Northern California Series: Magnificent Redwoods And Coastline
First leg of a 10-day road trip through Northern California starting with Eureka and Trinidad
After the cancellation of my flight on the morning I was to arrive at Eureka (American Airlines sucks), I quickly had to rethink my travel plans and switch airlines pushing me back at least 6 hours to make it to San Francisco and take the last plane leaving for Humboldt County airport. Once in San Francisco, I met up with a friend to begin the first half of a bucket list road trip through the coastline of California. Once the plane was flying over Northern California‘s mountainous and volcanic geography, I was blown away by the grandiosity of this state. Unlike Southern California, this part of the state is primarily rural with its vast unspoiled coastline, redwood forests, and steep mountainous winding roads (and I mean steep).
Humboldt County is part of the Emerald Triangle region, known for its marijuana farms (both legal and illegal ones). It is estimated that there are over 30,000 small farms, mostly family-connected, now forced to compete with the corporate and regulated legalization of cannabis. The growing of cannabis is a way of life for those who live in the triangle in part because of the rural and mountainous landscape and temperate climate. In fact, the smell of cannabis is everywhere, whether you are walking in the town or driving through its many rural communities. Visitors in this part of the region are a combination of boaters, hunters, regular tourists and distributors of cannabis, all important industries for the area’s economy.
City of Eureka
The City of Eureka where we stayed for a couple of days is the county’s largest industrial city surrounded by smaller towns with a history of serving as the region’s logging, fishing and shipping center. It is a bit worn and scrappy with a small restored historic (tourist) district you can walk in a couple of hours with views of the bay. It is a predominately white community with a sprouting Latino and Native Americans’ presence. The city has a midwestern vibe, much like Wisconsin and Oregon. You actually feel you are visiting the Mid-West and not California.
The weather in August was a bit disappointing, consisting of cooler mornings in the low 50s with the afternoons being much warmer and then dipping again to the 50s; definitely a place to always dress in layers.
Inn of 2nd & C
We stayed at a boutique historic hotel built in 1888 known then as the Eagle House and renamed the Inn of 2nd & C, having changed hands at least a half dozen times. Each time undergoing various expansion and rehabilitation, still standing it all of its glory, 133 years later. I simply fell in love with this well-preserved Victorian structure and its many classic furnishings and decorative accents. Actually, I love touring old houses imagining what life was like then with the help of television and movies to take me there.
One of the striking characteristics of the Inn is this amazingly majestic theater/ballroom with a stain-glass ceiling and wrap-around balcony. Your reaction is to immediately plan a party (a big one!). This ballroom invites imagination and celebrations of any kind. The entire building, including its bedrooms are filled with antique furnishings, fireplaces, Victorian photos and paintings, parlor rooms and laced curtains including eco-friendly products and wonderful organic linen to give it a modern day feel and to rest your achy body. I wish these new owners much success in their mission to preserve this unique historic landmark…a true gem for this city.
Eureka Sequoia Redwood Sky Walk
Next day we headed first to the Skywalk and then ventured further north to the town of Trinidad. There are tons of redwoods all over Northern California. What was unique about visiting this particular location was to be able to ascend 100 feet above the forest floor to walk among these giants. The sky walk is 1,104 feet long, requiring no stairs while being ADA compliant (very cool). You feel so much closer to these trees connecting with them spiritually. As you walk through the skywalk, its many platforms and rope bridges, you truly feel very small and unimportant. Mother nature is powerful, wondrous, and an equalizer… the best teacher we humans can have. You are simply in awe of these giant trees that are over thousands of years old. Stepping away from the skywalk was hard as you can easily remain there for hours taking photos and worshipping these redwoods feeling their presence in your mind and heart. Fortunately, there will be more opportunities to see other redwood forests on this trip.
From there, we drove to Trinidad, a small coastal town with about 300 residents, mostly known for its spectacular and pristine coastline and offshore rocks. The views are unspoiled as there are no hotels, casinos or fast-food establishments, just lovely bungalow homes and a pier for fishing boats to come and go. This area was once home to several Indian tribes known today as Cher-Ae Heights Indian Community of the Trinidad Rancheria. As part of our defected history, they became homeless until Congress authorized the purchase of parcels of land for Native Americans, allowing them to remain in this region.
Lunch overlooking the coastline was not the best, the food not so great but the views made up for it. Also, it was quite windy and much cooler, but I had no reason to complain. Got back to the Inn to do some shopping, rest and have dinner. The entire day was a blessing. Over the next several months through December 2021 we will post more stories of this 10- day bucket list trip as part of a series. My photos are of the city of Eureka, the Inn and both the skywalk and the coastline. Click below to see the photos. Click the middle of the photo for a full view.
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