Tag Archives: Aliso Creek

Trash To Treasure


Have you ever heard the saying “One Man’s Trash Is Another Man’s Treasure”?  I haven’t come across that statement in a while but it was the first thing that came to mind after visiting Aliso Beach two consecutive weekends in a scene representing trash to treasure.

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Aliso Beach Debris from storm runoff.

We have experienced a rainy season for the record books.  I hate to say it but rain and Southern California are like an oxymoron most seasons.  This winter has proven to be a very memorable one for weather, rain and snow.  While it’s anyone’s guess as to whether or not the wet season is over, the snow pack has been measured well over 100% of normal, California dams have been stressed to near breaking points and roads have been washed away with cars overcome by torrents of water under heavy downpours.  Our local Southern California Beaches, including Aliso Beach, Laguna, are on the receiving end of all the runoff and whatever it carries down stream from storm drains, washes, creeks and rivers.  With significant rain over short periods of time, you can imagine all the things swept down into our ocean and deposited back on our beaches. Plastics, bottles, toys, wrappers, bottle caps, cigarette butts, styrofoam cups, baggies and even dreaded syringes as seen recently in Newport Beach near the River Jetties.  Also ending up on the beach from heavy rain and wind events were leaves, twigs, tree branches, logs and driftwood.  At times it seems like you could take a rake to the top layer of the ocean surface along our coastline, and those logs and branches put wave riders at risk of serious injury.

That first trip to Aliso Beach, there was an unsightly pile of wood and branches just south of the main lifeguard tower.  It was, however, cleared from the beach and shoreline and staged for removal.  This is where the ingenuity of a father spending time with his son transformed the debris from trash to treasure.  I had no doubt the County of Orange, who does a great job of maintaining Aliso Beach, was going to come in and remove the pile of wood.  Probably because of consecutive days of rain, they were unable to get the debris out of there, or they figured they would add to the pile during additional rain events so they could clean up the beach all at once.  It is completely logical to me.  The picture to the left shows the wood all piled up steps from the parking lot and ready to be hauled out of there.  Given that our winters in recent years have not produced much rain, it was somewhat surprising to see a pike of branches and wood like that on the beach.  Some of the branches were substantial, and with all of the trees that came down in South Orange County along the coastline, it really wasn’t any surprise to see that kind and volume of wood deposited on the beach.  I am wondering if the Full Moon Drum Circle group saw that pile of wood.  It would have made for a great night with plenty of wood to keep everyone warm!


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A fort built by a father and son with wood washed to the beach from winter Southern California storms.

While the pile of wood certainly wasn’t hurting anyone, a father and a son went on a building spree.  They took the larger wood pieces and buried them vertically in the sand.  I was surprised that with the girth of the branches that the sand would keep them standing upright.  As far as I know, no one was injured in the evolution of trash to treasure in what I call the making of an Aliso Beach fort.  I have to admire the father.  It takes the ability of a parent to think creatively like a child to entertain a child.  I remember how much I liked forts as a kid, and to be child-like was worthy of my attention and a smile.  In that moment, it felt like all was right in the world and that everything was okay.

The picture below, is the result of a creative father showing his son a good time.  It was cool to think back to my own childhood and how forts at summer camp at home were a big part of my own childhood!  My guess, by the looks of him, is that the little dude had a really good time!  I was truly happy for them and grateful to be under the smiling eyes of Mr. Sun.  Is it summer yet?




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Deep Conversation


A deep conversation ensued after I got a call from Larry Beard, the Aliso Beach hero who plucked a little girl out of Aliso Creek in a move that without question saved her life!  Submerging in the waters of the creek, Larry endangered himself by jumping into these waters and lifting this child from the water before she went under for good.  Knowing how rough these waters are and thinking about what a terrible place that would be for a child that cannot swim, I feel it was by the grace of God and an alert waterman that kept her alive.

Larry was grateful for the write up here on the website to which I responded by congratulating him for making a lasting impact on a young girl’s life.  When she got into a bad situation and the deck of the forces of nature were stacked against her, Larry helped her gain an upper hand.  She lived and that is amazing!   Without Larry a young life would have been taken.  Terrible accident, negligent parents and wrong place at wrong time would not matter.  The finality of a tragic loss of a child like this would render blame or explanation impotent.  No one wants to see a young girl lose her life like that and Larry sprung into action and made sure that the story ended positively.  By all accounts, the young girl is happy, healthy and doing fine.

