Travel Magazine

Humboldt County: Redwoods, Seashore, and California History

By Carolinearnoldtravel @CarolineSArnold

Humboldt County:  Redwoods, Seashore, and California History

Sunset from Trinidad, Humboldt County, California

Vast forests, miles of beaches, rushing rivers, and abundant wildlife are some of the reasons I love going to Humboldt County.   Every two years, in October, I participate in the Humboldt County Author Festival, and usually stay one or two extra days to spend time with friends and enjoy the beautiful scenery.  This year, unlike some others, we were blessed with perfect weather, allowing us to enjoy the full glory of fall, culminating on the last night of the festival with a spectacular sunset over the ocean.
To read about my school visits and activities during the festival, go to my October 26, 2011post in my Art and Books blog.  Here are some of the other things I enjoyed during my stay.

Humboldt County:  Redwoods, Seashore, and California History

Humboldt Marina.  Tsumanis are always a potential danger along the Pacific Coast.

On the day I arrived, after lunch at the Café Marina overlooking the docks of Humboldt Bay in Eureka, I drove with a friend out to the Samoa Dunes recreation area.  Although this beach is designated as an off road vehicle area, it was midweek, and luckily for us there was almost nobody else there and the beach was empty except for us and the birds.  As we walked along the shoreline, flocks of perky sanderlings (a type of sandpiper), ran along the edge of the water searching for tiny crabs and other food in order to refuel before resuming their migration south.   Further up the shore, hungry vultures perched on a log near a rotting seal carcass.

Humboldt County:  Redwoods, Seashore, and California History

Flock of Sanderlings on Samoa Beach

Earlier in the day, on our way to the dunes we had stopped to view the Fisherman Memorial on Woodley Island and marker honoring men who have been lost at sea.  Fishing has always been a major industry in the area, so the opportunities to eat good seafood in Humboldt County are plentiful. For dinner we ate an excellent dinner at the Waterfront Restaurant in Eureka where they served the best crab cakes I’ve had in a long time.

Humboldt County:  Redwoods, Seashore, and California History

View of Ferndale from Russ Park

Farming and logging are other major industries in Humboldt County.  (Eighty percent of the county’s 2.3 million acres is forest.)  When the festival was over, I went to visit friends in Ferndale, a charming small town with a Victorian main street, about 25 miles from Eureka surrounded by verdant pastures and contented Jersey cows that produce prize winning milk and cheese.  In Russ Park at the edge of town we hiked to the top of the forest trail where we had a wonderful view of the valley and coast below.

Humboldt County:  Redwoods, Seashore, and California History

Redwood grove, Rohner Park, Fortuna.  Note stump surrounded by new growth.

The next day we went on another hike, through a patch of preserved redwood forest in Rohner Park in the nearby town of Fortuna.  Humboldt County is famous for its redwood trees, which can be seen in various parks, and along the Avenue of the Giants in the southern part of the county.  I never cease to be amazed at the size of the trees.  As we walked through the forest at Rohner Park, watching the light filter down through the canopy onto the open forest floor, it truly felt as if we were in nature’s cathedral.
Book about the redwoods: For a wonderful children’s book about redwood trees, packed full of facts and illustrated with an imaginative twist, go to Redwoods by Jason Chin.

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