John Brandi 9 p.m., Sept. 17
Sunrise, Sunset, Ripening Palm Fruit
Spectacular Sunsets and Sunrises are characteristic of late fall and early winter's dry spells. You can drive up to Soledad Park atop Mount Soledad in La Jolla or Mount Helix near La Mesa for an all encompassing view. Or try hiking up to vantage points such as Cowles Mountain in the San Carlos area and Woodson Mountain near Ramona. Don't forget to bring a flashlight for the trip up or down.
Ripening Palm Fruit, hanging in great clusters on California's native fan palms (Washingtonia filifera), can be seen this month. Native Americans of centuries past utilized the black, pea-sized fruit, which consists of a deliciously sweet but almost paper-thin skin surrounding a hard seed. (These are not "California dates" -- the fruit of cultivated palms introduced into California's deserts from northern Africa.) Our native fan palms can be seen in their natural habitat in about two dozen canyons within Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. They have also been planted widely elsewhere in California, including along the main streets of Palm Springs.