Olivia Harden

Travel Reporter at SFGATE -- based in California. Writing about social justice and mental health everywhere else. Passionate about food, exploring the world, and uplifting the voices of those who often go unheard.

Woman missing in Death Valley was reportedly staring at stars

A woman unintentionally spent the night in Death Valley National Park after her travel group reported her missing.

The 61-year-old woman from Austin, Texas, was headed to Badwater Basin to capture photos of the stars, according to a news release. She left her group to retrieve something from the parking lot. When she didn’t return, the group drove to Furnace Creek to call 911.

Park rangers were dispatched at 2:30 a.m. and traveled on foot, according to officials. They also flashed bright vehic

Passenger allegedly jumped out of emergency exit door on Delta flight

The Federal Aviation Administration plans to investigate a Delta Air Lines flight where a passenger allegedly opened an emergency exit door.

On Saturday, March 25, at approximately 10:40 a.m., Delta flight 1714 from Los Angeles International Airport to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport was delayed after a passenger deployed an emergency exit slide while the aircraft was stationary and jumped down onto the ramp, the FAA told SFGATE in a statement.

The aircraft was preparing for takeoff when

Sutro Tower mistaken for UFO in viral video

Whether it’s flying disk-shaped clouds or weather balloons from China, unidentified flying objects are a source of continuous fascination for the general public. A 2021 TikTok video filmed from a plane window is going viral yet again, this time on Twitter. It shows a three-pronged metal object peeking out of the clouds and claims to be from a Delta flight cruising at 38,000 feet over California.

“Does anyone knows any building with 38000 ft height and has three steel bars pointing towards sky ?

These might be the hardest reservations to book in California

One of the great perks of living in California is that the state has the most national parks and the second-most national forests in the country. But having that much access to public land doesn’t always mean you can snag a campsite reservation. The Dyrt, a camping app, analyzed federal data to find the hardest-to-book camping grounds in the state and published a report this week.

The Dyrt discovered that the Twin Lakes Campground in Inyo National Forest is the most sought-after reservation in

Drake returns to Bay Area for concert featuring 21 Savage

The most Bay Area Drake fans have seen of the musician lately are the openings of his Dave's Hot Chicken locations. But the “6 God” has finally answered local prayers and announced a Bay Area concert.

Drizzy’s last tour was pre-pandemic, when he performed with Migos for the 2018 Aubrey & the Three Migos Tour (and brought on stage Oakland artists E-40 and Too Short at his Oakland Arena shows on the closing night). During the pandemic, the artist stayed busy dropping multiple projects, including

Inside the secret Palm Springs bar that looks like an airplane

Since my parents moved to the desert about 15 years ago, I’ve spent plenty of time in downtown Palm Springs. So when I heard about a speakeasy inside a wine store there, I had no choice but to drive home to pay a visit. Especially when I found out that said speakeasy is sort of “in” an airplane.

Bouschet, the wine shop, is quite unassuming. A sign on the sidewalk lets you know the secret bar inside the shop is not so secret. What was once a back office is PS Air Bar, with an atmosphere reminisc

California seeks to eliminate shady concert, hotel fees

If there’s anything to learn from 2022, it’s that you don’t mess with Swifties. The Ticketmaster disaster that left thousands of fans without tickets to a Taylor Swift tour has prompted lawmakers at the federal and state levels to crack down on business practices such as “dynamic pricing" (when firms such as Ticketmaster increase prices based on demand) and other hidden fees that many consumers abhor.

California lawmakers have introduced a package of six new bills that won’t just impact concert

Man on United flight from LA allegedly attacks flight attendant

On March 5, law enforcement arrested a man at Boston Logan International Airport after allegedly attempting to open an emergency exit door and stab a flight attendant, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts.

Law enforcement charged Francisco Severo Torres, from Leominster, Massachusetts, with one count of interference and attempted interference with flight crew members and attendants using a dangerous weapon.

United flight 2609 took off at 8:

Influencers won't leave this Joshua Tree art piece alone

Whether you’re snapping a photo of your food, travels or other memories, content creation has become a facet of everyday life. But what happens when some people take it too far? Designer and developer Morgan Brown is all too familiar as she continues to deal with trespassers hoping to snap an image of her now-famous art piece, "Transmission."

Just outside Joshua Tree National Park, Brown opened the Mojave Moon Ranch, a luxury Airbnb for guests to take in the surrounding beauty. She wanted to em

Graupel falls on Disneyland, shocks guests

Hail, light snow and graupel have reached areas across the southern counties, including Orange, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, San Diego and Riverside.

