To Understand America’s Small Towns, Ask About Their Swimming Holes

Under a Waterfall or Inside an Old Quarry, These DIY Pools Are a Refreshing Way to Connect With Simple Pleasures of the Past

Consider the swimming hole. It lacks the majesty of an ocean or the pedigree of a lake—forget about boating or surfing. A swimming hole is by its very nature utilitarian. It’s a hole. Filled with water. To swim in. Unlike its grander cousins, a swimming hole doesn’t exist on its own and doesn’t fulfill swimming hole-ness until someone actually gets in there and swims.

Swimming holes were born of necessity at a time when fabricated pools didn’t exist in most of America. Just before the turn of the 20th century, public …

Bon Voyage, Sport Chalet

Southern California's Good-Natured Sports Chain Will Be Missed, Meat Locker Dive Shop and All

When news broke that the Sport Chalet chain of stores was closing, it might have sounded to you like just another failure in a retail sector—sporting goods—that has seen more …

Why We Need More Latinos to Hit the Trails

State and National Parks Won't Survive Unless a Diverse Cross Section of Americans Steps Up to Protect Them

During my more than 30-year career as a California state park ranger, I was known as the diversity guy because I was one of the few Latinos to wear the …

Painting En Plein Air

A Group of Visual Artists Comes Together in the Wide-Open Expanses of Joshua Tree


The High Desert Plein Air Artists is an informal group that meets the third Saturday of the month at various locations in and around Joshua Tree National Park.

We …

Seniors Belong on Playgrounds

For Many Southern Californians, the Secret to Eternal Youth Lies in Constant Play

Beth Molnar of Pasadena has been fascinated with figure skating since she was a child. She returned to the sport seriously at 30 and now, at 66, is a regular …

Angelenos, Meet Your Wildlife Neighbors

Understanding Our Natural World Can Make A Better Human Community, Too

The first thing you notice when you step out of your car in the dusty parking lot is that your cell phone has no reception. The second thing you notice …