Outdoors, action, adventure

Category: Event Preview

Whale Watch and Intertidal Life Festival at Cabrillo National Monument

A statue of explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo looks out over the San Diego Bay at Cabrillo National Monument.

Cabrillo National Monument is hosting its annual Whale Watch and Intertidal Life Festival on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The 24th annual event celebrates the Pacific gray whales and their return to local waters during their southbound migration to Baja California. The weekend will feature opportunities to watch for the leviathans and the chance to take guided tide-pool walks.

There also will be films; guest speakers sharing their expertise on a variety of marine-related subjects; and exhibitor booths filled with activities and information about whales, tide pools and local oceanic organizations.

All events are included with the regular park entrance fee of $5 per vehicle and $3 for motorcyclists, bicyclists and walk-ins.

Cabrillo National Monument is at the tip of the Point Loma Peninsula, just west of the city of San Diego.

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: A statue of explorer Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo looks out over the San Diego Bay at Cabrillo National Monument. Credit: New Thanyacheron / National Park Service

Ken Block brings Gymkhana racing to U.S. with Irwindale debut


An exciting new style of racing is hitting the U.S. for the first time later this week, when rally-car driver and DC Shoes co-founder Ken Block brings Gymkhana Grid to the Southland with the Ken Block Gymkhana Invitational, Friday and Saturday at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale.

Derived from a Hindi term, Gymkhana is used to describe a sport that tests the ability of competitors to negotiate a pre-designed route boasting a complex design. As a motorsport, it's essentially a cross between drifting and rally-car racing.  Gymkhana courses feature obstacles such as cones, tires, barrels and K-rails, where drivers compete in a head-to-head battle with the goal of negotiating the course as fast as possible with the least amount of course infractions.

The inspiration for creating the competitive race series was born after Gymkhana videos became an Internet sensation, garnering about 90 million viewers to date and making Advertising Age magazine's list of Top 10 all-time viral videos. The above video, "Gymkhana Three, Part 2; Ultimate Playground; l'Autodrome, France," is the latest and has been viewed by more than 18 million people since its Sept. 14 release. The video takes one's breath away, as Block literally drives the tires off his Ford Fiesta.

"Ever since we filmed the first Gymkhana clip, I've been itching to not only get my professional racing friends to be able to come and play with me in this incredibly fun, sideways and technical motorsport, but also to make it possible for amateur drivers to participate, too," Block said. "And Gymkhana Grid does exactly that."

Toyota Speedway gates open at 10 a.m. both days, with practice and qualifying rounds on Friday and practice and head-to-head elimination rounds Saturday (a complete event time schedule is available here).

A two-day ticket is $30 and a Saturday-only ticket is $25. Both can be purchased online (which includes an "early-buyer" discount) or at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale.

-- Kelly Burgess

Video: Ken Block's "Gymkhana Three, Part 2; Ultimate Playground; l'Autodrome, France." Credit: YouTube

Ski Dazzle opens Thursday at L.A. Convention Center

A snowboarder glides through fresh powder at Big Bear's Snow Summit ski resort.

Ski Dazzle makes its return to Southern California, opening Thursday and running through Sunday at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

The annual ski and snowboard consumer event will feature more than 275 exhibitors showcasing equipment and resort information.

There will also be daily activities, including ski and snowboard lessons, contests and seminars, cooking demos, a climbing wall and skateboard and BMX Vert ramp shows.

Event hours are 4 to 11 p.m. Thursday and Friday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday; and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.

Adult admission is $18; children ages 6 to 12 are $5; and those younger than 6 are free.

Once inside, paid adult tickets can be exchanged for a one-day lift ticket coupon to either Snow Summit or Bear Mountain resorts (certain restrictions and blackout dates apply).

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: A snowboarder glides through fresh powder at Big Bear's Snow Summit ski resort. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

Veteran angler Steve Carson hosting free fishing seminar Nov. 29 and 30 at Sport Chalet

Carson big yellow vertical Veteran angler Steve Carson, whose Irvine Lake fishing reports appear weekly in Outposts, will be hosting a sport fishing seminar from 6 to 8 p.m. on Nov. 29 at Sport Chalet in Marina del Rey and Nov. 30 at the Torrance Sport Chalet.