My talk with Larry was an emotional one for him.  As an adult, husband and father, he understands deeply the connection of parent to child, and he would go to great lengths to protect his own children and family. He told me that it felt really good to be the one that had to spring into action to save this girl.  He told me it was amazing to think how greatly he had impacted this girl’s life in a very challenging and life threatening situation. I told him that with decades in Orange County beach waters, it was amazing that I had not been in a situation that required a rescue before 2012 and that I have rescued 4 total people since then in waters from Laguna Beach to Salt Creek.  I completely understand the gift that is saving someone’s life.  It is magically a blessing.  Larry felt like God had planned for him to be the one that recognized the situation with this girl paving the way for this incredible and yet improbable rescue in the turbulent waters of Aliso Creek.

Speaking about the rescue of this little girl evolved into a conversation about family and people.  Larry said something very profound.  He felt like it was amazing to be called on to act in this potentially deadly situation with this girl pulling her from a sure drowning.  He made a huge impact on me when he said that here he was able to rescue this girl and yet friends and family around him needing rescue were not responding to his help.  I have a lot of experience with this and trying to help people who didn’t want to be helped or weren’t ready to be helped, and absolutely that is heart wrenching and frustrating.  Sometimes people we love and care about, friends or family, aren’t ready to accept help.  You can offer money, treatment or advice, and no matter what you do to help, your interest in helping others out of difficult situations is rejected or falls on deaf ears.  It hurts.  It really does.

I told him that today I sent money to a complete stranger that I had a run in with online on Facebook.  In a Lakers forum, he took exception to me saying that Kobe was done as a player.  I forget what he said to me online but it was vulgar and I did not appreciate it.  I responded with the equally rude and insensitive question asking if he kissed his mother with that mouth.  The shocking reply was that he did not have a mother.  I am not a cold and callous human being so that really got me.  I apologized to him directly and told him that however he had lost his mother I felt for him and that I was sorry.  He too apologized, and so this unlikely friendship was born. Sensing that he was someone experiencing difficulties in his life, I befriended him on Facebook and have been watching his posts. He has appeared very down and expressing hopelessness so I have been encouraging him.  Some of what he said was very dark and I worried about this young dude. Today he asked for money for a bus pass so he could get to work at a new job.  I sent it to him in Ohio via Money Gram because it was an opportunity to help someone that gained my respect with the way he handled my apology.  I, like Larry, believe that we are called upon at times to make a difference in the lives of others.  We all can make a difference and impact people.

What Larry did inspires me.  How he felt about the blessing of being the one called upon to help this girl is simply amazing.  Humans do incredible things for others when they know someone needs help.  What Larry did was an absolute miracle! I don’t know if years from now this child will remember what he did. Her parents were described as being oblivious to what was going on and not aware of how close they were to losing their daughter.  Whatever this girl achieves or becomes in life, Larry Beard helped make her future possible.  He feels really good about that and aware that God called upon him to act, and he did saving a young girl’s life. Her only chance was Larry!

I wrote the original story having heard it from Brennan Clarke who was with Larry when this happened. He was incredibly grateful for the story and I really appreciated this raw and real, deep conversation.  With all of the drama and pettiness in life between people in this day and age, more of these conversations should take place.  We might just find enough common ground in them to actually see similar needs, hopes and dreams that connect us far more than we find ourselves separated from each other today in a chaotic, fast paced, and mixed up world.  Thanks Larry, what a great conversation.  I appreciate being inspired to help people more with your heroic and selfless act of love for this little lady who remains here on earth because you responded the way you did.  Such a great story!



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Parents Beware


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Collapsing walls lining Aliso Creek.

Parents beware of the dangers of Aliso Creek.  If you bring your children to Aliso Beach Park and see the creek furiously unloading into the ocean, it would be wise to keep little ones away from the sand embankments being carved out by the water. As the water cuts through the sand, the walls on each side of the outflow collapse into the rushing water.  The problem is that if you or a child are standing at edge of these walls as they collapse you are going to land in the rough water as it flows violently through to the ocean.  Check out the pictures below with a little explanation of what to look for.  All human beings have a fascination with water and perhaps kid especially.  When Aliso Creek gets going, there is no stopping it until it has unleashed all of the stored up energy and the power of flowing water.  It is incredibly dangerous and I see no need to allow children to be near it when flowing.

From a second account offered to me, the family was completely unaware of the whereabouts of their child.  Larry Beard threw himself into the water to make sure that a drowning child lived to see another day. Struggling to breathe with head submerging beneath the surface, a family would have been making funeral arrangements had Larry not sprung into action. Aliso Creek is a force of nature that is undeniable and it holds potential to claim lives.

As the water rushes down Aliso Creek towards the ocean it is eating away at the sand walls that line it.  This is where people stand watching the power of the rushing water, and if they are not paying attention, they fall into the creek as the place they are standing cracks and falls in.  It is a very dangerous place to be.

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Roaring Rapids of Aliso Creek

Yesterday by comparison to other days was a mild day.  This scene can be 5 times more dangerous than this picture looks but I would wager a bet that no parent would want their child swept into these rapids.  The chances of survival for little ones are really poor.  This makes what Larry did over the weekend all the more incredible.

No one wants their children to have to fight rapids like this at Aliso Creek.  The creek does what it does.  It has one mission, and that is to flow through to the ocean.  It will take out anything in its way.  Rocks, sand, shoreline and people.

I am disturbed by the lack of awareness when it comes to the dangers posed by the creek and the ocean at Aliso Beach.  Very inexperienced people are injecting themselves, their friends and their family members into situations with potential to result in loss of life.  The child that was saved this weekend was going under, and the description that I have been given of this event as seen by several people in the community is absolutely terrifying. Telling parents beware of Aliso Creek is something I wish we didn’t have to do, but the events that occurred with a little girl nearly drowning with parents who were unaware of their child dangerous close to the rushing water, suggests that we do.

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Hump of water at Aliso Creek.

It has been said that the toddler did not know how to swim and she could not have been in a worse position.  Part of me is angry at the parents for allowing a daughter that can’t swim near that creek.  I don’t think it is a stretch to believe that her parents did not know how to swim either.  That makes it even worse.

Parents beware of Aliso Creek.  Turning your back on a child for one second near the edge of Aliso Creek could indeed result in a tragedy and it was proven once again this past weekend.  Good job Larry Beard once again for seeing that a little girl was safely returned to her parents.  It seems to me this was completely unavoidable and I know you jumped in to save this young life knowing full well you could lose your own in the process.  It was a selfless and heroic act!

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Life Saver


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Little girl saved at Aliso Creek in South Laguna Beach.

A life saver, hero, and Good Samaritan are fitting labels that come to mind when a human beings put their own lives on the line to save another.  This past weekend, a near tragic event occurred at Aliso Creek with a little girl sinking into Aliso Creek and finding herself in a deadly position.  If it weren’t for the help of photographer Larry Beard and Brennan Clarke, a family would have lost a precious child.  It is interesting to note that Brennan in years previous was a big part of a collaborative effort with lifeguards saving a woman who was dragged out to sea in 15 foot waves at Aliso Beach.  When you are around the ocean daily, dangers escalate quickly and the inexperienced often find themselves in the worst of conditions.  There are a lot of people in the San Clemente, Dana Point, South Laguna and Laguna beach areas that routinely offer assistance to waders, swimmers, body surfers and wave riders when they are in trouble, and I am proud to be a part of this community and know these amazing people.

This is Brennan describing the near tragedy (with small grammar corrections by me ) in a Facebook Message to me:

“So Larry, myself, and a couple kids were digging the standing wave . There were kids running around playing, nothing out of the ordinary. Larry and I turn around to go to our cars. I was grabbing a board and Larry went to get his camera gear to set up. When we turned around we saw this little girl starting to sink in the creek. She was walking and started to sink into the deep section of the creek which was close to the start of the river. Larry sprinted forward with myself behind jumped into the creek and pulled the girl from the water, which by that time was submerged. She was surrounded by family, a lifeguard, photographers and wave riders, and literally no one noticed. One of the heaviest things I’ve seen was the terror on her face and her trying to keep her head above water because she couldn’t swim.”

Mother Nature is cruel and Aliso Beach in South Laguna, California is one of those places that can take a life with the blink of an eye.  It is difficult to understand how a child that doesn’t know how to swim is in a

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Family surrounds little girl that almost drowned in waters of Aliso Creek

creek like Aliso, especially as it is letting out.  That type of situation has disaster written all over it.  I have spent a fair amount of time talking about the dangers of Aliso Beach from the nasty shore break waves it typically has and how parents really need to focus on their children there.  I have also talked a fair amount about becoming educated on waves, wave conditions and rip currents.  Aliso Creek is another story altogether, and when that thing is letting out it is extremely dangerous.

That a little girl was saved from a violent drowning in the turbulent waters of Aliso Creek is probably a miracle.  One second longer and it was entirely possible a child would have left our world way too early. Nobody wants that to happen!  What Larry Beard did was heroic, and it allowed this precious little lady to return home with family on a day that could have ended in the tragic loss of life.  I don’t know what this girl was doing in the Creek, and she never should have been there.  I am glad that Larry and Brennan were there because without them seeing her struggle in the water, I don’t think we would be talking about a happy ending.

Brennan also said: “She swallowed some creek water I’m sure and hopefully the family took the lifeguards advise and went to the doctor. A second later and I don’t want to think about what would’ve happened, but I can’t emphasize enough that she was surrounded by people from parents, family members, a lifeguard, and random tourists.  No one noticed.”

I am pleased to end this harrowing story by saying I am glad that she was rescued and that people I spend time with in the water were there to make sure she got to go home with family.

Photo Credit: Larry Beard….the heroic lifesaver!



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Sunset Peace


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Sunset at Aliso Beach in Laguna, California.

Aliso Beach graciously offers sunset peace to all those that come looking for it. Life is noisy! Politics, traffic, relationship drama, social media, work, kids, school, health, illness, deadlines, bills and too many more to list are things that demand our attention, distract us, occupy our time, consume us, and frustrate us.  Feeling stressed and overwhelmed these things are not foreign to anyone in my opinion.  Because of the pressure life puts on us, it is wise to find places that bring calm, settle us down, quite the noise and refresh us.

I have always said that the experience of Aliso Beach does that for me and I often hear people from Laguna Beach say that the coastal environment there centers them.  The Fall Season says good bye to summer beach crowding, traffic congestion, full parking lots and an extra hour or two of daylight at the end of the day.  Heading to Aliso to take in a sunset is the perfect way to escape the pressures in life that suck the energy out of us.  You should try it.

Cool ocean breezes, palm tree fronds swaying in the wind, the parking lot view extending to Catalina and San Clemente Island, and the glow of the setting sun over the Pacific signaling the end of another day are magnificent.  You will enjoy the lack of crowds and are free to decompress and enjoy a moment of solitude.  This moment is so important in the craziness that has become our lives.  Dare I say we absolutely need those moments? It is a resounding yes that people need to slow themselves down long enough to appreciate the natural beauty of our world and to quite the noise long enough to exhale.  I would call this soothing the soul and you don’t need permission to go do this.  Finding peace requires a conscientious decision to reverse the impact of the stresses of daily life with the rejuvenation of the sunset experience at Aliso Beach.  Sunset peace is very real, and although there are many exquisite and beautiful beaches in the Laguna Beach area, Aliso Beach is accessible when getting to the beach before the sun escapes below the horizon of the Pacific Ocean.


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Urban Slobber


I learned a new word thanks to some research sent to be me by my new friends down at the Laguna Bluebelt Coalition.  The word is urban slobber.  Urban slobber is the result of quite frankly us urban slobs.  That sounds harsh, but everything we do in our consumption based economy contributes to the trash and pollutants that enter small storm drains emptying at Aliso Creek on its way to South Laguna’s Aliso Beach.  Please keep in mind that the fight against ocean pollution exists everywhere in the world where there are fresh water tributaries that carry inland and coastal runoff to the ocean.

So what is urban slobber?

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Urban runoff from inland cities dammed up in the lagoon at Aliso Beach.

Oil, gas, trash, plastics, soaps, industrial cleaners, pesticides, brake dust, pet waste, bird droppings, grease, cigarette butts, dirt, bacteria, chemicals and fertilizers make up urban slobber that is carried through the drains to creeks that feed the ocean.  Would you knowingly swim in that?  Do you think that the elements found in this kind of runoff are worth the risk of exposure?  Did you know that it requires only a sewage spill to have elevated fecal coliform bacteria present in Aliso Creek?  Think again! The seagulls that congregate there to bathe increase the bacterial risks without sewage spills.  Yes, they poop in that water.

