By Land and By Sea

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June Gloom is in full force right now, but I hope it is not dampening anyone’s summertime spirits. I, personally, am grateful for the clouds and marine layer which continue to add moisture to a landscape that was parched more often than not over the last decade. And I have not forgotten how the intense heat and humidity made the last few summers less comfortable than I might have preferred. We’ll have plenty of sunshine and warmer weather eventually, no doubt, and in the meantime I’m reveling in the long days and cooler temperatures.

One great place to do that is Ventura Ranch KOA Holiday. Technically a campground, this 76-acre wooded wonderland at the feet of the Topatopa Mountains and situated alongside Santa Paula Creek is way more than a spot to pitch your tent. In the hands of the creative and energetic owner, Scott Cory, it has become Ventura County’s own answer to the glamping experience, with lovely cabins, safari-style tents, covered wagons and other interesting and, in some cases, luxurious accommodations. In addition, there’s a pool, activities galore and the pièce de résistance: a brilliantly designed, exceptionally safe, state-of-the-art zipline and ropes course. We dish on all the deets in About Town.

For those who prefer their adventures seaside, allow me to present the Hokuloa Outrigger Canoe Club. Founded in 1987, it has grown to include dozens of paddlers and earned a reputation as one of the fiercest competitors in the Southern California Outrigger Racing Association. Speed and technique have propelled the club to the top of its game…but it’s the camaraderie, friendship and love of the ocean that have been truly rewarding for its members. After learning about Hokuloa in our Cover Story, you just might find yourself inspired to take up the sport yourself.

Another kind of canoe has been the inspiration for Alan Salazar. A member of the Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians, he began educating himself about his ancestry — reading whatever he could find, studying the archeology and, most importantly, talking to tribal elders. He became a well-known storyteller and something of an authority on Chumash and Tataviam culture — which is why in 1997, when Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History staff began looking for people to revive the art of building Chumash plank canoes, or tomols, Salazar was among the first people they contacted. He’s been building and paddling tomols ever since. In fact, he just began working on a new one, specifically for the Barbareño/Ventureño Band of Mission Indians, and recently was the subject of a documentary made by Patagonia Films — which, incidentally, will be screened in Ventura on June 15. Ventana Monthly had the chance to interview Salazar about his Native heritage, building tomols, paddling from the mainland to the Channel Islands and more — check out what he has to say
in Conversation.

I hope this month’s issue has given you some ideas for new ways to explore the great outdoors of Ventura County. Our natural environment is splendid and varied, by land and by sea. Rest assured, the sun will shine again — but in these parts, even a cloudy day is a reason to rejoice.

– Nancy D. Lackey Shaffer

nshaffer@timeslocalmedia.com