|Lady Bird Johnson Grove. I think the fog makes my photo look like a painting.|
The redwood curtain is what they call the redwood thick highways that lead up to and border the very Northern part of California and separate it from the rest of the state. This area is a true dichotomy, a mix a liberal hippies and loggers. We just returned from our yearly trek up to the top of California, to Humboldt County about 300 miles north of San Francisco. My husband Max grew up in Trinidad, a beautiful small beach town up there. His step-mom Marguerite, lives in the college town Arcata and his mother in the Victorian lined and hilly Eureka, both in Humboldt. We stayed there and met up with his sister Amara, from Washington. It’s a long 7 hour drive above the Bay Area, but so gorgeous. Each time I go, I appreciate even more the beauty of this very unique area. Funny though, how most Californians have not been up to Humboldt. Ask anyone and they know where it is, but it’s the rare person who has actually been up here.
Since the drive is a bit of a haul, I try to find unique spots to stop at on the way up. Heading out you know it’s going to be a nice day when you cross the bridge and the fog’s burning off.
My latest find is the town of Ukiah. It’s about at the half-way point of the drive. They have a bakery I am in love with. Schat’s is a treasure! It’s been run by a Dutch family that has been in the bread business a long time. They have the most fresh and amazing sandwiches. I had a caesar salad wrap- yum. Also they make artisanal breads (amazing!), baked goods and Peet’s coffee. Get off at the Perkins Street exit in Ukiah off 101 and follow the signs to downtown. If you head up that way on a Saturday check out the darling farmer’s market, The Mendocino Bookstore and a cool shop called Habitat.
Driving up 101 you pass through wine country (that’s a whole post itself), and hit the rolling foothills covered in oak trees. That’s the beginning of the North Coast Redwoods and the towns of Willits, Laytonville, Garberville and others. It gets a little funkier and you start seeing lots of shops like this…
|All your tie dye needs can be met up this way 🙂 In Laytonville.|
This is also where you start to see lots of, “indoor gardening,” and solar stores and the beginning of hitchhikers! Yep, they are still around all over up here. One scruffy group of hitchers had a heart on their cardboard sign that read, “We don’t bite!” OMG! I just wish I had the camera for that. My boys were like,”What??”
The whole thing brings me back to my childhood days driving to Santa Cruz with hitchhikers all over highway 17. I am here to report the 1970s are still alive and thriving up in the North Coast! That is not an exaggeration. Folks are still embracing peace, love and the braless look up there big time too. Not that I was looking, but you know sometimes it’s like you just can’t help noticing how umm, natural everyone is up here. It’s a bit different….People we have left the bubble!
Last summer my boys went to surf camp at Moonstone Beach. It is also in Trinidad and a great beach to learn at because of it’s shallow entry. The only thing is you’ll need to wear a full wet suit. Even in summer!
Past Trinidad, about a half hour North is Fern Canyon, part of Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. On this trail, you follow a stream for about a mile over footbridges and logs. The walls all around you are up to 80 feet high with ferns and waterfalls. This is where Jurassic Park 2 was filmed. It’s truly one of the gems of Northern Cal and possibly the world. I don’t know of anyplace remotely like this. These pictures just don’t do it justice. It’s hard to see the waterfalls in them.
You can see the massive size of these trees standing next to them…
And looking up! Can you believe this was a phone camera? Very foggy that day.
Some hijinks with Max’s sister Amara and her husband Brian!
We found hobbits too!
My husband could not resist!
The forest here is filled with wild roses and rhododendrons!
Next up, I’ll show you the rest of the trip!
I just love sharing this very undiscovered part of Northern California!
All photos Northern California Style.