We have long understood that storm runoff from prolonged periods of rain had a fouling effect on our coastlines.  Aliso Creek would run dry if it weren’t for runoff produced by irrigation and inland Orange County cities.  Research has confirmed that the dry season is a problem as well with Aliso Creek damming up in a lagoon at the beach virtually every day with surf photographers and wave riders breaking it and essentially letting this urban slobber out into the ocean without any cleaning or filtration.  With our concrete jungle of paved roads, malls, high rise cities and industrial parks we have effectively taken out the best defense we have in the fight against urban slobber and ocean pollution.  It used to be that native plants did the filtering of pollutant carrying runoff to the ocean, and now runoff picks up everything listed below as a part of urban slobber and dumps it into our oceans and bays. Take one look at the color of the water dammed up at Aliso Beach and tell me that the quality of this water isn’t potentially hazardous to your health.  Furthermore, if you support the idea of the Laguna Beach State Marine Conservation Area that Aliso Beach is part of, you are also well aware of the damage this runoff does to the marine ecosystem everyone is working so dilligently to preserve for future generations. Just the other day I stood on the sand above the water thinking about grabbing my board and paddling out when the lifeguard pulled up in his truck and began putting familiar stake signs in the sand warning of water quality issues and advising no swimming.  This happens all the time.

Maybe there should be a re-evaluation of things.  Breaking Aliso Creek is something that puts anyone using Aliso Beach at risk of health issues and damages the effectiveness of the marine protection area in Laguna Beach that works to save coastal resources for future generations.  If you think our local beaches and marine ecosystems are worthy of saving, you cannot in good conscious break Aliso Creek.  I know this won’t be a popular sentiment among my friends who have been doing this for decades.  Sometimes you have to take a stand and draw the proverbial line in the sand.  The mounting and indisputable evidence of harmful pathogens and carcinogens that come down Aliso Creek in the form of urban slobber to the beach has me taking a different view point than I have previously.  As the founder of this website and someone that has vowed to protect Aliso Beach, I would be a hypocrite to take any other side, and it is the right thing to do.  When people talk about leaving a legacy behind them and about affecting the world in a positive way, these are the types of decisions that define us.  I know full well that Aliso Creek being let out makes the waves better, but I have a problem.  I cannot endorse an activity that reverses the gains made by the marine protection areas of Laguna Beach and I can’t endorse the potential health risks that my friends subject themselves to if I say that I care about the health and well-being of my friends.

Stay tuned for the next urban slobber related post.  In that article, the potential effects of the toxins and bacteria on real human beings found in urban runoff let out into coastal waters of Aliso Beach.  In a second piece, coverage will be given to the effects on marine plant, fish and animal life.

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Aliso Beach Bees


In anticipation of high surf from Hurricane Delores down off Cabo San Lucas, I spent a few hours watching the waves at Aliso Beach.  It was a typical day there.  The coastal side parking lot was full and cars lined the south bound lane of PCH on the incline headed towards Dana Point. Umbrellas added color to the beach, children frolicked in the playground, young girls in bikinis cooled off at the water’s edge, families reserved the fire pits for evening festivities and lifeguards watched the every move of beach visitors taking on the pounding shore break.  The waves weren’t big today, but even a 3 footer hitting the shore at Aliso Beach is cause for alarm when it comes to lifeguards keeping everyone safe.  It was business as usual.

I sat on the benches overlooking the sand and ocean and as I watched people and the waves, I became aware of the bees swarming the trash cans looking for sweet foods and drinks. Have you ever had a bee try and squeeze itself into a soda can while you were drinking it? If you are like me, you have taken a drink and had to spit out an aggressive bee that could not keep its mouth out of my sugary drink.  A sting on the inside of the mouth or a swollen tongue doesn’t sound like a great day at the beach to me.  While I have been disappointed by Yelp Reviews on Aliso Beach that degrade my favorite Laguna Beach due to the bee and trash can problem, I do understand that some are allergic to bee stings, no one wants to be stung by a bee while at the beach, and there is nothing good about a child or anyone getting stung at the beach whether they are allergic or not.  Aliso Beach bees buzzing around the trash cans are hardly a new problem. They have always been around during the summer and on warm days.

I watched a heavy set elderly women struggling up the narrow sidewalk with her walker and a small dog passing by where I was sitting on the bench. I thought to myself, “Oh God.  Don’t let her get stung”.  She didn’t seem to be aware of the bees and nor did they seem to bother her much. The bees seemed to be more interested in getting at whatever goodness they were after in the receptacles as she walked past me and I would say that was a good thing.  While the bees hardly noticed the lady as he lumbered by, they seemed to get in my face every so often and I wanted no part of it.  I must admit though, the Aliso Beach bees situation did encourage me to leave the beach before I got more sunburned than I did.  20 minutes of one eye on the waves and the other on the bees getting after the trash can left me with a slight burn.  Sunscreen my friends is never a bad thing and the less toxic kind the better, or so I am told.