Most winters, the rest of the country might be envious of the weather conditions in Southern California — where locals enjoy Christmas with perfect weather and the misery of shoveling snow is nonexistent for city dwellers. But this year, even Angelenos are not immune to snow, as white patches surround the Hollywood sign and graupel reaches the Hap

Plan to bring bullet train from LA to Vegas is underway

For years, California has championed high-speed rail as its future, even as its marquee project faces headwinds. While the high-speed rail connecting Los Angeles and San Francisco slowly comes to fruition, a separate rail plan in Southern California has finalized an important labor deal, and construction is set to begin this year.

Brightline, reportedly the only private rail company in the country, is on track to connect Las Vegas to Los Angeles with a new 218-mile rail system. On Feb. 23, the

San Diego County hit with record rain, snow — more on the way

Over the past week, California has experienced extreme weather conditions in unlikely places, such as snow throughout Southern California. San Diego County hasn't been spared. Although the area is seeing some reprieve today, officials say it likely won’t last.

“Right now, it’s nice and sunny today. There are some showers predicted today, tomorrow and Wednesday,” a Caltrans spokesperson told SFGATE on Monday. “As far as snow, there’s none right now, but that could change Wednesday.”

SoCal man breaks record going to Disneyland every day for 8 years

If you’re a tried-and-true Disneyland fan, it makes sense to shell out money for a pass. And with the theme park constantly raising ticket prices, it’s the easiest way to get the most bang for your buck.

Jeff Reitz did that every single day for more than eight years.

“It wasn’t a thing that had been done before, so it was just something fun between friends,” he said.

Reitz celebrated his 2,000th day in the park in 2017, but this year, he set a mark recognized by Guinness World Records for the

Sea Ranch locals demand beach reopening from county officials

For lovers of Sonoma County beaches, Stengel Beach was a quiet escape from the crowds at more popular choices. But a broken staircase keeps residents and visitors from taking advantage of it, and the problem isn't easy to fix.

Stengel Beach is a treasure for residents and visitors alike, known for its waterfalls and tidepools. In April 2021, officials closed off access to the beach, citing the worn-out wooden staircase as a safety hazard. Beach weather and tides had loosened the steps and rotte

East Bay highway closure could cause trouble over holiday weekend

A road closure might make the trip a little more complicated for some Bay Area residents planning to get a head start on the holiday weekend.

A stretch of northbound Interstate 680 in the East Bay will close for roadwork during Presidents Day weekend. Closures of northbound lanes between Koopman Road in Sunol and Sunol Boulevard in Pleasanton are scheduled for Friday, Feb. 17, at 10 p.m., through 5 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 21, according to Caltrans.

NTSB investigating SFO-bound flight from Maui that nearly crashed

LATEST Feb. 14, 3:30 p.m. The National Transportation Safety Board announced Tuesday that it is opening an investigation into reports that a United Airlines flight from Maui to San Francisco International plunged to 775 feet above the Pacific Ocean in mid-December.

“A preliminary report is expected in 2-3 weeks,” the NTSB wrote.

Feb. 13, 3:11 p.m. A United Airlines flight from Maui, Hawaii, to San Francisco flew too close to the sea when it took a nosedive toward the Pacific Ocean last Decembe

Public transit from SF to wine country is becoming a reality

A massive pile of cash has made its way to the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) train, and it's a leap forward for providing a transit connection between San Francisco and Wine Country.

In the span of a single week, the SMART train project pocketed $74 million in funding from two sources.

On Jan. 25, the California Supreme Court dismissed a lawsuit from the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, freeing up $40 million for the project. A few days later on Jan. 30, Gov. Gavin Newsom offered

Riders evacuated at Disneyland due to sinking boat on Pirates

A group of Disneyland goers learned the reality of being pirates when their boat started to sink, and they had to walk the plank.

A viral TikTok posted by user Justin James shows a boatful of riders rescued by park firefighters from the Pirates of the Caribbean ride after their boat started to take on water near the ride’s entrance. Guests had to wait around an hour before they walked by a portable staircase attached to a gangplank. The TikTok, posted on Feb. 4, has amassed 1.7 million views.

Huge changes coming for travel to the UK

Traveling to the United Kingdom is about to get a little more complicated — or at least much more bureaucratic.

Starting next year, visitors to the U.K. will need to fill out an Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) form online, according to a U.K. government fact sheet. This includes California visitors who don’t need a visa.

“Our number one priority is the security of the U.K. border, and by launching ETAs, we can ensure that everyone wishing to travel to the U.K. has permission to do so in
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