Felton right at the intersection of Highway 9 and Graham Hill Road. There is a small parking lot that is free to park at.

The Felton Covered Bridge

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After parking, you will want to make your way across the grass area and past the playground to get to the bridge.

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The bridge is pedestrian only, and you can walk entirely across it which makes it awesome to check out.

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It is really tall, much taller than I would have anticipated it being.

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The bridge had a roof that was falling apart and one section was actually open as it was deteriorating.

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The interior of the bridge was in good shape though, and it was fun to explore it and look out the windows over the water.

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When I crossed through it, I found a small path that took you up to a cement slab and provided an excellent view of the bridge exterior.

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On the other side, you can get a view that is kind of like it, but a lot of the paths are off limits so I couldn’t find a good way down below it.

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All in all, I spent about 15 minutes exploring and photographing the bridge. It was a quick, easy stop in the city but one that I recommend as it’s not every day you get to see the tallest covered bridge in the USA. Check it out and let me know what you think in the comments.

Get Involved in Planning the Future of Kings Beach State Recreation Area

California State Parks (State Parks) and the California Tahoe Conservancy (Conservancy) are collaborating to plan for the future of the Kings Beach State Recreation Area (SRA) and are soliciting your input on alternative elements for redevelopment of the SRA during preparation of a general plan revision and pier rebuild project.



View the official news release here.
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Get Involved in Planning the Future of Kings Beach State Recreation Area

California State Parks (State Parks) and the California Tahoe Conservancy (Conservancy) are collaborating to plan for the future of the Kings Beach State Recreation Area (SRA) and are soliciting your input on alternative elements for redevelopment of the SRA during preparation of a general plan revision and pier rebuild project.



View the official news release here.
Posted in Uncategorized

Get Involved in Planning the Future of Kings Beach State Recreation Area

California State Parks (State Parks) and the California Tahoe Conservancy (Conservancy) are collaborating to plan for the future of the Kings Beach State Recreation Area (SRA) and are soliciting your input on alternative elements for redevelopment of the SRA during preparation of a general plan revision and pier rebuild project.



View the official news release here.
Posted in Uncategorized

Community Conversations on Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument

WILLOWS, Calif – The U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management are in the early stages of developing a management plan for the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument (BSMNM) and invite the public to participate in Community Conversations about the monument. The conversations are an opportunity for the public to express what they value in the management of the BSMNM.

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Five Great Coffee Shops to Visit in LA’s Fashion & Art’s District

It turns out Downtown LA’s Art District and Fashion District boast of more than just warehouse boutiques, urban murals, and sidewalk sketches; they are also home to a number of craft coffee shops. Within blocks of each other, coffee aficionados and hipsters alike have their pick of everything from Blue Bottle to Stumptown Coffee. Situated on street corners and in the middle of industrial buildings, these spots cater mostly to the pick up and go cup of joe kind of people, or to those iconic 70 degree and sunny LA days when sidewalk cafe seating is at its best.

Blue Bottle Coffee

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Located on Mateo and Willow, Blue Bottle is easy to get in and out of, making it an ideal spot for those who need a shot of artisan espresso, or a craft cold brew. Regarding ambiance, Blue Bottle is minimalist, sporting a few long bar tables, one that faces the street and offers great daytime lighting. No wifi makes it a bit of a troublesome place for long-term work space, but a nice area for a quick coffee break or chat with friends. 

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We sampled the pour over blend of three African beans and found it a quite excellent medium roast: smooth, a little acidic, sweet, and fruity. The iced latte was equally on par. There was a strong espresso presence that cut through the creamy milk and yet it was smooth and refreshing, well-flavored, not heavy. The prices were reasonable, perhaps even on the lower end for a craft coffee roaster, other snacks were available, and the menu had plenty of coffee and espresso options from which to pick.

