California Sun

Happy Sunday.

Here are a few stories you missed in the California Sun over the last week.

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Sun sampler


A launch ramp extended to reach the receding water at Lake Oroville on May 22.

Noah Berger/A.P.

Fire-scorched hillsides. Boat docks in the dirt. Hidden islets emerging from the water.

California's more than 1,500 reservoirs are 50% lower than they should be this time of year. Ahead of an anticipated hot summer, the dwindling water supply threatens fish, crops, households, and hydroelectric power plants. The A.P. produced a powerful series of photos and drone views of the state's anemic reservoirs.

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Here are the U.S. Drought Monitor's maps for May 25, 2021, left, and May 26, 2020. (Dark red is "exceptional drought.") 👇


When Hailey Morinico saw a large bear swatting at her dogs in her backyard on the edge of the Angeles National Forest, she didn't hesitate. The 17-year-old darted toward the powerful animal and shoved it from atop a fence, a perhaps reckless but effective move captured on surveillance camera. Morinico sprained a finger, but said it was no big deal. "I live in the mountains, so this is actually really normal. And it's summer, so they always come now." KABC | A.P.


Los Angeles is full of free fruit, including delicious loquats.

Banu Sevim

In some Los Angeles neighborhoods, you can hardly walk more than 100 feet without passing a loquat tree. Yet it's common to see loquat branches buckling under the weight of their delicious ripe fruits, free for the taking yet unpicked. “Nobody eats them,” said Alissa Walker, a Los Angeles–based journalist and loquat enthusiast. “They just hang on the trees, and I’m like, ‘Is anyone going to eat these?’” Atlas Obscura

L.A. Times columnist Gustavo Arellano had thoughts: "Should’ve written the truth: gentrifying gabas don’t eat loquats because they’re interlopers who don’t bother to learn the lay of the land." @GustavoArellano


Christopher Hall

Christopher Hall's photos of parked cars around San Francisco seem drawn from some dreamy bygone past. But the found scenes — a moody 1960s Ford Mustang parked outside a warehouse, a Rolls Royce in front of "Don Ramon's" Mexican restaurant — were captured squarely in the age of Twitter and Facebook. "Ideally," Hall said, "I'm trying to find a scene where you have to question, 'Is this 1958 or is this 2021?'" California Sun


Cooling fog rolls across San Francisco.

As Californians get ready to enjoy the warmest weather of the year, San Francisco still has some waiting to do. According to National Weather Service data, the city's warmest month is September, when the average high hits 70.2 degrees. October is next warmest, with an average high of 69.8. San Francisco's famously chilly summers result from the city's location between the Pacific Ocean and Central Valley. Meteorologists say the low-pressure heat of the valley acts like a vacuum cleaner, sucking the ocean's cold, high-pressure air and fog inland. It takes the path of least resistance, sweeping through gaps in the mountains like the Golden Gate. As inland temperatures drop, the effect reverses, letting San Franciscans bask, finally, in the autumn sun. KQED has a nice explainer.


The Redwood Sky Walk is not not far from the filming locations of the Forest Moon of Endor.

Eddy Alexander/City of Eureka

You can now experience the North Coast's redwoods from the perspective of a spotted owl. The just-opened Redwood Sky Walk is the longest skywalk in the Western United States at a quarter mile, suspended 100 feet off the ground in an old-growth nature preserve. It's located on the edge of Eureka's Sequoia Park Zoo, which means the walk there is lined with bush dogs, spider monkeys, and red pandas. Lonely Planet


Misty cliffs along San Gregorio State Beach.

Ivan Malechka

San Gregorio State Beach is one of the most dramatic stretches of beach along the San Francisco peninsula coast, with a lagoon and soaring bluffs. It can seem crowded because everyone plops their blankets down within 50 yards of the parking lot. But walk south a bit, advised the outdoor writer Tom Stienstra, and a wilderness-like strip of sand extends more than 2 miles — with hardly a soul. "Along the base of the sandstone cliffs, you’ll find many little nooks and crannies where you can create your choice of private hideaways, with an ocean view, for a picnic."

On the way home, step back in time at the famous San Gregorio General Store, operating since 1889. There's a saloon, small library, sitting area, and adamantly no TV or Wi-Fi. This weekend, a string band played old-timey Irish tunes.


Thanks for reading!

The California Sun is written by Mike McPhate, a former California correspondent for the New York Times.

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