July 27, 2012

Welcome to Humboldt County, where the substance is green and the landscape even greener!

There is so much to do and see here that we felt like a week barely scratched the surface. Our six days here included hikes through Redwood National and State Parks, a jaw dropping drive through the Lost Coast, lazy afternoons strolling around town and two days exploring hidden beaches near the village of Trinidad (see captions below). And to cap off the week, we rented a sweet little cottage in the laid back town of Arcata, which afforded us the ability to walk just about everywhere in town, including a stroll to the best tasting meal of our whole trip.

There is so much more to say about our experience here, the way Stella came alive, the down to earth kindness of just about everyone living in Humboldt, the magic of being on the road, but I'm afraid my time is short this morning!

Being in Humboldt also meant we got to spend time with our babyloss blogger friend Laura and her partner Jeff. There is nothing quite like being able to connect with someone from this community and our three hour lunch was still not enough time.

College Cove Beach near Trinidad. We had this huge beach all to ourselves.

Old Town Eureka

Fern Canyon, Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park

Found a swing, College Cove Beach

1. Found a herd of Elk 2. College Cove Beach. 3. Blueberry picking. 4. LEO

Eureka, near Old Town

College Cove Beach

Top left: Hiking through Fern Canyon before falling in water. Right: Hiking through Fern Canyon after falling in water. Bottom Left: Bear suit at Luffenholtz Beach, near Trinidad

Redwood National Park

College Cove Beach

College Cove Beach

Redwood National Park

Giant slugs, Redwood National Park

July 24, 2012

We set out early for the Lost Coast, as early as it gets for this crew, and headed to the village of Ferndale for breakfast at Poppa Joe's, which happened to deliver the best potatoes I've ever tasted (and locals gambling in the back of the restaurant after scarfing down waffles).

The Lost Coast of California has been a small obsession of mine ever since I heard of it's existence and Mattole Road gets you about as close as you can get to the heart of what the Lost Coast is about. It's a determined and steep and bumpy route that slices right through the territory, from the tiny villages and farms that inhabit this region, to the elevation changes and shifting weather and surreal landscape, and finally, to the Pacific Ocean, which has never felt so untamed and wild as it does out here, where footprints and paths and parking are no where to be found.

You can imagine my excitement as we left Ferndale, the start of Mattole Road, and headed into the heavy fog that enveloped the first several miles of our trip.

By the time we reached the Pacific, the fog was clearing and blue skies emerged.

The stretch of road that runs along the Pacific features a vast collection of wildflowers and rolling sand dunes and enough driftwood to burn for months. We parked off the road and found ourselves alone on a beach that ran on forever without another person around. Stella and I spent most of our exploration catching snails and putting them into little "swimming pools!" that we created. 

In all the time we spent exploring this particular stretch of road along the water, we passed one other vehicle (and it was a Saturday, in the middle of summer). This place really does feel lost.

Stay tuned for more pictures to come, including our five days in Humboldt County and four days drifting around Southern Oregon. And thanks for all the nice comments! :) 

July 18, 2012

We left Mendocino thinking it would be a short drive to Shelter Cove, the primitive hamlet on the Lost Coast. It's 100 miles between the two points, up the Pacific Coast Highway and around the Lost Coast before cutting in on Briceland Thorn Road. Two to three hours, the gas station attendant told me.

It took us seven hours, landing us at our cabin just in time for the setting sun. I think this reality just about sums up how wonderfully interesting Northern California is.

Glass Beach ended up stealing way more time than we imagined, with the endless coves and rocks and enough glass treasures to keep Stella going forever.

And then, out of sheer luck because Stella had to suddenly Pee, halfway between Mendo and Shelter Cove, we ran into this swimming hole. We turned the car around, changed into our suits and spent the afternoon swimming and cliff jumping in the warm waters of the Eel River.

The drive down into Shelter Cove required 1st gear and motion sickness tablets. It's twenty-five miles from no where, tightly pushed up against the Pacific without another paved road in. The google map alone made my adventurous heart melt.

Our cabin overlooked the Ocean and the deck is where we spent most of the evening. When Stella walked into the cabin, she loudly exclaimed, "it's amaaaazzzing!" Enough said.

We lunched the following day at the yummy Cape Mendocino Tea House, where our chef danced between the kitchen and a game of bridge with friends. Good thing we got a taste of the Peach Pie and Chai tea. Lyle and Marylin are retiring August 28th.

The rest of the day was spent exploring Shelter Cove and Black Sands Beach, the trail head for the Lost Coast Trail and home to more black rocks and pebbles than you can imagine.

July 15, 2012

We drove to Oakland amid one hundred degree heat and lots of relaxed conversations only briefly interrupted by feedings, DVD switching, a road trip mandatory stop for ice cream and finally, a memorable dance party in the car as we entered the Bay area.

Our overnight on 44th street in Oakland meant dinner with friends, a chance for Finn and Stella to catch up and some delicious pastries at this co-op.

It was the perfect start to a long journey northwards.

thanks for these photo's, ABI Q. :)

The trip from Oakland to Mendocino included the curvy Highway 128, which boasted giant Redwood groves and a little gem of a town called Boonville.

We pulled into Mendocino around dinner time, and were greeted with a cool breeze and a pretty little cottage, complete with a spiral staircase, wild blackberries, pond and chicken coop.

Our time in the hippie laden town of Mendocino was near perfect, with long walks, good eats and enough exploring to satisfy even Stella.

Next stop: Shelter Cove and the beginning of the Lost Coast!

July 12, 2012