Leap into summer

We challenge you to 20 activities perfectly suited to hot weather

Summer is so much more fun when there’s something to do, pleasure to be had.

We at the CN&R had such a blast last year with our first summer challenge—going through our readers’ journals and looking at so many smiling photos proved they had fun too—that we decided to do it again.

So, we came up with 20 more activities we challenge our readers to complete by summer’s end. Document your progress—take pictures, keep a journal or blog about it—and present us with your finished efforts by Sept. 3. The person who completes the most items on this list will be our winner, and the new owner of a Nikon Coolpix camera from Best Buy.

Many of us at the CN&R will also be competing (though just for fun, not for a prize), so we hope to see our faithful, adventurous readers out there at the Community Camp Out or a Friday Night Concert.

1. Ride a bike to Scotty’s and back

It’s always fun to have a destination when you go on a bike ride, and Scotty’s Boat Landing at the Sacramento River is a great one. It’s about seven miles from Chico, so a round-trip ride is twice that, and you can stop halfway and reward yourself with some refreshment on Scotty’s deck overlooking the river.

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West Sacramento Avenue is the straightest shot, but it can be car heavy. Alternatives include taking Oak Way to Meridian and then cutting south to West Sacramento, or going out West Fifth Street to its intersection with River Road and heading north. The latter is a little longer, but both are good rides.

2. Camp out with the community

Dust off your tent and sleeping bag—it’s time to camp! On Saturday, June 12, Chico Area Recreation and Park District (CARD) will be hosting its annual Community Campout at Hooker Oak Park. The $20 registration fee (good for the entire family) will provide campers with dinner, games, arts and crafts, camp songs and a pancake breakfast. All are invited to take a moonlit walk to the Chico Community Observatory (hey, you can knock out two challenges in one weekend!). For more information contact the CARD office. All participants must register at the CARD office by June 4, so act quickly!

3. Attend an outdoor concert

Close your eyes and imagine yourself among the trees, with the sweet sound of live music wafting through the air. Can you think of anything better? With the weather warming, a vast number of musicians and music lovers alike will be heading for the great outdoors, so do yourself a favor and follow suit. Go to one of the dozen or so festivals happening in the North State, or stay in Chico and attend one—or all—of the Friday Night Concerts in the City Plaza. Besides being free (!), the concerts (which start at 7 p.m.) will be producing a beehive of activity—attracting bohemians and businesspeople alike. Musical genres will range from bluegrass to reggae, so check the website (www.downtownchico.net/events/dcbaevents/fnc) to find which styles sing to you. Dancing is encouraged, so wear comfortable shoes!

4. Cheer for the Outlaws

Chico’s professional baseball team opened its season May 21 in … Tijuana? Yes, the Tijuana Cimarrones are officially part of the Golden Baseball League now, and the Chico Outlaws were their opponent at Estadio de Beisbol Calimax on opening day. The first home series is actually versus Tijuana as well, and you can catch one of those three games over Memorial Day Weekend (May 28-30) at Nettleton Stadium. The regular season goes through the end of July, and if you’re looking for an exciting night to visit, your best bet is probably the traditional Fourth of July home game (this year versus the St. George Roadrunners), which includes a fireworks display and is always a fun party. But, with the addition of new coach Garry Templeton (a former major-league player and three-time All Star) and the 18-year-old female knuckleball pitcher from Japan, there is added intrigue waiting for you at every game at the hometown ballpark. Call 345-3210 or visit www.goldenbaseball.com/chico for schedule and ticket information.

5. Take a hike

Specifically, walk along the South Rim Trail in Upper Bidwell Park at least until you reach Bear Hole. You won’t run into as many hikers on the South Rim Trail (now formally known as the Annie Bidwell Trail) as you would on the more-used North Rim Trail, on the other side of Big Chico Creek, which runs through the canyon in Upper Bidwell Park. But the South Rim Trail, which can be accessed on its western end at the intersection of Chico Canyon Road and Falcon Pointe Drive, is just as scenic and maybe even a little more adventurous.

If you hike all 4.7 miles of it to its end at 10-Mile House Road, great—it’s absolutely worth it, for both the cliff-edge views and the off-the-beaten-track-ness of the trail at times. All we ask is that you go 2.2 miles to the scenic and popular Bear Hole. (And back.)

6. Grow something and eat it

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There’s something very satisfying about growing your own food. Recipes are so much tastier after spending the early part of the summer tending to, say, a zucchini plant and then using the home-grown squash in stir-fry. A little love and water go a long way. Don’t have the room for a full garden? No problem. Do some container gardening. Tomatoes, especially the cherry varieties, grow very well in pots. It’s hard to wait until they are fully ripe to pick them, but not much tastes better than a juicy vine-ripened tomato.