Carson will be sharing tips on how to catch more and bigger fish -- and have more fun doing it -- in Southern California, Alaska, Mexico and elsewhere, covering freshwater and saltwater fish with emphasis on the current hot local trout bite at Irvine Lake and other urban trout destinations. Carson will also discuss teaching kids to fish, and how to hopefully keep their interest up while fishing.

Carson, Penn Fishing University program director, has an impressive resume. He's ranked in the top 10 in the world among International Game Fish Assn. membership for the most different species of fish (235) caught on rod and reel; he was named one of the "Top 30 anglers in the West" by Western Outdoors magazine in 2006 and was inducted into the California Outdoors Hall of Fame in 2010. Carson is also a radio personality; outdoors writer; pro staffer for Penn, Rapala, Luhr Jensen, Berkley and Flambeau (to name a few); and tournament director for the Berkley Alaska Grand Slam, Lake Oroville Open Bass tournament and Penn International Baja Grand Slam tournament.

There will also be a prize drawing, with the chance to win a pair of admission passes and boat rental at Irvine Lake as well as additional prizes from Rapala, Berkley and others.

Admission to both seminars is free, but attendees are advised to arrive early as seating is limited. The Marina del Rey Sport Chalet is in the Via Marina Marketplace, 13455 Maxella Ave.; the Torrance store is located at 21305 Hawthorne Blvd.

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: Angler Steve Carson will be hosting free sport fishing seminars at Sport Chalet locations in Marina del Rey and Torrance. Credit: Steve Carson

Docent-led sandhill crane tours begin at Woodbridge Ecological Reserve

Cranes Birding enthusiasts may want to register for one of the sandhill crane wetlands tours taking place at the Woodbridge Ecological Reserve (a.k.a. Isenberg Sandhill Crane Reserve) near Lodi.

Scheduled for two or three weekends each month from October through February, the docent-led tours are the only way to access some of the prime viewing areas at the reserve where the large birds migrate for the winter.

The Department of Fish and Game tours begin about an hour before sunset at the South Site and usually last for 2 1/2 hours.

"The greater sandhill cranes are a threatened but stable bird population in the state," said DFG Tour Program Supervisor David Moore. "Wetland tour visitors often comment on their large size and red crown, their beauty in flight, their trumpeting calls and interesting interactive behaviors."

The popular tours are expected to offer better viewing opportunities thanks to some habitat enhancements and structural improvement projects recently completed by the DFG, including a new bird-viewing blind that allows for 360-degree viewing.

An $8-per-person donation is requested, and pre-registration is required as each tour is limited to 30 people. A nice feature is that the DFG website's registration page shows if a certain date is full and, if not, how many spots are available. Tours through November are currently full -- a registration window will open approximately six weeks before each month's tour.

Lodi will be holding the 13th annual Sandhill Crane Festival Nov. 5-7. A separate, expanded tour schedule will be offered those dates.

Greater sandhill cranes, one of the state's largest birds -- about 5 feet tall and with a wingspan up to 7 feet -- are considered a threatened species; an estimated 7,000 are left in California.

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: Sandhill cranes glide in for a landing. Credit: Brian Vander Brug / Los Angeles Times

Saturday is California Coastal Cleanup Day

CCD10_Ad_Shovel_4x6_Color_M The annual California Coastal Cleanup Day is Saturday and volunteers are invited to lend a hand picking up debris at the state's beaches, inland shorelines and neighborhoods.

Scheduled for 9 a.m. to noon at numerous locations statewide, including at least 60 sites in Los Angeles County, this is California's largest volunteer event.

Last year, more than 80,600 volunteers worked together to collect more than 1.3 million pounds of trash and recyclables from beaches, lakes and waterways.

Volunteers should pre-register with a local coordinator to participate (Los Angeles County registration is being handled via Heal the Bay). Participants should plan on wearing sturdy shoes and bringing a hat, gloves and sunscreen, and are encouraged to provide their own container -- such as a reusable bucket or bag -- for collecting trash.

