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


Fire moved through the Sequoia National Forest on Sept. 17.

Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

According to the National Park Service, nearly a fifth of the world's mature giant sequoias died in wildfires over the past 15 months. The staggering estimate came as officials released a new damage assessment from the KNP Complex and Windy wildfires that tore through the southern Sierra in September, which killed between 2,261 and 3,637 sequoias greater than 4 feet in diameter. That's on top of as many as 10,600 killed in last year's Castle fire. A.P. | Bloomberg


The city of Eureka and Humboldt Bay.

“I hate the wind. I’ve spent all my life in it.”

The powerful winds of the North Coast have been a nuisance for many of those who made lives in its path. But for wind energy companies, the region is about as desirable as any place in the world. The prospect of large-scale offshore turbine development is now driving optimism that a region laid low by the decline of timber may see new boom times on the promise of wind. Press Democrat


☝️ Here's what a typical Friday night looks like in San Francisco. Founded in 1989, Midnight Rollers Friday Night Skate is a weekly party on wheels. Rollerskaters decked in neon cover a 12-mile loop through the city, dancing all the way. At its height in the late 1990s, more than 700 skaters attended. These days it's more like 50, but the energy is as strong as ever. Someone shared a fun video from a ride this month on Reddit.


295 days

7,400+ miles

26 pairs of shoes

22 states

While much of the world was locked down during the pandemic, two Stanford University friends planned the adventure of a lifetime: to hike three of the country's most arduous trails — the Appalachian, Pacific Crest, and Continental Divide — in a single year. This presentation on Jackson Parell and Sammy Potter's journey is really well done, with gorgeous maps and photography. 👉 L.A. Times


Horse chestnut trees at the arboretum on Nov. 18.

Frank McDonough

It can be easy to forget that there are places like this around Los Angeles. The Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanical Garden is a 127-acre oasis of more than 12,000 plants arranged by continent. The fall colors at the garden are brilliantly varied as nonnative plants respond to different climactic triggers. Now turning: Freeman's maples, crepe myrtles, pomegranates, and Chinese pistache. Frank McDonough, a botanical consultant at the arboretum, shared recent photos with California Fall Color.


Tommy Caldwell on El Capitan in Yosemite.

Corey Rich/Aurora Photos

William Finnegan, a great nonfiction writer, profiled Tommy Caldwell, a great rock climber:

"Caldwell’s limits have fascinated the climbing world for decades. He has very likely free-climbed more routes on El Capitan than anyone else, and has been featured on the cover of Climbing magazine an unseemly number of times. This small but intense community made him famous young and has not let him go. It pays his bills, relishes his struggles, celebrates his suffering, gilds his image, and assumes, in its opaque way, that he will continue to climb at the highest level and will not fall." The New Yorker


The small town of Ojai has the feeling of a place apart. Sequestered in a narrow valley east of Santa Barbara, the tranquil surroundings have attracted generations of artists, growers, and spiritual seekers. Then there's the light. Tectonic forces arranged the mountains in an east-west configuration, allowing copious sunshine. Sunsets linger, casting an alpenglow on the Topatopa Mountains so glorious and reliable that it's earned a name: the "pink moment." A time-lapse. 👇

Geartooth Productions


Thanks for reading!

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

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