Stumptown Coffee

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About a half mile down the road, on South Santa Fe Ave, Stumptown Coffee situates itself between other industrial spots and art studios. Like Blue Bottle, seating is limited, but patrons can enjoy a seat at a bar with windows opening into the roastery. Those who enjoy the mechanical, scientific art of coffee roasting can watch as the massive machine roasts the beans and even voyeuristically gaze into a room adjacent where it appears barista training occurs. An industrial, transparent space, Stumptown does offer free wifi, snacks, and lots of hipster presence. 

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We tried out just a drip coffee as there were less single brew options than at Blue Bottle, and an iced latte again. Both were great; the latte was rich, smooth, light and easy and the coffee was more of a dark roast, acidic, with some nutty and chocolatey flavor notes. For those interested in cold brew, they had a lot more options for coffee. Prices seemed a bit lower here than at some craft coffee shops.

Black Top Coffee

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The last stop of the day was the most quaint, and best oriented for people looking to score a quick cup in a rush. Located on East Third St, Black Top is a small bar with a very simple menu that offers cold brews, drip coffee, and a few espresso drinks. Their stand opens up to a decor boutique next door, and down the street were some novelty/souvenir shops with lots of modern charm. 

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We ordered another drip coffee and iced latte, and sat on some wood chairs with finished wood stumps as a “coffee table” outside under a vine-covered trellis with twinkle lights. It was a beautiful outdoor space, and were the weather a bit warmer, one could easily see this being quite the dreamy spot on an early fall evening or summer night. The coffee was balanced, flavorful, and a bit acidic. The latte seemed a bit lighter and less strong in its espresso taste, but that could be because we ordered it with whole milk instead of 2% as at Blue Bottle and Stumptown. Both were fantastic. Food is available, but only in the mornings and until 2pm. The price seemed a bit more than Stumptown and comparable to Blue Bottle, perhaps a bit more.

Not far from Downtown LA’s Arts District sits its equally or perhaps even more famous Fashion District, host to another slew of great artisan coffee shops.

Coffee Co Lab

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On the corner of Eighth Street and Santee, just a few doors down from the intersection is a subtle black coffee sign for Coffee Co La B (as in the abbreviations for several of the elements found on the chemist’s periodic table). It’s just a simple stand with a roll down door, a few chairs, including an old teal rocker and rustic tables outside. The menu is painted artistically in the shape of a pour over set on the wall behind the counter, and while it does not offer any pour over options or snack items for noshing, it does have the basic espresso and drip selections.  The interior space is littered with a menagerie of antiques interspersed with some seedy street decor, like suggestive artwork and one hanging bra. It’s the sort of downtown, urban, gritty feel you expect to find in the middle of a major metropolitan fashion district. 

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We ordered the usual: a latte and black coffee, $4 and $2.75, respectively. My favorite part about my latte was the foamy head, frothy from its time being shaken in the tumbler. Zac enjoyed his mild to medium roast coffee, with hints of chocolate, and a bit of acidity; all in all, it was a good cuppa joe for a batch brew coffee.  

Verve

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Just a five minute walk from Coffee Co La B is Verve, a very different sort of venue for caffeine addicts. It’s a much larger space, with plenty of seating both outside and inside the shop. Outside, the tucked away alcove-like seating peeks out from a vine-covered, Pacific Northwest-sort-of-feeling green porch. Meanwhile, the indoor space is much more like a well lit loft setting with exposed warehouse ceilings. The menu includes all of the usual coffee options as well as a vast juice selection that has a strong appeal to the LA, hipster, I-just-went-vegan- last week clientele. In addition, there are many tasty treat options (may I recommend the cookie to you), some soup, sandwiches, and even other sundry items like soaps for sale. 

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We settled in with our iced latte and pour over, similarly priced to the other places. The iced latte was smooth, balanced, a tad earthy, and quite delightful. The pour-over was a light, fruity roast with good acidity. The cookie, did I mention that already? Well, it was the icing on the proverbial cake. The vibes here, in addition to the great coffee, just felt like LA: there was a good energy, the sort of busy, but let’s stop to enjoy the palm trees before we go to a photo shoot and film on a set for the rest of the day kind of vibrancy.

