the redwoods

[August 28 – September 3]

The drive North out of the Bay Area was far more pleasant than most of the drive to get to California. The 101 was friendly and mellow; we caught an early Indian lunch in San Rafael, then wound our way up through Mendocino where we steadily saw more trees and less people. Once we crossed into Humboldt we found an amazing little wonderland of a natural grocer in Garberville when we stopped there for gas. Finally we made it up to Jim and Mary’s place up near Fortuna, overlooking a lush dairy valley halfway into Humboldt.

This was our first real chance to relax on the trip without much on our agenda other than chilling out and hiking (although Heather got stuck doing some rejiggering of her belongings while I spent more time out). Jim has built a long winding loop trail around his property, so we walked that almost every day. We got to enjoy picking and eating chanterelle mushrooms from one of the patches by the trail. They’ve also got an amazing little garden so all of our dinners were full of delicious, fresh-picked veggies!

On top of all that nature, we went on three hiking excursions all around Humboldt. Guthrie Creek, to the Grove of the Titans near Mill Creek, and to Fern Canyon. The Grove was a particular highlight – it is in a semi-secret location and is home to several of the most massive redwoods on the planet. Eating lunch while sitting at the base of the biggest one (The Lost Monarch) was awe-inspiring.

Since we were the real Northern California we also sampled some of the local flavor with a visit to Mycality Mushrooms, a small mushroom farm which happened to be having a factory tour. A trip to Humboldt wouldn’t be complete without checking out some of their fantastic breweries, this time around it was time for Eel River and Mad River. Despite being so small and off the beaten path, the treats in Humboldt are world class.

On our last day of relaxation and downtime we packed up and went up to beautiful Fern Canyon, one of my favorite places to visit. Luckily it was cool outside so leaving Midori in the car for a couple hours wasn’t an issue. We parted ways with our friends at the beach and then drove up to Oregon for the last leg of our roadtrip.

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