EVENT: Coast to Cactus Presentation & Book Signing

Posted by Adventure 16 | 09.01.2016

Coast to Cactus: The Canyoneer Trail Guide to San Diego Outdoors – More than a hiking guide; it is a field guide too!

Learn how Coast to Cactus: The Canyoneer Trail Guide to San Diego Outdoors is actually a “Virtual Canyoneer” – a pocket naturalist that will tell you what you are seeing on the trail and what to look for in each of the habitats that might be encountered on any one trail. It is a tool to learn about San Diego County, which is one of 35 places in the world considered a biodiversity hotspot. The book teaches a greater appreciation and understanding of San Diego outdoors.

When one goes on a free nature-led hike with a San Diego Natural History Museum Canyoneer, he can expect to learn why a particular trail is special. All participants are encouraged to stop, look, listen, touch, smell, and examine – to understand the interactions of nature. They are also introduced to cultural and natural features related to a particular trail. When an individual’s schedule doesn’t allow joining in on scheduled weekly-led Canyoneer hikes, the book becomes your own personal “Virtual Canyoneer” that can guide you. Everything one needs is included in the book: full hike descriptions, maps, and habitat and species information. The book provides a field guide experience to theNAT’s exhibition entitled:Coast to Cactus in Southern California.

The PowerPoint presentation will outline the book’s information, tell how it was put together and checked for accuracy, give examples of the detailed information that is included, and will feature some selected hikes in the county. Canyoneers who will be attending the presentation can also answer individual questions about hikes and hike information.

Tuesday, September 20: A16 Solana Beach Store
Wednesday, September 21: A16 San Diego Store

Sponsored by:

Diana Lindsay is the author, co-author, or editor of over 10 books that delve into the cultural and natural history of San Diego County. Her research and writing career began with the publication of her master’s degree from San Diego State University by Copley Books in 1973 as Our Historic Desert.  Among her many award-winning books are the guidebook entitled The Anza-Borrego Desert RegionAnza-Borrego A to Z: People, Places, and ThingsMarshal South and the Ghost Mountain Chronicles, and Ricardo Breceda: Accidental Artist.

She is the managing editor of her latest project, entitled Coast to Cactus: The Canyoneer Trail Guide to San Diego Outdoors written by the San Diego Natural History Museum Canyoneers, which has been years in production, beginning in 2012 with weekly published columns by the Canyoneers entitled “Roam-O-Rama” in the San Diego Reader.

Diana is the founder and president of Sunbelt Publications, a regional book publishing and distribution business established in 1984. She is currently serving on the board of the San Diego Natural History Museum and has been a Museum Canyoneer leading public walks and hikes for almost 30 years. Her latest work is a result of a partnership between the Canyoneers, the Museum, and her publishing company. Proceeds from the sale of her book support the Museum.

Editors Terri Varnell and Paula Knoll, along with Illustrator Jim Varnell, will be joining Diana at the San Diego presentation.

There are several choices when it comes to guidebooks for San Diego trails, but only one offers the authority of the San Diego Natural History Museum (theNAT).  Coast to Cactus: The Canyoneer Trail Guide to San Diego Outdoors is the latest release from El Cajon-based publisher Sunbelt Publications and is written by a group of Natural History Museum volunteers—highly trained citizen science trail guides—known as the Canyoneers.

Coast to Cactus is far more than a hiking guide. The book introduces readers to San Diego County’s unique natural wonders and provides readers with a virtual Canyoneer, allowing them to enjoy an experience akin to a Canyoneer-led foray into nature. The dedicated volunteers who developed this book have provided free guided tours in San Diego County’s natural areas since 1973.

The trail guide complements the Coast to Cactus in Southern California exhibition at theNAT, which helps visitors understand the diverse ecosystems of our region.  San Diego County is considered by Conservation International to be one of 35 global biodiversity hot spots, and The Nature Conservancy calls it a rare jewel in America’s crown of great natural spaces. The book adopts the Canyoneer approach of inviting hikers to stop, look, listen, touch, smell, and examine. They teach that everything is linked together in nature.

 With 245 unique hikes, plus 73 additional hike options, Coast to Cactus includes vital information with each hike description, including maps, photos, distance, elevation change, and a variety of other information. It introduces readers to over 500 different species of flora and fauna and is strategically organized with hikes separated into four geographic regions.  The guide even includes a listing of all regional trails and watersheds in the County.


CANYONEERS are volunteer citizen scientists trained by the San Diego Natural History Museum to lead free public walks throughout the county. Participants on these public walks are encouraged to look at the surroundings to see what makes it special—to stop, look, listen, touch, smell, and examine—to understand the interactions in nature.  Check the Canyoneer website for a listing of guided walks: www.sdnat.org/canyoneers. The Canyoneers also write a weekly hike column called Roam-O-Rama for the San Diego Reader.  The hikes in this book are based on the weekly articles written by the Canyoneers.



Diana Lindsay is a board member of the San Diego Natural History Museum, a Canyoneer since 1988, an award-winning author, and president of Sunbelt Publications.

Paula Knoll is a past president of the Canyoneers who has guided walks since 1987 and, along with Alan Marshal, facilitated over 25 years of the Canyoneer hike schedule.

Terri Varnell is a Canyoneer and active birder who recently retired from the University of California, San Diego, where she worked as an administrative programmer over 26 years.