Whenever summer rolls around, I get the urge to explore. I start dreaming up trips to far away places, like Alexis and her island hops, or of trips back east to the woods of Maine or the Cape Cod coasts to rediscover the adventures I had in my youth. Oddly enough, I never think to explore locally, which is a shame, since clearly there are some amazing and exotic landscapes right outside my door. Take these technicolor salt ponds in the southern portion of the San Francisco Bay. How could I have lived here for 12 years and not have seen these? Actually I know the answer: I stopped choosing window seats on planes … big mistake.
The crayola-like colors are caused by microorganisms reacting the varied salinity levels. Algae populate lower salinity ponds, turning them bright lime green, while brine shrimp and bacteria prefer the higher salinity ponds, staining the water these vivid shades of red and orange. It’s a truly remarkable sight, and one best viewed from above, but you can see this marvel up close if you visit the Don Edwards Wildlife Refuge near Berkeley, which allows public access to a crimson-hued salt pond. If you find yourself with no travel plans but an urge to explore, you might want to head into your own local landscapes—who knows what wonders might await? Have a great weekend, everyone!