Organize Chaos online has a nice piece on how to avoid bees and the problem is that the best solution would require the county to move the trash cans away from the beach. The trash cans line the sidewalk inches from the sand.  On the north end of the beach especially and extending through the snack bar area, beach visitors walk right past these trash cans on the way to the sand and water.  I will assume that the trash cans won’t be moved because there really isn’t any extra beach real estate to relocate them.  For that reason and the attraction of the bees to the trash cans, I stand by my advice to steer clear of them and take your trash back to your cars from the beach if you feel it is unsafe to stir up the bees looking for a free meal and drink.

If I were you and visiting the beach I would do the following to avoid Aliso Beach bees:

1) I would bag up all trash from food, snacks and drinks, seal them and take them home with you.

2)  Walk around the trash cans to and from the beach at a safe distance

3)  Watch children closely.  Their youthful exuberance and ignorance might not allow them to be aware of the bees.  There is nothing good about a bee sting at Aliso Beach for a child or parents.

Aliso Beach bees aren’t trying to be a pain in the you know what, but you do have to be aware of them.  As the founder of the Aliso Beach website, I hope you and family enjoy the beach this summer!  Be safe!

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Summer Has Begun


By the look of the crowd size at Aliso Beach this past Saturday, summer appears to have officially begun. Strange low pressure systems and mild rain events have kept May under cloud cover and cooler conditions that have made it difficult to wrap one’s mind around the concept of summer.  With the official start of summer not until the Summer Solstice on June 20, 2015, Aliso Beach was packed.  It was a mad scramble for parking on the coastal lot side and I saw at the very least 25 family tents and canopies lining this little slice of Laguna Beach.  If Aliso Beach ever was a well-guarded secret, everyone in Southern California seems to know there is metered parking, a children’s playground, a snack bar with restrooms, a shower, fire pits and plenty of sand to enjoy the beach.

After watching the waves and the beach scene for about 45 minutes, I leisurely strolled back to the car while talking with a business associate.  I needed to get out of the sun so I headed back to the car while trying to finish a business development conversation.  I walked towards the car while trying to employ eyes in the back of my head to try and avoid getting mobbed by eager beach goers circling the lot for that prime piece of beach real estate called a parking spot!  I traversed between cars in the front row trying to sneak through and get into my car and avoid detection because I wasn’t ready to end an important conversation.  How I wasn’t made for the next spot available by those frustrated visitors debating on trying the lot on the other side of coast highway or the unthinkable parking a mile and a half up PCH I don’t know.

I sat in the car finishing my conversation and it got a little warm in the car.  My next move left me completely vulnerable to the first panicked beach goer that needs to park right this minute.  As I talked on the phone I was started by a woman whom I did not see sneak up on me blurting out the question as to whether or not I was leaving.  I generally like to see people approach me so that I don’t come out of my shoes in surprise when they come up like that and I have to say, my response to her took the tone of being irritated.  That wasn’t something I wanted to do but it just kind of unfolded that way.  I can’t be the only human being that does not like to feel swallowed up or encroached on by people.  It was regrettable.

Feeling like I had been violated, I told her I was leaving but after I finished my business conversation.  She immediately had that oops I am sorry look on her face (although I can’t be perfectly sure) and she retreated from standing over my door with window down.  And here I thought I had escaped being looked at like I was the last filet mignon on the planet!  As I sat there, my conscious got the better of me and I put my conversation on hold and got out of the car and approached the lady.  I told her that I knew she was waiting and that I was going to leave and hand her an all day pass which I proceeded to do.  I don’t recall if she was overly grateful or if she was a little put off by the way I responded to being interrupted on a phone conversation.  What I do know is that I made a conscious decision to reverse any negativity, anger or rudeness put out into the universe that was completely unintended.