7. Play a round of disc golf

Beyond the City Council circus that has surrounded it, disc golf offers a laid-back way to enjoy the hot weather. Nestled on the bluffs of Highway 32, two courses—one short, one long—offer a few of the most scenic views of the valley. If you’re a novice here in Upper Bidwell Park, it would be advised to bring extra discs (available at Sports LTD), for many players have seen theirs become engulfed by the merciless gorge.

For those who would prefer to ease their way into a new sport—or try out a new course—there are a number of other locations in town to throw a Frisbee into a basket. Here are a few: Sunset Hills Golf Course, the Sherwood Forest Kids’ Disc Golf Course in Hooker Oak Park, Riverbend Park in Oroville and Lava Creek Golf Course in Paradise. For more info, visit www.chico-outsiders.com.

8. Be a kid again

For many of us, memories of childhood summers aren’t complete without sprinklers, water balloon fights and slip ’n’ slides. It’s high time we relived those moments, so on a hot day this summer, don your swimsuit—or something you don’t mind getting wet—and submit to your desire to run through the fountain in Chico’s City Plaza.

You know you want to.

9. Go to three museums

We don’t care which ones. There’s the Gateway Science Museum, Chico Museum, the Chico Air Museum, Bolt’s Tool Museum in Oroville, the Gold Nugget Museum in Paradise, the Colman Museum in Centerville, the Pioneer and Cherokee museums in Oroville. We couldn’t list them all if we tried. So surprise us and find one we haven’t thought of. And learn something, too.

10. Get your motor running

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Get out on the Speedway! All summer Chicoans can watch cars fly around the track Friday nights (and some select weekends) at the Silver Dollar Speedway. Watch in awe as sprint cars, dirt modifieds and pure stocks race around the quarter-mile dirt track. The Speedway has been the premiere place in the North State to watch racing since the 1960s, so if you haven’t ventured there yet, you’ve been missing out. Tickets are affordable at just $12 for adults and $5 for kids. For more info including schedules, visit www.silverdollarspeedway.com.

11. Hike the flumes

Back in Gold Rush days, miners in this area needed ways to get water to their diggin’s, so they built flumes throughout the hills. Flumes were also used to bring timber from the mountains to a mill in Chico (hence Flume Street). And there are flumes today that move water for energy-generating purposes. The closest one moves Butte Creek water from the Magalia area to the Centerville Powerhouse. Take Honey Run Road into Butte Creek Canyon and, at the Covered Bridge, head up Centerville Road. The flume crosses that road just beyond the historic Centerville Cemetery. Park and walk north. It’s easy hiking, and the canyon views are stunning.

12. Dip your toes into a large body of water

This one could be easy—or it could be difficult. The only criterion is that the body of water be bigger than a swimming hole. So, you could stay close to home and hit up Lake Oroville or Black Butte Lake (just west of Orland). Or you could venture a little farther and seek the beauty of Lake Almanor or Lake Shasta. And for the really adventurous people out there, you could go all out and dive on into the mighty Pacific. You choose.

13. Do the Bambi shuffle

While much fun can be had right here in Butte County, it can be nice to get away, even if just for an afternoon. Head east up Highway 32, go 28 miles, take a right on Humboldt Road. Drive four more miles through the woods and you’ll be at the rustic Bambi Inn (7436 Humboldt Road, Butte Meadows).

“You can’t miss us—we’re on the right,” said friendly owner Tom, who felt no need to give his last name (“Everybody knows me up here”).

After parking among the numerous motorcycles that are sure to be in the parking lot, go inside, slap down a $5 bill at the bar (just a little security deposit for the puck) and play some shuffleboard. If there’s a wait for the (only) table, order yourself a burger or a pastrami sandwich and maybe a beer, and relax—either inside or out.

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All ages welcome (that’s part of the beauty of the place). Call 873-4125 for hours and other info.

14. Watch a movie outside

Every year, the Chico Area Recreation and Park District (CARD) puts on a very cool event called Movies in the Park. This Chico tradition, enjoyed by families, couples, and just about everyone else who loves great movies, is just like it sounds: feature films played in beautiful Bidwell Park at Sycamore Field just after sundown. A solid lineup is planned this year, each month from June through September. Pick your favorite among these great titles: Stuart Little, The Wizard of Oz, Charlotte’s Web, Roman Holiday. Take a low-back chair or a blanket. Enjoy. For dates, visit www.chicorec.com.

