When hubby Tom asked me if I wanted to go out of town to celebrate my 55th birthday with a hike I didn’t hesitate to say yes! It’s a chance to get away from daily life, the phone, chores, laundry and so on. There is something so peaceful about being out in nature. I love the smells of the forest, the sounds of the critters that live there, the majesty of the trees and the greenery. He planned a great get-a-way for us to drive north up the California coast to Arcata. We spent time there last year and loved everything about the area.
Hubby Tom rented this cute little cottage for us. It looks old and rustic on the outside but it was actually a new building made to look old. Inside it was mostly new and shiny! I say mostly because they used an old porcelain sink in the kitchenette and an old door on the bathroom. These touches added some charm and character to the cottage. It had beautiful wood floors through out and no shoes allowed inside – which is how we live at home so that was perfect. The only thing we didn’t like was the rocky path from the driveway to the cottage. The accommodations were a nice departure from the sterile environment of a hotel and we enjoyed having the use of a kitchen while being away from home.
Our first stop after dinner was the North Coast Co-op in Arcata. I adore this store. They carry so many wonderful plant based/vegan foods. The little mini grocery carts are the cutest thing ever. It was Tuesday which meant it was Senior Discount Day and hubby got to take advantage of his first senior discount since turning 60! The customers and cashiers gave him high fives for this milestone – that’s how they do things in Arcata! Everyone is super friendly there – it’s that small town friendliness that I love. We picked up the vegan smores kit and the locally made tofu veggie burgers. There were tons of vegan/plant based cookies and sweets in the bakery department. So much variety – why can’t my local stores be more like this?
The next morning was my birthday and we headed up North of Arcata to the Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. I wanted to go on the Fern Canyon Trail that we had hiked last year. We actually hooked up with several different trails to make a day of it. This time we did the hike in reverse just to make it different. During the cool part of the day we hiked through the prairie where there was little to no shade. We enjoyed two waterfalls that were a short hike from the prairie trail and soaked in the cool air surrounding them.
Just as we were entering the edge of the forest from the prairie trail we suddenly heard branches crashing off in the distance and suspected that a Roosevelt elk was nearby. We quietly moved along to a clearing and watched this magnificent creature eating his greens! We used the zoom lens to snap some shots and it looks like we are a lot closer than we actually were. The elk roam freely in this habitat and it’s not uncommon to see a heard along the beach as we witnessed last year.
Here are a few fun facts about the coast redwood trees!
The coast redwood is the tallest living thing on earth.
Only about 5% of the world’s old-growth redwoods exist today – that is due to logging.
More than 95% of the world’s old-growth redwoods are in California.
Of those older old-growth redwoods still in existence, about 80% are protected in parks and reserves.
With hubby Tom’s smart planning in the heat of the afternoon we were shaded by the canopy of the forest. The deeper you hike into the forest the more lush it becomes. The scenery on this trail is awe-inspiring. At every turn we found ourselves oohing and aahing! We only saw a couple other hikers. It’s a shame more people don’t experience the lushness of this trail but on the other hand we enjoyed having it mostly all to ourselves. We hike with our Black Diamond hiking poles which make a huge difference on our knees.
Once we were under the thick canopy we experienced the cool dampness of a rain forest as the giant trees rained on us off and on keeping the forest floor damp and dust free. There are seven different kinds of ferns that flourish in fern canyon. The forest floor is full of activity from salamanders and slugs so you have to keep an eye on where you step. We could hear birds singing and saw a few flying around. It’s the most lush, cool and quiet places to hike that we have been to. I love it! It was around 6:00 by the time we got off the trail and made it back to our car.
The next day we decided to stay more local to Arcata. We explored the Arcata Community forest which is located adjacent to Humbolt University. Its super poplular with the locals and the day we were there it was bustling with activity. There was a kids summer day camp using the park. A ropes course in the park was active as well as a frisbee golf course. People were biking, riding horses and walking their dogs. Although the trails there are well used it was still lovely and lush.
One of the draws to this area of California is that on any given day you can enjoy the ocean as well as the forest. The ocean views are spectacular. The tree lined trail on the lower right went out to the ocean. Don’t you just love the sound of the waves crashing against the rocks?
I just noticed that I used a couple pictures twice in my collages! Oh well, it’s too much work to go back and re do them now. I got a new Dell lap top computer with a touch screen and Windows 8.1. It was here waiting for me when we got back home from our trip. I am learning how to use this new operating system and adjusting to a new computer. Thank goodness my son in law who is a computer genius is living with us right now so I have easy access to help. Believe me I need a lot of help learning all this new computer stuff!
Our daughter Katy and her hubby Esau bought a house but the seller needed to rent back from them so until they can move into their house they are staying with us. We are enjoying having them here and getting to spend so much time with them. Katy and I have had fun in the kitchen together. She loves to cook plant based meals and she has been creating all of kinds of incredible meals for us. Life is good!
In my next post I will share some of the amazing food we enjoyed while on our trip. It’s so easy to eat a plant based vegan diet while traveling along the California Coast.
Happy Healthy Trails
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What have been the highlights of your summer?