It’s that time of year again! Once again, our partners at REI will shut their doors on Black Friday, the most infamous day of American consumerism, in an effort to encourage everyone to Opt Outside instead.

We don’t have to be asked twice over here at Sempervirens Fund. We’re ALWAYS ready to get out into the Santa Cruz Mountains and explore. So how do you want to opt outside? Here are three fantastic ways for you to celebrate the season outdoors with our friends over at the Portola and Castle Rock Foundation.

Portola and Castle Rock Foundation Hikes


Hike #1: Portola Redwoods State Park

When: 8:45 a.m. to noon; 11/24/17
Where: Portola Redwoods State Park Visitors Center
Bring:  Water, snacks, boots or good shoes, layers of clothes.

Join PCRF Board Member Eric Schmidt for an approximately 3-hour moderate hike on the Slate Creek trail. Depending on the group we’ll see how far we go. We will do a loop if time permits, or just out and back. Come enjoy the back-country redwoods of Portola.


Hike #2: Castle Rock State Park – Saratoga Gap

When: 9:00 a.m.; 11/24/17
Where: Saratoga Gap parking lot
Bring:  Water, snacks, boots or good shoes, layers of clothes.

Ex-Castle Rock Ranger and PCRF Board member Miles Standish will lead this hike. First learn about Saratoga Gap (school, toll gate, the Saratoga Toll Road). Then the group will drive down to Oil Creek (the beginning of the Achistaca Trail) and hike down the Skyline-to-the-Sea Trail to Red Mountain and cross over Highway 9. Here, Miles will talk about how the logging industry used the ridge road, the proposed Hoe subdivision, the old corral, and how it was used by a concessionaire from Big Basin. The hike will continue down the Bay Laurel Trail (not on any map) to the Saratoga Toll Road, to learn its history before returning to the cars. The whole trip will be less than three miles.


Hike #3: Castle Rock State Park – Main Parking Lot

When: 10 a.m.; 11/24/17
Where: Castle Rock State Park parking lot
Bring: Water, snacks, boots or good shoes, layers of clothes

Join PCRF Board Member Mujtaba Ghouse for this hike down the Saratoga Gap trail to sweeping views of the San Lorenzo valley and beyond. We’ll talk about the history of the area, from Ohlone times through the attempts at farming here, until the present day. The views are often spectacular, extending to the Monterey Peninsula on a clear day! The hike is about 3 miles.


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