15. Stare at the stars

On a clear night, you cuddle with a date in Upper Bidwell Park trying to pick out the Big Dipper, Cassiopeia and Orion’s Belt. If you want to impress your date, pack up the picnic blanket and head to the Kiwanis Chico Community Observatory to learn more about the constellations.

The observatory has volunteers eager to teach you about the stars. If you have a particular object you are looking for, the telescopes can even be programmed to find it.

Then relax in the observatory’s outdoor planetarium—this lowered seating pit lets you lie back and gaze at the stars.

16. Speak your mind

Do you sit behind your desk jotting down lyrics between assignments from your boss? Is your notebook from math class full of words instead of logarithms? If so, organize your thoughts and present them at one of Chico’s multiple open mic nights. If not, do it anyway!

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Throughout town everyone from amateur poets to lifelong guitar players gather at open mic nights to share their artistic sides.

Chico’s open mic nights have become so popular that more and more of them seem to be starting around town. Has Beans Coffee and Tea has a longstanding open mic night at 7 p.m. Thursdays on the corner of Fifth and Main streets. Or you can enjoy a cup of tea and dinner during Open Mikefull, which is hosted at the newcomer venue Café Culture at 7 p.m. Wednesdays on the corner of Fifth and Cedar streets. For a more intimate evening, participate in the music-only open mic at 7 p.m. on the first and third Thursdays of each month at Café Flo on the corner of Sixth and Flume.

17. Chill out with Chinese culture

Take a break from the daily grind and take a day trip to the Chinese Temple in Oroville. This California landmark weaves Eastern religion and art together.

The temple is primarily a museum, but it’s also a unique place of worship, incorporating aspects of three Eastern religions: Taoism, Confucianism and Buddhism.

Beyond the religious aspect, the temple houses an exquisite meditation garden. You can reflect on life while sitting by the lily pond. Then peek through the bamboo and breathe in the peaceful atmosphere.

A trip to the temple will simultaneously help you find your inner calm and teach you about Chinese culture. For $3, you can explore the temple between noon and 4 p.m. any day of the week.

18. Volunteer for a day

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Doing things for others is rewarding in a way doing things for ourselves can never quite equal. So do yourself—and someone else—a favor and designate a day for community service.

There’s a multitude of organizations that need volunteers. For instance, a quick search on Chico’s Craigslist page for volunteers reveals that the Chico Cat Coalition is having a Spring Barn Cleaning Party on June 5. And Handi-Riders is looking for help through the summer months. There’s also the Butte Humane Society, the Friends of Bidwell Park, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Habitat for Humanity … the list of valued local nonprofits goes on and on. So, pick one and offer your help. You’ll thank yourself afterward.

19. Go to the fair

The baby animals, the dime toss and fresh-from-the-fryer egg rolls on sticks only come once year, so if you’re going to check this challenge off the list you have to get out to the Silver Dollar Fairgrounds this weekend … or do you? Actually, there are tons of Nor Cal summer fairs. So, if your Memorial Day Weekend is too packed, try Colusa’s fair June 10-13, at the Colusa County Fairgrounds. Or the Shasta District Fair in Anderson, June 16-20. Or even the big one, the California State Fair at CalExpo in Sacramento July 14-Aug. 1. There is a different fair within 100 miles of Chico nearly every weekend this summer, and each of them has a Zipper on which you’ll have the opportunity to lose your lunch. Visit californiafairsandfestivals.com for a full calendar of summer fairs, and save up those dimes and win that Van Halen ashtray you’ve had your eye on.

20. Find these landmarks

Here’s our little scavenger hunt: Find and take a photo of these four items:

A.) The catfish.

B.) A dead walnut tree sprouting old shoes. (Hint: It’s south of town in a private orchard—so just photos, no trespassing.)

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C.) Part convenience store, part airplane, all American!

D.) Under Highway 99, an art gallery you will find. Not the one in Bidwell Park, the one with MLK aerosol art.

Entering the contest

To take us up on the challenge—and have a chance at winning the Nikon Coolpix camera from Best Buy—log the activities you try with written notes and take some photos to back ’em up. The person who completes the most tasks will get the grand prize; in the event of a tie, CN&R editors will evaluate the journal and photos to decide the winner.

The deadline for submission is 5 p.m. on Sept. 3.

Deliver or mail a hard copy or CD-ROM containing the journal and photos to our office: 353 E. 2nd St., Chico, CA 95928.

Please include a CD of photos with hard-copy journals. If you choose to create a blog, please deliver or mail a printed version to our office, along with the URL.

Format: Save the Word documents in rich text format (RTF) and the photos as hi-res JPEGs (300dpi).

Have fun out there!