Growing up on the California trails (photo gallery)

My grandparents moved to northern California in a little seaside community called The Sea Ranch from Corona when I was about 4 years old.

One of my earliest memories of their home at The Sea Ranch is their dog flattening me in the driveway with great, bounding affection. She was this big, black doberman and the biggest chicken in the world. She used to hide behind the couch during thunderstorms and pick the marshmallows out of the Lucky Charms we fed her because she didn't like the taste. But when I was little she could (and would) very easily knock me over to say hello. During the day, we would spend hours walking the trails with her or by ourselves, enjoying the quiet company. Among these adventures, I always had my camera.

The Sea Ranch became a second home to me and so did the walking trails, bluffs, beaches and rocky shores. Every time I go to visit, I walk the same miles, hike the same hills, sit at the same spots.

There is a particular beach I know seals like to lay near with their young. And a certain cliff where birds always swoop through the sky because the air currents are just right. There are small, carved benches hidden away in outcroppings and rocky caves you can explore until the tide gets too high.

No matter how old I get, I love taking photos there. Though I have traveled quite a bit, I believe it is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Every time I climb out of the car after hours of driving and smell the crisp, ocean breezes rustling through the forest, I know I'm home.