"Coastal Cleanup Day has been incredibly successful at removing trash from our beaches and waterways, but in order to achieve this success, the Coastal Commission has had to provide hundreds of thousands of single-use, disposable items for our volunteers to use," said Eben Schwartz, Statewide Director of Coastal Cleanup Day. "It’s time for the Cleanup to make every effort to become a zero waste event."

Sponsored by the California Coastal Commission, other organizations helping coordinate the cleanups include Heal the Bay and the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium.

When combined with the International Coastal Cleanup, organized by Ocean Conservancy and taking place on the same day, California Coastal Cleanup Day is part of one of the largest worldwide single-day volunteer events.

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: Poster announcing this year's California Coastal Cleanup Day. Credit: California Coastal Commission

Entries welcome for Yellowstone Fall Photo Festival


Shutterbugs of all types are invited to submit photos taken for the annual Yellowstone Fall Photo Festival, taking place Sept. 22 at Yellowstone National Park.

All submissions, vacation snapshots or pro photos, are welcome as long as they were taken in the Greater Yellowstone area.

Photographers may bring up to 25 digital images on a thumb drive or a photo CD and are asked to spend no more than five minutes narrating the story behind their photos.

The festival presentation will be at 7 p.m. Sept. 22 in the Community Room of the West Yellowstone Visitor Information Center and is open to the public.

With no judging or prizes, the evening will be very casual and reminiscent of family slide shows, except everyone attending will be there because they want to be.

Those interested in participating should contact Rich Jehle at (307) 344-2840 or by e-mail for more information and to register. Registration deadline is 5 p.m. Monday, Sept. 20.

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: The sun sets by Old Faithful geyser in Yellowstone National Park. Credit: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times

Duo ready to set out on 125-mile 'Hike for Survival'

Thomas Coyne and Ky Furneaux prepare to start a fire.

Wilderness survival expert Thomas Coyne and international stuntwoman Ky Furneaux won't be sitting down to watch the season premiere of "Survivor: Nicaragua" Wednesday on CBS.

Instead, they are scheduled to be setting out on a survival adventure of their own, tackling approximately 125 miles of wilderness from the Sierra Nevada in central California to the Mojave Desert carrying little more than pocket knives and packs filled with cameras and other technical gear.

"From the moment we wake up till the moment we go to sleep, we will be focused on obtaining fire, water, food, medicine and shelter," said Coyne, founder of the Survival Training School of California. "We will do this while hiking from one point to another."

Coyne and Furneaux are planning to each carry small point-of-view cameras as well as high-definition hand-held video cameras to capture every step of their "Hike for Survival" expedition.

"In my line of work, I face extreme challenges every day," Furneaux said. "But this is different. It is about endurance and the power of both the mind and body. It will be one of the hardest things I've ever done." Furneaux, an international stuntwoman based in Hollywood, will next appear in the feature films "Thor" and "Tron: Legacy" and is working on "Pirates of the Caribbean 4: On Stranger Tides."

The actual list of what they are to be carrying is a bit more extensive than a pocket knife, but not by much, and doesn't include anything to eat or drink.

Continue reading »

USODA West Coast Championships youth regatta Saturday and Sunday in Marina del Rey


More than 60 junior sailors ages 8 to 15 will be in Marina del Rey this weekend for the United States Optimist Dinghy Assn. West Coast Championships. The event, hosted by and held at the California Yacht Club, takes place Saturday and Sunday beginning at noon and features top youth sailors competing for the title of West Coast Champion -- as well as for the opportunity to qualify for the U.S. National Team Trials in April in San Francisco -- in the under-16 category of the competition.

Open to all Optimist sailors, the event features a multiple-race format in which the young mariners will take part in as many as 12 races over two days (weather permitting), with the low-point total determining the winner.

There will be two separate groups: Green Fleet for the less experienced sailors, with racing inside the protected harbor; and Championship Fleet for the veterans, featuring ocean sailing in Santa Monica Bay about a mile northwest of the Marina del Rey breakwater.

