Author:Steve

Steven T. Callan at the helm of the Fish and Game Patrol Boat Marlin

Those Amazing Elephant Seals

Steven T. Callan at the helm of the Fish and Game Patrol Boat Marlin

Author at the helm of the Fish and Game patrol boat Marlin, 1959. Photo by Wallace Callan

My first opportunity to see a northern elephant seal was in October of 1959, as an excited eleven-year-old passenger aboard the Fish and Game Patrol Boat Marlin. My father, California Fish and Game Warden Wally Callan, was the Marlin’s rookie boarding officer, responsible for patrolling California’s offshore waters from the Mexican border to Point Conception. The previous summer, he had returned from a patrol to San Nicolas and Santa Barbara Islands with tales of the massive elephant seals he had seen hauled up on some of the isolated beaches. I hoped to see those amazing creatures for myself on what was to be the ocean adventure of a lifetime.

Photo of Yosemite Falls

America Needs Parks Now More Than Ever

Yosemite Falls in Yosemite National Park

Recently, my wife, Kathy, and I arrived in Sonora for our first Outdoor Writers Association of California (OWAC) conference. We were a little apprehensive, being new kids on the block, but by the end of the first day, we felt a kinship with everyone in the room. And what a room it was−filled with authors, columnists, radio hosts, photographers, newspaper reporters, adventure guides, and media experts from all over the Golden State. The common thread that wove this gracious group of professionals together was a reverence for California’s vast natural resources and a desire to tell the world about them.

Yelloweye Rockfish

Saving Yelloweyes

Yelloweye Rockfish

Yelloweye rockfish (Sebastes ruberrimus). Photo by Retired Fish and Game Warden Larry Bruckenstein.

Imagine you’re fishing somewhere off the California coast and you hook into a big one. You finally hoist the monster to the deck and discover it’s nearly three feet long, brilliant red-orange in color, with bright yellow eyes the size of fifty cent pieces. Hard to imagine this fish could have been swimming around in the ocean when Roosevelt was president−not Franklin (1933-1945), but Teddy (1901-1909)! Yelloweye rockfish (Sebastes ruberrimus) are known to live up to 118 years. Very slow growing, they don’t reach sexual maturity until they’re between ten and twenty years old.

Rock Creek, Feather River Canyon, California

A Tribute to Streams

Rock Creek, Feather River Canyon, California

The other day I came across a thirty-year-old photograph I had taken of my younger brother Matt. Matt was diving into Rock Creek, a tributary to the north fork of the Feather River, located about an hour southeast of Chico. Kathy and I had picked Matt up for a day of hiking in Northern California’s Feather River Canyon.

Photo of Rocky Mountain mule deer, taken by Steve Guill at Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge

The Headhunter

Photo of Rocky Mountain mule deer taken by Steve Guill at Tule Lake National Wildlife RefugeI’m currently writing a sequel to my first book, “Badges, Bears, and Eagles.” One of the chapters in my next book is entitled “The Headhunter.” It’s about a beautiful Rocky Mountain mule deer buck that was poached back in December of 1992. What made this wildlife crime so heinous wasn’t so much that the deer was killed during closed season. It wasn’t even that it was taken inside Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge. What bothered me most was what the no-good scoundrel (for lack of a better word) did after he killed the deer.

Photo of Humpback Whale Feeding in Santa Barbara Channel

A Whale of a Tale

Photo of Humpback Whale Feeding in Santa Barbara ChannelOut of Ventura Harbor we sailed this past November, in pursuit of a long-held dream. My wife Kathy and I had been waiting for years to visit Santa Cruz Island, the largest of California’s Channel Islands and part of the five-island Channel Islands National Park. We spent the day hiking the island and learning about the indigenous plants and animals that inhabit this fascinating archipelago, just twenty miles from the mainland. Being scuba divers, we were especially impressed by the crystal clear waters that surrounded the island, beckoning us to return someday with our scuba gear and underwater camera.

Photo of Wally Callan on Newville Hotel porch

Game Wardens and Ghost Towns

Photo of Wally Callan on Newville Hotel porchWhile working on a sequel to Badges, Bears, and Eagles, I recently returned to my old stomping grounds near Orland, California, and the ghost town of Newville. Located twenty-two miles west of Orland, Newville thrived from the early 1850s until 1929, when all but a few buildings burned to the ground. During its heyday, Newville boasted a general store, two livery stables, two saloons, a blacksmith shop, two hotels, a post office, and at least one service station. I mention the service station because as of this week, it remains the only building left standing.