Miranda Weiss (read her book, watch her video)

Speaking of nature writing, my friend and former UWP colleague Miranda Weiss’s book, Tide Feather Snow has just been published (and is making its way to bookstores as we speak). I’ve been reading her vivid and powerful nature writings for years. Check out her her idiosyncratic and darkly lit book promo video. This makes me wish I had filmed a YouTube spot for The Cactus Eaters, perhaps showing some dumb guy eating a cactus (although someone has already beaten me to it. As you probably know, there is a widely circulated video of a weirdo — no relation to me — eating a cactus after putting some kind of sauce all over it.) http://cactuseaters.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default

Through-hike the PMT

Considering that hiking season is just beginning, I just wanted to put in another plug for the PMT — the Pine Mountain Trail, which took me through the wilds of Eastern Kentucky a few months back. Here’s my story about my experience on the trail. This trail is magnificent (and, apparently, it is better marked these days.) If you have a chance to hike this thing, you should — and afterwards, you should definitely stop over at Whitesburg, Kentucky. The people are very friendly out there (although I can’t recommend the bourbon-flavored beer.) http://cactuseaters.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default

More writing and hiking in Santa Cruz

I thoroughly enjoyed the writing/hiking Pogonip exploration last week — and, if you’re interested, you have two more chances to write and hike in the woods. The writer Patricia Vecchione and the artist Tom Killion will soon lead hikes of their own into the forest. Check out Bookshop Santa Cruz’s website for more details. Also, stay tuned to this blog for a few other observations and reading recommendations related to the Pogonip walk. http://cactuseaters.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default

Cactuseaters readers in the news! (updated)

Here at long last is that digest I was talking about, highlighting you, the readers, your recent projects and your interests. I will continue to update this.-Cactuseaters readers in the news, volume one: One of our readers, William Jacobs, was just voted one of the “least powerful people in Seattle.” Bill Jacobs also alerted me to the journalism, blogs and and recent books by Novella Carpenter, who runs an urban farm that I would like to visit someday. Carpenter is the author of Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer, which will be published by Penguin this June. And this just in from reader Mike Orlando:, who is feeling the pull of altruism and reaching out to help others. “How many lawyers get to spend their afternoons helping a 13 year old and his family raise money to build schools for Kenyan orphans? This is precisely the question I…

Wheezing my way across the Golden Gate Bridge …

Don’t be alarmed if you see a guy in a black Nike hat wheezing his way across the Golden Gate Bridge and up into the Marin Headlands tomorrow (unless I pass out along the way.) Every year I do some sort of outlandish and very long birthday trail run or hike, and this year will be no exception. This will also be my first significant training run before the San Francisco Marathon, which I am planning on running a second time. (By the way, please don’t honk if you see me. I startle very easily.) http://cactuseaters.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default

Extra certificates for hike survivors

Also — one or two of you vanished out of the Pogonip before I could get you your “hike survivor” certificates. (pictured above.) If so, shoot me an email and I will get you a hard copy one way or the other. I might send a small pile of them over to Bookshop Santa Cruz so you can just pick them up. http://cactuseaters.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default

The Green Loop! (map coming soon.)

Also in honor of Earth Day, I wanted to talk about a great all-day hike that begins and ends in downtown Santa Cruz (or at the Harvey West industrial area) and will leave your calves sore for about a week. I guarantee that you will see redtail hawks, you will probably see bobcats and you might even catch a glimpse of a mountain lion. Various folks at our recent Pogonip “Write and Hike” extravaganza asked about this so I will try to throw together a very rough map as soon as I can and put it up on the blog. Essentially it starts at the Pogonip, includes the open space area over UC Santa Cruz, crosses Highway 9, goes straight into the Gray Whale Ranch area, traverses through Wilder Ranch and finally winds up in downtown Santa Cruz. This is almost all woodlands and rolling hills, with only a few…

Writing and hiking in the Pogonip (updated.)

The Santa Cruz Sentinel ran an article about our recent writing/hiking adventure in the spectacular Pogonip — an open-space area where nature is asserting itself after years of mistreatment. (These days, flourishing redwoods are kicking down the same lime kilns that burned through most of the old-growth timber in the area.) It was great to hear from so many talented people who described themselves as “non-writers” but read breathtaking descriptions of the natural world. It was even more impressive when you think about the fact that they wrote these observations right on the spot while walking through the forest and the meadow. We didn’t see any banana slugs or coyotes –or mountain lions — but we crossed streams, meandered through ferns, climbed a hill, enjoyed ocean views and had a peaceful picnic near the old building where they filmed the climactic vampire battle in “The Lost Boys.” Also: during the…