Daily news from Monterey County Weekly

ETC. Photo of the day by Jeanne Barrié. Up close, the jagged teeth of a fern leaf found at Jacks Peak in Monterey give the typically innocuous plant a more malevolent personality. Submit your best horizontal photos. (Please include the location where the photo was taken in the caption.)

Going camping this fall? Here are some tips on what and how to eat.

Good afternoon. 

Christopher Neely here, enjoying the blue skies and warm weather that define Monterey County’s coast during late September and into October.

I thrive off the energy of busy streets, sidewalks and restaurants, but locals' summer is a nice return on investment for navigating quotidian tasks through the height and hype of tourism season. It does feel sweeter that locals' summer comes with objectively more beautiful and pleasant weather than tourists' summer.

What to do with all this sunshine and relatively open roads? Take advantage of where we live! This, for me, means going camping and enjoying the unparalleled natural beauty of Monterey County.

For the paper this week, I wrote a feature on how best to dine among the trees, in which I tapped into the wisdom of Jacqui Bergner, a former coordinator with the Ventana Wilderness Alliance who colleagues considered a camping food wizard. Bergner was gracious enough to offer her Backcountry Burrito recipe, which is included in the paper, as well as some cardinal rules around clean-up and which foods are built to last.

This is not a science, of course, and I am a journalist, so I relied on the wisdom and perspective of those more experienced than myself to guide the piece. I also turned to the Big Sur Land Trust for some guidance and they offered some wonderful ideas that I'm certainly implementing on my next camping trip.

Corinne Calhoun, youth outdoor programs manager, tells me she likes to make meals ahead of time, package them in bags and then heat them up in hot water. "Throw an Indian curry meal over 5-minute couscous and you’re golden! Pro tip: make the couscous in water with bouillon cubes. Great two person meal in a bag!"

Beth Febus, conservation projects manager likes to do breakfast tacos with a few ingredients like eggs, salsa and black beans, or fancy s'mores, with Nutella or peanut butter cups subbed in for chocolate.

"My advice would be to keep it simple," Febus says. "I plan all breakfasts and dinners in advance to make sure we have enough food, and for lunches we just snack or make sandwiches."

Ashley Gora Owens, development manager, offers a depth of wisdom that can only be obtained by experience. "The most important thing to me is not to eat any food that your body isn’t already used to so that you don’t end up with an upset stomach—to be avoided at all costs when camping," Gora Owens says. "Bring plenty of water and/or ensure you have water treatment tablets plus a water source nearby."

And before you head into the forest ready to dine like a backcountry royal, development coordinator Jose Carlos Navarro Solis asks us to be aware of the amount of plastic we might bring into the wilderness.

"I backpacked for the first time when I was 30. … in the Sierras. The satellite train passed above us in the night sky. We wondered about the path of humanity," Navarro Solis says. "I reflected on us carrying plastic backpacks full of conveniently plastic-wrapped foods, sleeping in plastic tents and in sleeping bags made of plastic. We have selfishly given up creativity and common sense for plastics. Is there a way to enjoy the furthest corners of nature without the aid of plastics?"

If you have any pro-tips when it comes to wilderness cuisine, I'd love to hear about them through email.

-Christopher Neely, staff writer, chris@mcweekly.com 

 
BY THE NUMBERS

California’s eviction moratorium might be ending today, but renters impacted by the pandemic can still apply for the state’s Emergency Rental Assistance. As of Sept. 28, an estimated $12 million in state and federal rent and utility relief had been distributed to Monterey County Residents, according to United Way of Monterey County.

LATEST LOCAL NEWS

The eviction moratorium finally comes to an end, but renters can still seek protection. There were no more reprieves in Sacramento for California’s Covid-19 eviction moratorium earlier this month, after legislators extended it twice in January and June. But there are still ways for renters to get help.

Monterey’s Hyatt Regency bar and lounge upholds a jazzy tradition. The bar remains the place to see and be seen during Jazz Fest. Here’s what the scene was like this past Saturday night.

A P.G. woman scales a 100-year-old American Elm in Pacific Grove’s Jewell Park today to save it from the axe. “I’d feel like crap if I didn’t,” says Rebecca Lee from her perch about 20 feet up the tree. Neighbors are scrambling to get a court order to stop the city from removing the 40-foot tree.

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LOCAL INSPIRATION

LOCAL INSPIRATION of the day. Maria Best, a Salinas native, first encountered the concept when she picked up a book at the Carmel library, “Forest Bathing: How Trees Can Help You Find Health and Happiness,” by Dr. Qing Li, a Japanese medical doctor considered the world’s expert in forest medicine. “All of a sudden I had this revelation,” Best says. Newly obsessed, she set out to become a certified forest therapy guide, but the training workshops – in far-flung, often exotic locales – were too cost-prohibitive. But then Covid hit and all those classes moved online, and she jumped at the opportunity. Best leads a forest bathing experience tonight, Sept. 30, from 5:30-7pm in Toro ParkSubmit your Local Inspiration (digital art, music, multimedia, video, etc.; please include the medium you’ve used, and note when and where it was created).

Country icon Marty Stuart is bringing his Fabulous Superlatives to town. Stuart is coming to the Sunset Center tonight to play a sold out show. The most endearing thing about Stuart is that even though he’s a country music institution himself, he remains a huge country fan, and a historian of the genre.

Monterey’s beloved bookstore is testing out a brand-new event in a brand-new location. The Monterey Poetry Festival starts tomorrow, Oct. 1 and runs through the weekend, featuring 20 local poets and a healthy dose of political activism.

Give a little support. Suicide Prevention Service of the Central Coast is recruiting volunteers in the tri-county area (Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz) for its suicide crisis line fall training. No experience required. Zoom classes begin tomorrow, Oct. 1.

BEST OF MONTEREY BAY® REAL ESTATE

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realestate.montereycountyweekly.com

  
IN CONTEXT

Youth vaping declined sharply for the second year, new data shows. Even with the drop, the survey found that more than 2 million high school and middle school students were currently using e-cigarettes.
- The New York Times, Sept. 30. 2021

The Great Reboot. How global supply chains are falling out of fashion. 
- Reuters, Sept. 29. 2021

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HELPFUL DISTRACTIONS

Florida Man demonstrates: How to deal with an alligator on your lawn.

Permanently startled. This rescue cat has become famous on social media because of his expressive face.

We welcome your tips, comments and feedback. 

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