Marine fog layers from the Humboldt Bay deposit their moisture on the foothills of the Trinity Alps, which is one of the reasons the giant redwoods exist only along the extreme northern California coastline. Climbing east on highway 299 toward Willow Creek elevates us within just 10 miles/16 km above the fog and reveals a clear blue California sky and temperatures 20F/10C degrees warmer than on sea-level. This is a beautiful and bizarre landscape.
The Trinity River between Weaverville and Burnt Ranch has carved a deep and steep canyon that offers plenty of outdoor activities including rafting. The Trinity Alps Wilderness, the second larges wilderness in California, extends to the north providing a gazillion hiking trails reaching up to 9000 ft/ 2700 m. The Trinity River flows into the wild and scenic Klamath River which runs into the Pacific Ocean approximately 50 miles/80 km north of Arcata. Starting in Willow Creek, Highway 97 follows the Klamath River east for 130 miles/210 km to the town of Yreka. One can still see people along the river making a living by panning and sluicing gold. The landscape is varied and beautiful and does not conform with the California picture promoted around the world. There are no palm trees, no neon signs, no endless strip malls, no clogged highways and for sure no high-rises. This is California’s best, I love this place.
We checked out the Mad River Brewery in Arcata and enjoyed their Jamaica Red Ale and their Redwood Stout. Both beers were excellent and the food served was good. By chance I discovered a new seasonal beer from the Lost Coast Brewery in Eureka; the Winterbraun. I always was of the opinion that the Downtown Brown from the Lost Coast Brewery is one of the best micro brews in the USA. Well, the Winterbraun is better.
On a hike in the Trinity Alps close to Willow Creek, our dog Dublin rolled in something better unknown, which left a truly disgusting smell. The dog however seemed to think that the smell was perfectly ok. A wash with the outdoor shower prior to entering the motorhome was required and he kind of carried a light touch of the aroma for a few days. But we still love him.
After more than one year of traveling across the country we know that a significant number of low-income families are living permanently on campgrounds and RV parks. While we can all agree that living in a recreational vehicle is better than living under a bridge, it is also clear that most of these people did not choose to live in these spaces. Their socio-economic situation has forced them to abandon more traditional living arrangements and a lot of them are not happy about that, in fact, they are angry. As such they contribute to the huge pool of angry people in this country.
In preparation for our stay in the Bay Area we learned that pretty much all RV parks are full. There are not a large number of RV parks in the Bay Area in the first place and the few that exist are full. Which is probably correlating well to the tight housing market in and around San Francisco. One place in Marin along highway 101 had spaces available and quoted us a price of $762 per week, approximately $3200 per month. Really? The fact that they got the stones to quote us such a price tells me that we collectively have lost our minds. Lastly we found a site on the Alameda Fairground RV Park in Pleasanton for a reasonable price and with connection to BART.
Last but not least, we took a walk through the cute Victorian community of Ferndale were we had a very dog-friendly lunch and saw a photographer’s shop that displayed a number of funny photo-shopped images. I liked these two: