Goat Trails

Jade Cove and the Conscious Unconscious

A view of the South Cove from the top of the trail.

February 2013. I am freediving in water the color of the Ring Nebula. My body slinks through a labyrinth of boulders. My mind is lost among a mosaic of algae, sponges, limpets and barnacles. It is seeking, seeking, seeking jade’s smooth and lustrous wink.

Lost and Found: Sea to Summit on Big Sur’s Cone Peak

Like all climbs from the ocean side of Big Sur, the payoffs are immediate and breathtaking.

It’s a beautiful Christmas morning. At roughly 8:30 am, I park my car across Highway 1 from the Kirk Creek Campground, 45 miles south of Big Sur Valley. High overhead lurks the hidden marble summit of Cone Peak.

Robert Louis Stevenson’s California

Although he only spent one year here, it is difficult to gauge which made more of an impression on the other, California on Stevenson or he on the state.

The Horrors of the Summit Tunnel

The history of Wrights Tunnel in the Santa Cruz Mountains—once the second longest railroad tunnel in California—is a tale of death, greed and bigotry.

Rain Sorcery: A Wyrd Hike with Newts

On a witchy, late November morning, I set out in a steady rainstorm from Waddell Beach. My plan was to hike to the waterfalls—Berry Creek, Silver and Golden—in Big Basin Redwoods State Park and witness the season’s first heavy rain roar through the trio of cataracts.

Harbin Hot Springs and the Ten Thousand Fragments of Brahma

Goat Trails

Story and photos by Ryan Masters

Nov. 19, 2014—When surrounded by penises you realize that each one is unique. Not unique like the divine delicacy of a snowflake—grotesquely unique like the melting nose of a waxen clown. But still unique.

Natural History and Pagan Rituals Under a Frost Moon

The moon rises over the East Side on Nov. 6, 2014, as seen from the Santa Cruz harbormouth. Ryan Masters photo.

In this week's Goat Trails Ryan Masters goes on a moon walk with the Museum of Natural History and celebrates a pagan ritual—on the same beach.

SF Giants World Series Victory Parade

Giants manager Bruce Bochy with the World Series trophy

Oct. 31, 2014—I am standing in the rain at the corner of McAllister and Hyde in San Francisco surrounded by my people—that is to say, hundreds of thousands of Giants fans. We are watching an intrepid drunkard. He wears a floppy orange hat that is cleverly constructed to resemble a squid eating his head and clambering up a lamppost. He proceeds to bait a growing posse of cops in the street below. We find this infinitely amusing because we are cold, wet and bored.

Bodysurfing: The Ecstatic Motion

Hawaiian bodysurfing legend Mark Cunningham put on a clinic during the first heat of the 30th Annual Santa Cruz Bodysurfing Championship. Ryan Masters photo.

An encounter with Mark Cunningham—and the mystic poet Rumi—at the 30th Annual Santa Cruz Bodysurfing Championships.

The Great White Redwood

The Great White Redwood in the Byrne-Milliron Forest outside Coralitos. Ryan Masters photo.

Ryan Masters communes with one of the few old-growth redwoods in the southern Santa Cruz Mountains.