My sincere hope is that a wrong was righted and that I helped the lady and family be together sooner to enjoy the day at the beach with family.  After all, there are no guarantees of a parking spot at Aliso Beach during summer parking wars after 10:30 am on the warmest beach days.  Now that June’s gloom has dispatched itself a month early, we can expect that summer is here and that parking lot will be full by 10:00-10:30 am.  As far as Aliso Beach goes, this serves as a public service announcement.  If you are coming to Aliso Beach and you would prefer to avoid the parking problem, get there at 9:00 am.  Should you choose to come after that and not get a spot, your decision will result in sitting in a car hoping and praying someone will pull out of their spot close enough to you to fend off the other 20 cars doing the same hoping and praying while growing more frustrated by the minute.  I would also like to remind everyone that the inland side of PCH, although not nearly as convenient is still a great option.  Not sure if everyone knows this but there is a tunnel under the highway so you are safe.

Ahhhhhhhh….summer has begun!  And let parking wars begin!  Enjoy Aliso Beach!

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Jehovahs Witness


Jehovah's Witness, Watchtower, Jehovah's Witness Recruitment Aliso Beach, Aliso Beach Park, ALiso Creek Beach

Jehovah’s Witness Recruitment Aliso Beach


Before I say anything else, I am asking sensitive people not to take this the wrong way.  I have absolutely nothing against people who are Jehova’s Witnesses and in my experiences, members of this group have been nothing but friendly and polite to me.  I have been coming to Aliso Beach for 30 years and until recently I had never seen a religious group of any kind, set up a recruitment and informational pamphlet station.  The interesting thing is if it appeared someone was setting up a booth to promote sales of a product or service, that endeavor would be shut down by any number of Laguna Police, State Park Ranger and maybe even the Lifeguards if their staffing did not have them short on manpower. How do I know this?  State Park Rangers have told an artist I know that he could not photograph and show a finished art piece in the parking lot at Aliso.  In fairness, Jehova’s Witness has non-profit status as do all of the clean up groups like Surfrider Foundation South Orange County and similar charitable entities enjoy the same opportunities to promote at places like Aliso Beach.  Jehovah’s Witness Recruitment and an information stand has been there several Sunday’s over the last couple of months. Since I had never seen this stand before, it struck me as odd.  If you are like me, you find the presence of God in the ocean.  If I wanted to become a Jehovah’s Witness I would not go to Aliso Beach to do that, but I understand that religious groups compete for membership and a high traffic and accessible beach to strike up conversations with people in a stress free environment appeals to church volunteers. This strategy seems like a departure from the age old strategy of canvasing neighborhoods and ringing doorbells.  To be honest, I have opened up a door or two in my lifetime to find members of Jehova’s Witness interested in sharing their faith, and I have also dodged a knock on the door or 10 knowing full well it is very likely to be Jehova’s Witness.  Given that Jehovah’s Witness has always recruited heavily on a person to person basis, I am sure they know they are successful only some of the time and the only way to grow membership is through the process of sharing their faith as they have always done.

As aggressive as the canvasing has been in neighborhoods I have lived in, the information pod with Watchtower Publications and information regarding up and coming events seemed to be loosely attended.  As strange as it was to see the pod stocked full of faith based materials encouraging beach visitors to take the information pamphlets, I was surprised that the stand wasn’t staffed.  Maybe this is by design or the way the County of Orange which operates Aliso Beach Park requested it to be.  Though I walked up to the information stand to take a picture for this story, I was never approached  or acknowledged for standing there.  I was aware of a pair of men and women on those Sundays that could have been there for Jehovah’s Witness Recruitment at Aliso Beach.  If they were there to stage the recruitment, they didn’t swarm me, ask if I had questions, or try and pass off any documentation on me. Honestly, I have never felt like I have ever been agitated by these folks and nor have I ever felt like my boundaries had been crossed where I feel like I had to push them away.  If you call me a doorbell dodger…you got me!  That I am sometimes because sometimes I just am not up to or interested in talking.  In putting the stand there and not aggressively pursuing beach visitors that stop by to check the information stand out, I think they are doing it the right way.  While Jehovah’s Witness Recruitment at Aliso Beach is a way I have never seen generate membership increases, it could just work.  I heard a quote related to a professional athlete that I have always appreciated and I think the recruitment strategy seen at Aliso Beach subscribes to this truth!  The quote goes something like this, “You strike out 100% of the time that you don’t bother to take swings”.  Jehova’s Witness understands that a varied approach to recruitment will land members that might not have been reachable with door knocking.  Many people are put off by solicitation by someone coming to the door, so trying different things is smart!  It’s marketing!  Whatever strategy they choose for their recruitment efforts, they fully understand the concept of sharing. A Laisse Faire approach at Aliso Beach is the best way to recruit there in my opinion, and in cases where beach visitors show interest of course it is in the best interests of membership to greet visitors and answer questions if they have any.  I wish them luck in their efforts to grow membership.

