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


The California condor is one of our rarest, largest, and most magnificent birds.

James Michael

California condors can reproduce without having sex. Researchers at the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance made the unexpected finding while analyzing the DNA of two chicks, which had not a single gene from a father. They were, in a sense, virgin births, raising the possibility that fatherless childbearing may occur in other species undetected. Dr. Oliver Ryder, co-author of a newly published study on the discovery, said it gives him goosebumps to this day. WIRED | The Atlantic


The accommodations at Featherbed Railroad Bed & Breakfast in Upper Lake.

A cottage built from glass bottles near Death Valley, a secluded hobbit house near San Diego, and antique railroad cabooses on the shore of a Northern California lake. Fodors Travel named California's 10 most unusual hotels.


Oil extraction in Lost Hills, where wastewater has been sinking into the soil.

David McNew/Getty Images

Between the late 1950s and 2008, Chevron disposed of toxic wastewater in eight ponds with a combined surface area of 26 acres in Kern County. They have no synthetic liners to prevent leaking, meaning the wastewater could leak into nearby water sources like the California Aqueduct. "And that’s exactly what happened," Grist reported.


via Field Mag

Amtrak's Coast Starlight has been called "the most spectacular seashore route in the world." Departing daily, it runs between Seattle and Los Angeles, traversing about 1,400 miles in 35 hours. A pair of photographers documented their journey in 15 lush pictures. Field Mag


Lands End is at the northwestern end of the Crosstown Trail.

The Chronicle's Peter Hartlaub called it "a true San Francisco miracle." Somehow, a band of citizens managed to bypass government bureaucracy to piece together a 17-mile trail that cuts diagonally across the entire city. National Geographic explored the Crosstown Trail as it zigzags through parks, two waterfronts, a mosaic stairway, and one of the city's most underappreciated neighborhoods: Visitacion Valley.

Download the trail map. 👉


In February, an innovative shelter opened in North Hollywood with 40 colorful tiny homes, showers, Wi-Fi, and a laundry facility. At a cost of $5.2 million, critics said it was too expensive. But a photographer who spent two months documenting life at the village disagreed. "Every day," Morgan Lieberman wrote, "I saw the immeasurable worth of these tiny villages in helping to create something that’s often missing from stories about the unhoused: a narrative of positive progress." L.A. Times


Sea Ranch Lodge sits on 53 acres along the Sonoma coast.

Sea Ranch Lodge

The Press Democrat polled its readers on the most beautiful building in Sonoma County. The winner: The Sea Ranch Lodge. Built in 1964, the rustic hotel was among the first buildings in Sea Ranch, a utopian development along 10 miles of the rugged coastline. Closed in 2019 for a renovation, the lodge just reopened its dining room and bar with big windows facing the Pacific. They're still working on the guest rooms. Press Democrat | Dwell


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

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