Friday, June 26, 2009
We found the lost coast, sadly it is no longer lost...
One of the most beautiful spots of all the California coast (in my mind) is the small area of land west of Highway 1 (yes in one part of California there is a west of Highway 1) called the Lost Coast. It so called because there is no freeway hugging the beach in this area and thanks to this we have relatively few tourists in that area, mostly backpackers and adventurous campers who stray from the highway. This beautiful stretch of coast is so remote and rugged that the people who build highways for a living thought it was to much of a challenge to put a road through, don't we all wish the whole coast was like that? We decided to check out this area as a precursor to a backpacking trip in the coming weeks. We made it out to the Mattole River at the northern end of the preserve. I think we may start here and hike south for a ways and then explore the mountains a bit before heading back. All to be completed in a mere 3 days, hope our hiking shoes are comfy and waterproof! I've backpacked here before but it remains one of the best trips of my life, one I would love to repeat, one I hopefully will get to return to in the next few weeks. Well back to our trip around the lost coast... We stayed at a really nice county park along the Mattole River just inland near Honeydew. This campground surely is a lost jewel. Who knew that a county park could have such a nice campground. It was right on the river and the campsites were really spaced out, if anyone is in the area A.W. Way County Park should be on your list of places to stay. The next day we drove over the mountains to Humboldt Redwoods State Park where there was one or two massive trees. Well maybe like one or two million! We did a small hike and hurried on to the Eel River so we could relax, wash up and get some sun. Instead of going to a known swimming spot we just randomly drove down the highway looking for something that looked promising... and after 4 or 5 stops we found a great spot off 101 that took some work getting down to. It was some random pull off (I wont tell you where) that we hiked through some brush and scolding hot sand to get to that I don't think many other people ever see, unless its from the road. It was a great little spot, couldn't see much of the highway and we knew no one else would make that trip down without us seeing them first. The water was not freezing and the sun was out which made for a delightful few hours. Driving home we started looking for restaurants to eat at and wound up in Myers Flat at this winery called Riverbend Cellars. That was one of those random life encounters where afterwards you say to yourself, what??? We learned the life history of the wine pourer (he's an electrical engineer from Chicago who walked and hitched his way across the US without any money). He was a bit odd but really friendly and the complete opposite of so many wine people in Sonoma and Napa. We lost a bet to him about the distance from Myers Flat to Arcata so we had to buy a bottle of wine but thanks to Nicole's haggling skills we walked away without having to pay a tasting fee. Way to go Honey :)
This little plot of dirt surrounded by cinder blocks basking in the sun has taught me a valuable lesson regarding life and food. I shall no longer take for granted the overly simple act of grocery shopping for I have now planted my own food. I can see all the hard work it takes to bring 1 strawberry to the store and how that 1 strawberry should be cherished and not wasted uselessly. This garden was by no means easy or more cost effective than buying all our own organic veggies. We have spent a good deal of money buying supplies and dirt and even waged outright war on the invading snails who want to eat our rewards! The effort and money has been put in, now time to wait for the sweet benefits of our little plot of land. This garden has given us a starting point to further learn how to support ourselves. Now a 6 foot by 4 foot garden is not nearly enough space to grow all we need but we are learning the tools to one day grow all our own crops and have no more worries about chemicals in our foods, where our food came from or how much energy was input to grow what we are eating. All the energy we want to rely on is our backs, brains and the sun! Heres to hoping everyone has the chance to have a backyard garden and learn a thing or two about plants, food and life.
The Garden Retreat Cottage (Home)
Our home is not just where we sleep, eat and spend the down time of our day. It is a retreat from life and worries, a base camp for our explorations of Arcata and greater Humboldt County. A comfortable nook nestled in a beautiful garden to stage our lives as we see fit, free from the constraints of neighbors and lousy room mates. Free from the sound of passing vehicles and honking horns. Free from mean landlords and ugly parking lots. From our garden retreat we cannot see nor hear the road and are thus slightly removed from life outside, even if for just the moment. We are completely content in our 300 square foot castle, not cramped, not looking for anything better and not looking to move away for the time being. I love this cottage because it is the first place I have felt like was a home to me and not just simply a house in a long time. I live with a beautiful woman I call shmoo who is clean, thinks like me and likes my cooking. What more could I ask for?