Go Outside and Play

By Nancy D. Lackey Shaffer

Photo by Michael Montano


he air is softer, corn and peaches are on market stands and green grass, purple lupin and yellow mustard are bringing some much-needed cheer and color to our charred hillsides — summer is on its way in Ventura County! And there’s no better time than now to get out there and have some fun in the sun . . . before the mercury really starts to rise, and despite the infamous “June gloom” that can put a damper on an otherwise glorious day.

When the coast is overcast, go a few miles offshore to leave the fog and, perhaps, your worries behind and enter a pristine watery wilderness. It’s a world free divers have gotten to know intimately. This unique sport, where participants go underwater — sometimes for several minutes at several feet — while holding their breath, gives entrée into the marine environment in a way scuba diving and snorkeling cannot. You’ll learn in our cover story that there’s a quietness and stillness to free diving. In that relaxed state, divers can get up close and personal with the creatures of the deep. It’s not an easy sport, or one that can be undertaken without training, but the rewards for those who take the plunge are great.

There’s fun to be had on land, too. Head inland to take advantage of the vast trail networks that stretch for miles in the hillsides of Camarillo, Thousand Oaks and Ojai. The latter is where you’ll find Stacy and Ian Potter, outdoor enthusiasts who have built a business doing what they love: exploring everything the Los Padres National Forest and the Topatopa Mountains have to offer. Trails By Potter, profiled this month, offers guided hikes, bike rides and mountain climbing, and will happily customize every trip to their customers’ interest and fitness level. Whether you want pedal-powered wine tasting or a challenging multipitch climb up an 80-foot rock face, Stacy and Ian can plan an adventure of a lifetime. And by the way – Stacy used to play pro tennis, so she can give you some pointers on the court, too.

Feel like getting out of town? South of the border — just south of it, in Tecate, Baja California — lies Rancho La Puerta, a renowned health spa and eco-resort explored in our travel feature. Groundbreaking in its early days for treating the human body as a temple and advocating for a healthier, more active lifestyle, its reputation has only grown as its range of services – which include yoga, meditation, farm-to-table cooking classes, art classes, sound healing, water shiatsu and much more — have expanded. Contemplate your fitness goals on 4,000 beautiful acres at the foot of Mount Kuchumaa, where nature is a nurturing presence.

By land, by sea, in town or out, en plein air adventures await. Summer’s finally here — it’s time to get outdoors and enjoy every minute of it!


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