Are there more bears than humans in Bear Valley? That's an open question. Alpine County, where the picturesque recreational area sits along Highway 4 on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada, has a total population of only slightly more than 1,200. In winter, skiers rush in; summer is the time for fishing, rock climbing, mountain biking, backpacking, flatwater kayaking, and, of course, triathlon. This year's Bear Valley Triathlon takes place September 5, the Sunday before Labor Day, at Bear Lake in Bear Valley Village. Contestants will try not to be distracted by the gorgeous mountain scenery as they make the six-hundred-yard swim (water is 70 degrees F; wetsuits allowed but not necessary), the 10.5-mile bike race (on a rolling, climbing loop course), and the 3.4-mile run on a rolling road. Water will be available on the run. The timed, competitive event starts at 10 a.m., with check-in at 8:30, and costs $40 (preregistration at OnYourMarkEvents.com) for the race, a T-shirt, raffle, and refreshments. And there's a post-race BBQ at nearby Tamarack Lodge, included in the entry fee.
Call the Tamarack Pines Inn (209-753-2080) or the US Forest Service (209-795-1381) for camping information. And try not to think about all those hungry bears. -- Kelly Vance
Meet an adventurer
Arlene Blum has conquered Mount Everest and Mount McKinley. In 1978, she led a team of thirteen women on the first American climb of Annapurna, the world's tenth-highest peak. Later, she made a ten-month, two-thousand-mile traverse of the Himalayan regions of Bhutan, Nepal, and India, and has trekked through such places as Kenya, Peru, and Ethiopia. In her career as a biophysical chemist, she was instrumental in the banning of tris hydrochloride, a carcinogenic chemical used as a flame retardant in children's sleepwear.
Next Tuesday at 7 p.m., it's Dr. Blum's turn to walk into the middle of REI Berkeley (138 San Pablo Ave., 510-527-4140) to show slides, talk about her adventures and her book, Annapurna: A Woman's Place, and dispense trekking tips for those who want to follow in her footsteps. The talk is free. -- Kelly Vance
Culture Spy - February 23, 2:42 PM
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Culture Spy - February 15, 10:30 AM