Humboldt County. Lost Coast. The Wild Cat.
I let the dogs out into the beautiful garden. The Little Dog caught and killed a large rat in the orchard. Dude tore it out of his mouth and shook it until its guts were all over his red fur. They looked very pleased with their murderous selves.
Daisy and I huffed and puffed up the steep hill to The Tower. Her father collaborated with local craftsman to build this beautiful space. Originally built to disguise two ten thousand gallon tanks fed by spring water this tower can now be rented (click here) on Airbnb.
Alexander died less than a year ago. It is a strange and wonderful experience living in his comfortable home.
We have been exploring. All weekend we dropped in at community events: private and public parties. The Mattole River Restoration cookout and dance, a wonderful wedding anniversary party where they made their own Grappa in a copper still. A young cook from Oakland roasted pig and served it by an open fire under white canvas awnings.
The following day they called us to taste the gin they had just made in the same still. Last night a local intellectual cooked us home-grown free range chicken and home-made pink grapefruit sorbet. On Sunday morning we bought basil mayonnaise, catnip and tomato starts from the Petrolia Farmers Market.
Most of the Lost Coast is designated wilderness within the Sinkyone Wilderness State Park and the King Range National Conservation Area. Remote beaches backed up by steep cliffs and mountains. King’s Peak reaches an elevation of 4,088 feet only three miles from the Pacific Ocean.
The King Range has risen 66 feet in the last 6,000 years due to the meeting of three tectonic plates: North American, Pacific, and Juan de Fuca, just off the white cap coast. The land on the North American plate is being piled rapidly upward. Its grey crumbly sandstone creating beaches of pristine, black sand.
On the beach we meet a few passers-by. We meet hikers who, by law, keep their food in locked plastic containers. Bear proof. The containers looked like the barrels atomic waste is stored in.
We needed cleaning supplies. We drive an hour to get them. The road from Petrolia to the Victorian town of Ferndale is perhaps one of the most beautiful roads I have ever traveled. Hogweed, ancient ferns and Douglas Fir.
Ferndale was founded by Danish settlers. The 19th century houses are really well-preserved. The history of the town inextricably linked to tinned salmon and logging, both of which have gone forever. The trees cut down, the salmon extinct. We saw two huge trucks loaded with old growth tree trunks but apparently they come from small ‘sustainable’ forests.
Daisy’s father said:
Start with the word “sustainable.” These days fund-raisers and grant-writers string it round each sentence like an adjectival fanny pack, bulging with self-congratulation. Mostly, the term is meaningless or a vague expression of hope. In the case of timber, it’s a haphazard and often highly debatable designation that amounts to little more than a vague pledge that the timber is not virgin old growth.
We stop in at the lumber yard to buy laminated boards for Daisy to paint. We are served by a fresh-faced youth. I ask him if he’ll ever leave Ferndale. He says, he’s a small town boy. He doesn’t want to leave. I understand why.