Dematisse

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After camping out at Verve for a bit, we headed to our last stop in the Fashion District: Dematisse, in the middle of Little Tokyo on the corner of E. Second St. and San Pedro. Dematisse was very different from the other two as well, with a sort of “fancy” cafe feel, almost bordering on a touch of New York sophistication, with a subtle pairing of Asian colors and flavors (like the white miso in the butterscotch cookie I ordered). The place had flair and class, and yet was simple too. 

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My standard $4 iced latte was rich, creamy, and smooth and Zac’s $4.25 Costa Rican pour over was full-bodied, a little bit fruity, and sweet. Although we chose an indoor bar seating area overlooking a plaza, outdoor seating was available as well, next to a large sign that read: “Friends don’t let friends drink Starbucks.” Two more points to the New York attitude. Dematisee also sold chocolate and tea, some previously mentioned cookies and pastries, and offered a few different ways for one to enjoy their coffee, such as through a siphon versus a pour over.

And so, while one typically thinks of Los Angeles as the home of the Dodgers, Hollywood, and some of the West Coast’s most iconic beaches, it turns out it’s also home to some pretty killer craft coffee shops.

What’s your favorite spot? Be sure to leave it in the comments.

Hiking to the Lake Clementine Dam & Foresthill Bridge in Auburn

If you live in Northern California and use Instagram then you have no doubt seen people standing out on a small rock with a large man-made waterfall flowing off a dam behind them. This spot is known as the Lake Clementine Dam, and while you can technically drive pretty close to it, it is much more fun to take the 4.5 mile round trip hike which also takes you under the tallest bridge in California, the Foresthill Bridge. Here is all the information so you can do it yourself.

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Details

  • 4.5 miles round trip
  • $10 to park since it is a state park
  • 200 feet of elevation
  • Location: 137 Old Foresthill Rd, Auburn, CA 95603

Getting There

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This trail starts from Auburn State Recreation Area which is right on the North Fork of the American River. From Highway 80 you will get on the 49 / 193 then you will take the 193 all the way till it splits. One way goes to the city of “Cool”, and the other goes on Old Foresthill Road. From here you will no doubt see cars on both sides of you, grab a spot when you can and pay your fee at the small ranger station. You can use the address above as well.

The Trail

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From the ranger station, you will be heading over the bridge across the American River and then walking left on the dirt road with a gate at the front.

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This path is what you will be taking for the next 2 miles.

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It is relatively unshaded in the beginning, but this is my favorite part as you are going along the river and walking towards the Foresthill Bridge.

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The bridge looms 700 feet above you, and this really helps to give you a feel for just how massive it truly is.

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I spent a lot of time just taking pictures and looking at the new angles as I walked the trail.

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This section is also really popular for swimming, and when you pass under the Foresthill Bridge, you will probably see a lot of people in the water.

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I didn’t get a chance to swim, but it looked amazing with the clear and peaceful water so I will certainly be back.

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At about the 1.25-mile mark the trail starts to head uphill for the next 3/4ths of a mile. The uphill is not too tough since it is well shaded and the sun is not beating down on you. Just take your time here and take in all the views.

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As you start to reach the end of the uphill part, you will catch a few glimpses of the dam to your left through the trees. The trail then crosses another gate at the 2-mile mark, and you will start walking on the cement.

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Head to the left with the signs that point to Lake Clementine and watch out for cars as this is a place where people can drive again.

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When you get to the bottom of this section you will see a small single track that heads down to the left, take this and make your way down to the dam.

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When you reach the end of the trail, you will be able to see the dam from above and Lake Clementine behind it.

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You can just turn around here or head down the scrambling portion to the dam itself. Of course, that is what I recommend as it is amazing to see the massive amount of water coming off of it and the rainbows it kicks up.

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There are a lot of great picture opportunities of the dam as well, and this is a great spot to take a break and have a snack. Once you are done, you will head back the way you came, which includes going up the steep paved portion then heading downhill the whole way back to your car.

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All in all, this is a fantastic hike in the Auburn area, one with tons of great photos opportunities. Be sure to add it to your list and let me know what you think in the comments.