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Weekend At Aliso Beach


There are few days that I am not close enough to Aliso Beach to visit and I love that.  One would think that Aliso Beach would get old and that I would need to stay away to tap into memories that crystallize how special this little spot in Laguna is.  I don’t know why, but I find it challenging to grow tired of the place and each and every visit there is a gift that I can share with you using words and show you in pictures but fall miserably short when trying to help you understand how it feels to be there.  Pictures I am sure help, but Aliso Beach is a doing experience and not an accepting my words at face value.  I guess what I am saying is that in order to experience the tranquility and beauty at Aliso Beach, you will have to do the work and get there.  I promise you that whatever it is that is bothering you, stressing you or angering you will cease when you dip 10 toes in the soft sand and cool waters of Aliso Beach.  You simply have to get to Aliso Beach!

For those of you far away from Aliso Beach and needing to plan a visit, I will continue to send you visual reminders of what it is like to be there and the types of things you will see.  Due to being there often, even a weekend at Aliso Beach produces challenges to show you a different view, but with each and every day this natural setting guarantees to produce something magically interesting to lure me into pressing the button on my IPhone4S.  Never to be confused as a professional photographer, I still like to try and come up with moments in time from the weekend at Aliso Beach that delight people.

I find myself fascinated by the sun.  The sun does a final dance at Aliso when it sets over the Pacific in the west and getting eclipsed by the backside of Catalina Island as it falls below the horizon.  It has me thinking that the sunset on the western shores of Catalina must be absolutely staggering!  As the sun nears its curtain call from the vantage point of Aliso Beach, its glow lights up the sky with bright oranges and pinks that dance with the clouds in a magnificent display of Mother Nature painting the heavens.  It is at these times that I find the noise in life most quiet.  Even among strangers on the beach I notice that the talking comes to an end as if people know by instinct that those fleeting moments of light are meant to usher in a silence that heals.  You can hear yourself think and yet you don’t have to be thinking at all.  Absorbing the natural mystic has to be one of the most balancing experiences there are and people flock to Aliso Beach to enjoy the peace found in the sun setting over the ocean at Aliso Beach.

There wasn’t much new to report from the weekend at Aliso Beach.  The flowing creek created a double cliff on the north side of the beach and once again the detail left in the sand wall as a result of fresh water carving through it was quite remarkable.  Kids took advantage of the larger sand cliff to slide and tumble down its crumbling walls beneath their feet.  Children were all smiles and giddy with the ability to slide down the bank of sand and even take a tumble or two down the soft sand to the bottom where they simply laughed it off and climbed back up to do it all over again.  Interestingly enough there was a little guy who I noticed was talking to himself on the other side of the creek.  He was trying to get the attention of a little girl who was tumbling down the sand embankment on the other side.  His message to her was not fall into the 135000 gallons of sewage down in the creek waters below her game of sandy tumble and slide. It seems rare that a child that young is so well versed in the dangers of the water in Aliso Creek. If he is talking about it then he must have some concerned parents who have warned him of the Creek and its long history of issues.

There was a family taking holiday portraits against the backdrop of an incredible sunset.  The professional photographer showed me how incredible the shots looked and there are few places in the world that can produce that type of magic for family portraits.  Aliso Beach is one of those places.  I did offer her opportunities to feature and promote her business on this website and the quality of her work is more than worthy. That couple with their children will be pleased without a doubt!  The weekend at Aliso Beach was capped off by a couple of amazing sunsets.  The seagulls danced in the wind, families enjoyed the warm weather and warm water till dark, and beach goers drank up every last ounce of sun before it sank below the western horizon to bring sunlight to another part of the world. And yes, it will return again in the morning to start the day anew! ounce of sun before it sank below the western horizon to bring sunlight to another part of the world. And yes, it will return again in the morning to start the day anew!  

November 15 Aliso Beach Castles Made Of Sand.jpgNovember 15 Aliso Beach Super Chicken.jpgNovember 15th Aliso Beach Cruising the Gorge.jpgNovember 15th Aliso Beach One Last Skim.jpgNovember 16th Aliso Beach A Seagull Father And Daughter.jpgNovember 16th Aliso Beach Far More Dangerous Than It Looks.jpgNovember 16th Sun Of A Chemtrail.jpg

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