It has been years since I took a true vacation. Three flights and many hours of strange places found me in the Northwest corner of CA. Humboldt County, The Lost Coast, Avenue of the Giants. Hanni and B.- are settled once again in McKinleyville so I took a week to visit and explore.
Crepes for breakfast in Arcata. Who knew crepes could be sooo very delicious and filling?!?
We drove north to Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, then hiked to Fern Canyon. Hanni got up close and personal with Roosevelt elk along the way.
Notes on Fern Canyon: 80 foot walls, one mile long, five different types of ferns.
Roasted Chicken with MOV oil and vinegar – Yum!
Took Hanni to work at the mushroom farm. Quick tour (sans camera) of her work space then Charlie and I headed out.
Our first stop was Samoa Beach. I was cold and not too impressed. Charlie was confused that we merely ventured to the water through the dunes before packing ourselves back into the truck.
Charlie and I headed to Loleta and the South Jetty. Long, long, bumpy road to the end of the jetty. Sea Lions lounging on the buoy.
Back to pick up Hanni and visit the ceramics studio where Tarron gave her a quick lesson in making Salmon plates.
Sushi – glorious, fresh, abundant sushi for dinner…
I dropped Hanni at the mushroom farm and headed North to Trinidad. Parked at the beach and hiked the Trinidad Head. Hike? Me? Solo? The path was well maintained and easy…the views were spectacular.
I returned to pick up Hanni at work. We visited with Melissa and baby Jaxon before our dinner of fresh salmon, asparagus and a game or two of UNO.
Hanni went to the studio to finish up some mugs then came home to pick me up. We met Levon (the mushroom-man) and caravanned north to Stone Lagoon. The plan was to meet a woman who had offered Levon all the Alder logs he could haul away. Levon doesn’t carry a cell phone so communication was sketchy and we spent an hour driving from place to place trying to find the woman.
Eventually we gave up and headed to a picnic area for lunch. Hanni was happily thinking of all the adventures we might pursue with a sudden free afternoon together. The woman, Liz, was waiting for us at the picnic area so the plan to harvest logs was back on.
Three trucks climbed the narrow, muddy track in four-wheeled drive. The leveled “parking area” was just wide enough to squeeze in and open our doors. Liz headed out to survey her land, Levon suited up in protective gear to cut the Alder, Hanni and I donned gloves. We cleared brush as Levon worked his way to the select trees. Hanni hauled the logs out once the trees were down. It quickly warmed up and we made enough of a clearing to turn the trucks.
Now they wait for the “plugging party” where they will be inoculated and begin a life of producing delicious mushrooms.
I took Charlie to Arcata for breakfast and shopping then headed to the Marsh and Interpretive Center. We got lost walking on the trails but it was warm and sunny. Lots of birds and other people walking their dogs. Humboldt is very dog-friendly. Everywhere Charlie and I went we found poop bag stations.
Dungeness Crab for dinner!
Fish Hatchery. First cold dreary day.
Back to the Plaza in Arcata to finish up some shopping for trinkets.
Homemade fajitas for dinner and many games of UNO.
B.-, Hanni and I had a plan for our last day together.
Quick dump run – my usual Saturday morning routine, but with a twist.
We stopped by the mushroom farm to picked up spice mix and give Brendan a tour of Hanni’s work-space. Glorious fungi growing to epic proportions!
Then a tour of the neighbor’s sculpture garden and studio that just happened to be open that morning. An amazing redwood home and property. Even though it was a sunny day, the massive trees filter and shade the sun light giving everything an ethereal feel.
We drove south to the Northern entrance of the Avenue of the Giants; made a quick stop by the Eel River to skip stones.
It was a short walk in from the gate at the California Federation of Women’s Clubs Grove. In the early 20th century, several women’s groups got together creating a state-wide campaign to save Humboldt’s old growth redwood forests. They managed to raise enough to preserve several hundred acres of park along the Eel river. One member was a renown architect, Julia Morgan, who designed and commissioned this four-sided Hearthstone Monument.
When Redwoods die, others spring up from the stump. They tend to form a ring around the heart of the ancient tree – this is known as a cathedral.
But we were in search of an elusive albino Redwood. With crude directions in hand and hours to spend searching, we set off from the marked trails. There are only 50 known albino Redwoods and their exact location is not well publicized to protect them. Our wanderings introduced us to many ancient giants.
Finally, we came around a massive trunk and were greeted by a ghostly presence. It was 30 feet tall and the host tree housed a secret, hollow cave.
Our final night together included dinner in Ferndale on our way home. We stumbled upon a fantastic mexican restaurant.
Seven days of great food, wonderful family time, enough solitude and creativity to recharge my soul and a new appreciation for hiking.