Easily my favorite hike along the coast on this trip and really on any trip ever is the Fern Canyon Lop Trail. It's a little out of the way on very winding roads so beware those who get car sick (oh yeah...we got those) but it is SO worth it and even the car sick kid thought so. After a short walk from the parking lot, hikers find themselves in the throat of a lush green canyon with a winding stream through the middle.
Guess what I'm going to tell you....YES!! Because of my Painted Jacqui Denim Pocket Belt, I had NOTHING in my hands which is the only way to climb the trees and leap over streams in this incredible canyon.
Rough hewn planks set up by the forest service act as easy footbridges to traverse the wet spots.
Every few feet is more beautiful than the last and it's impossible not to take a million pics. Unfortunately, the light which is stunning to our sensitive human eyes, is tough to capture on an iPhone - one of the few places of such stunning beauty where you just have to give up snapping pics and just enjoy it. We like to say we are taking pictures with our minds. Knowing this clearly did not stop me from trying.
This trail and area hold happy memories for me: I first hiked it the weekend my husband proposed - more on that trip down memory lane later.
A very winding road back to the 101 and then another super winding road (sorry kiddo!!) to the next hike on the memory trail brought us the site where the magic happened so long ago: Wedding Rock. Way back when my husband was filming The Majestic and when my film finished, I came to visit. Things were different then: no Covid or heavy security on set so I could come and go as I pleased and we got to enjoy the weekends together. On that beautiful weekend he brought me to Wedding Rock and proposed. Later he claimed the heigh may have been in his favor had I said no but I said yes and we walked back to the parking lot where he opened his trunk to reveal a boom box. Right there in the parking lot we danced to what would be our first dance at our wedding "They Say Falling in Love is Wonderful".
This amazing old inn, The Inn at 2nd & C, has been in business for generations and boasts beloved cat oil paintings in the lobby and old world charm. We LOVED the location in the heart of town and the room was charming. New bathroom amenities took the pain out of the antique ambiance and everything was immaculately clean. The hip staff gave the decor a fabulous edge and the grand ballroom and Phatsy Kliens put this hotel on the top of my list.
We enjoyed after hours dessert (and a Manhattan for me) at the bar. The debonaire manager even allowed my 12 year old into Phasty's before it opened to play the piano! And with that we are sworn repeat customers.
Any place with an "Opera Alley" and colorful murals gets a second look from me. Eureka offers a very cute downtown with loads of wonderful unique shops and restaurants. We especially enjoyed Gabriel's for a delicious late dinner and The Green Lilly for a full breakfast that left us stuffed until 2pm. My favorite shop was Belle Starr where I picked up an unusual new dress - my favorite kind!
Our last stop before the long haul to Oakland and then home to Los Angeles was Glass Beach. Apparently, this site was once a trash dump and so many bottles were dumped here that the otherwise rocky beach became aglow with sea glass. Signs everywhere forbid the collection of sea glass to preserve the bizarre colorful beach but the patrons who frequent this beach clearly ignore these and other legalities and even kindnesses. Buckets of sea glass were being removed from the site. Smoking, spitting, and other general lack of courtesy made what could have been a lovely walk into a stressful game of avoidance. Beware of 1) people taking the whole path and not letting you pass, 2) lots of smoking on the beach, path and parking lot, 3) sexually harassing motorcyclists (yes, even if you have children in tow) and 4) fierce red ground squirrels who are really NOT afraid of you or the motorcyclists. Unless you really love a treasure hunt, I think this adventure can be avoided, especially if those on your journey are prone to car sickness.
With Glass Beach in the rear view mirror, we headed off to see family in Oakland, take a scalding hot shower and rest up for the monotonous route 5 to Los Angeles. The stretch we didn't leave time for offers so much more beauty and fun and we are looking forward to taking that road the next time now that we have this trip in our pocket. Here's to looking ahead!