Saturday, August 3, 2013

Far Northern California Coast

We pulled into Arcata the day after Jerry Garcia’s birthday, which seemed fitting given its location in Humboldt County and the number of stores selling hemp clothing, paper and lotions surrounding the central square. We’d only been there one time before, and I could swear that on that day too there had been an acoustic band in the park gazebo just kicking off a rousing version of Old Crow Medicine Show’s “Wagon Wheel,” a song so good it defies even the most discerning picker not to overplay it.


We sent Luis from Lost World Expedition a taunting Facebook message about being in his home town while he was in Brazil with Lacey and the Landcruiser (new band name?) before heading a bit farther up the coast looking for camping. Our state park luck had finally run out, and after being shut out at Big Lagoon and Patrick’s Point – it was Friday night – we found a private park called Sounds of the Sea that was close by.

We’ve been loading Wynne up into the Bob stroller and doing a 2-ish mile run every other morning on this trip. It actually motivates us to get up a bit early and go see something rather than letting the morning slip away until her nap time. On the south end of Patrick’s Point Park, we found a trail leading down steep stairs to some tide pools. Unfortunately, it wasn’t until we got to the bottom that we realized it was high tide. Oh well, a stair workout would be good for us.


On the north end of the park was Agate Beach, a prime spot for hunting for beach’s namesake, a semi-precious translucent stone polished by the crashing waves. With our all-ruling nap schedule looming, we pulled the trailer into the parking lot, set up the porta crib and web cam baby monitor and took turns with one of us sitting at a picnic table within wi-fi range while the other hiked down to the beach. Another benefit of trailer travel with a toddler.


On the beach, we did what everyone was doing, wandering with our heads down or sitting down to claim a couple square feet, all the while trying to figure out exactly what an agate is.


DSC_1925 DSC_1923

Two small contenders…


Ann took the calculated approach, seeking advice from some willing locals on proper identification. I, on the other hand, loaded the pockets of my shorts so full of any rocks that looked a little shiny that I nearly passed out when I saw the stairs back up to the parking lot. More stairs?!


We think we actually found a few, though in the final analysis, who really cares? They’re all purty.


DSC_1991 DSC_1995


We continued north up the coast, taking in the views of dramatic coastline and estuaries, the road often running right between them. These elk had found a nice spot for some grazing.


DSC_2033 DSC_2023

We ended up at another private park right beside the Klamath River. Not a bad place to spend the early evening hours.


Plus, they had ladder golf! After losing 5 straight games, I finally figured out what was happening. Wynne had been cheating the whole time!

DSC_2086 DSC_2087DSC_2088




Not a bad view the other direction either.


At some point during our evening photo shoot, we realized that Wynne now knows how to smile on command. She’d never done that before. Ann was a bit surprised.


Lately, it’s been harder to get her to sit still for pictures…

DSC_2245 DSC_2241

And though some of the smiles weren’t exactly what one would call “natural”…

DSC_2166 DSC_2167

She’s getting the hang of it…


This was a great little spot on the river and the neighbor said he’d seen a bear on the opposite bank of the river. We also liked the looks of this bottle cap fish scaler.




Tomorrow, into Oregon!