Although most of the sailors hail from California, the field is likely to include competitors from Oregon, Washington and beyond -- the current entry list includes four U.S. National Team members, three International Team members, plus the 2009 West Coast Champion and this year's Pacific Coast Champion, 13-year-old Cooper Weitz of Marina del Rey, returning to defend his title.

The California Yacht Club is located at 4469 Admiralty Way in Marina del Rey.

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: Competitors at the 2009 USODA West Coast Championships. Credit: Peter Abraham

Supergirl Jam offers up snowboarding, skateboarding and inline skating Sunday at Venice Beach

Calgary's Leanne Pelosi rides the rail in the 2009 Supergirl Jam Snowboard Rail Jam contest in Venice Beach.

Venice Beach will be the site Sunday for the Supergirl Jam, the next event of the 2010 Supergirl Jam series, with top female skateboarders, inline skaters and snowboarders (yes, snowboarders) competing for a portion of the $36,000 total prize purse.

Athletes will hit the slopes, made possible by 80,000 pounds of man-made snow being brought to the beach, to compete in the snowboarding rail jam. Two-time defending champion Laurie Currier will be on hand to defend her title, facing other top boarders -- including former event medalists Chanelle Sladics and Leanne Pelosi -- determined to thwart a three-peat.

In addition to snowboarding, the event will feature top skateboarding and inline skating pros competing on a custom-built street course designed to challenge their board and rail skills.

This year's Supergirl Jam Skateboard Street contest welcomes the return of the 2008 Supergirl Jam skateboard champion, Lauren Perkins, who was injured in 2009 and didn't compete. Perkins will attempt to recapture the title that Amy Caron claimed last year, also facing tough competition in the likes of 2010 X Games medalists Leticia Bufoni and Alexis Slabone.

Continue reading »

Fall Hunting Classic begins Friday at Bass Pro Shops

As the sun sets in the west, a couple of hunters in a field look for the last flight of dove.

The annual Fall Hunting Classic, a series of hunting-related seminars, workshops and activities, begins this Friday at Bass Pro Shops.

The Rancho Cucamonga store is expecting more than 100,000 visitors over the course of the 17-day event, which concludes Sunday, Aug. 22.

"The Bass Pro Shops Fall Classic is a huge event and hunters and other outdoor sportsmen and women look forward to it all year long," said Bass Pro Shops spokeswoman Katie Mitchell. "Outdoor enthusiasts will be able to learn the secret techniques and strategies used by professionals to gain a better advantage in the field, see all the latest products and attend workshops and seminars."

Events planned include seminars and workshops hosted by industry pros, contests, binocular trade-ins, ATV test drives and myriad activities for children.

"I’ve heard it said that if you don’t have a fishing rod in the hands of a youngster by the time they are 8 years old, the chances of getting them to go fishing later in life diminishes dramatically," added Mitchell. "I would think the same applies to getting them introduced to hunting and shooting sports."

A complete schedule is available on the store website.

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: As the sun sets in the west, a couple of hunters in a field look for the last flight of dove. Credit: George Wilhelm / Los Angeles Times

DFG offers clinic on first aid for hunting dogs

A hunting dog with ducks on a fence. The California Department of Fish and Game is offering a clinic on first aid for hunting dogs on Aug. 7. The class will be held at Coyote Valley Sporting Clays in Morgan Hill from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is open to all skill levels.

Co-sponsored by the Pacific Coast Hunter Education Assn., the clinic is part of the DFG's Advanced Hunter Education Program. The guest speaker will be Dr. Juliana Meadows, from the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, who will discuss topics including bandaging techniques, cuts, lacerations and broken bones, insect bites and allergies, heat and cold exhaustion and what basic items should be carried in a canine first-aid kit.

The cost to attend is $45, with a barbecue lunch available for an additional $10. Those 16 or younger will be admitted free of charge but must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Space is limited to 50 people, so those interested in participating should register soon.

For more information, e-mail or call DFG Lt. Dan Lehman: (916) 358-4356.

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: A hunting dog with ducks on a fence. Credit: Tyler Baskfield / Colorado Division of Wildlife


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About the Bloggers
Outposts' primary contributor is Kelly Burgess.