05/18/21 - Mount Shasta to Portland and Home

We made it home. We had a stop in Mount Shasta and stayed at yet another comfortable Best Western Plus and ate on the patio of the hotel restaurant. We had great burgers with great fries and onion rings. We had a view of Mount Shasta in the distance, but we were in no shape physically or mentally to climb it. Fourteen thousand feet is a lot.

The next day, we pressed on to Portland. We expected the worst. Downtown was quiet. Our hotel, the Heathman, was open, but minimally staffed. There were two people who worked the desk, parked cars, assisted with the luggage, answered the phones, made reservations and so on. Our suite was designed to be a corporate hospitality suite with a fireplace, television monitor, heavy duty LAN router, wet bar and a wine cellar. Wine is a big business in the area.

We ate nearby at Southpark Seafood. They had set up outdoor dining on the street. We were under a marquee and had a powerful electric heater for added warmth. Wanting variety, we had the Chilled Seafood Feast, a collection of oysters, shrimp, dungeness crab and ahi poke. Then we had the paella with halibut, clams, shrimp, peas and bomba rice. Maybe we were missing the seafood of home.

We wandered around the neighborhood and dropped into Kinokuniiya, a Japanese book store where we bought wrapping paper and pencil cases. The streets were quiet, but not deserted. It felt like the central business district that it was, after business hours.

Mount Shasta

Southpark Seafood - our first urban restaurant of the COVID era

A former theater, things change

Now a Japanese bookstore - Kinokinuya

We haven't been in a bookstore for years thanks to Amazon.

Signs in the window

A quiet city park

A quiet urban plaza

A skateboarder making the most of it

A fountain outside our hotel

Our room

Keywords: california, oregon

05/17/21 - West County Trail from Forestville

We weren't up to much, so we took a short walk on the West County Trail near our hotel. We drove into Forestville, a small town with a variety of shops including a high end coffee shop, hardware store, various wine tasting rooms, restaurants and a laundromat. The trail was flat, paved, easy going, and clearly a converted railroad right of way. It ran through fields, backyards, and vineyards. One vineyard even had a sign encouraging trail users to drop in for a tasting.

We saw lots of grapevines all neatly trimmed, nice and tight on their supports. We also saw a hellebore in bloom, several butterflies and a patch of dill gone feral. It always pays to keep one's eyes open, even on a tame trail like this one.

The West County Trail


More of the trail - It screams ex-railroad.

A trailside field


Some forest

A curious plant

A curious butterfly

A cute Pixar alien or some local berries

More vineyards

More of the trail

Keywords: california

05/16/21 - Mount Taylor

Energized, the next day we climbed Mount Taylor. We drove a short way to Santa Rosa and started our ascent. This was quite different country from the redwoods. Everything was drier. The grass was already brown, and clusters of trees followed the drainage looking for water.

The lower part of the hike was dry grassland, but here and there the trail passed through wooded areas. We climbed the broad grassy hill to the stile and then passed into a shaded forest with short knotted trees. The shade was a welcome relief from the brilliant sky.

The trail turned, and we could see Pacific Ocean mist in the distance and the open land for miles around. Datura was in bloom in among the grasses, and there were ripe wild strawberries waiting for us in one of the shaded patches.

We made it to the cairn at the summit. It was a pretty view. It was dry, and we were glad we had brought water. The descent was easier. We just followed the land. We used to be regular visitors to Napa and Sonoma Counties, but it had been years since our last visit. We were rewarded for our return with familiar sights and familiar land.

Dry grasslands and clustered trees


More flowers

A distant mountain

A shaded area

More shade and twisted trees

The trail

The forest

Back in the sun

More flowers

Another open field

A more distant view

More dry grass

The trail goes on

Still a touch of green

A summit view

Seen on the way down

Wild strawberries, a real treat

A California poppy

Keywords: california, flowers

05/15/21 - Farmhouse Inn in Sonoma

The next day, we made it to the Farmhouse Inn in Forestville with time to spare. We did nothing except lounge around, get massages and dine at the hotel. The hotel grounds are charming and restful, and, for at least one day, more than sufficient.

The Farmhouse Inn

Lots of charm

Our port in a storm

The pool - we actually took a swmi

Excellent gardening

Another view

The firepits - s'mores every evening

Another view

A view of our building

The Farmhouse Inn again - We just lolled around.

Our patio

Keywords: california

05/14/21 - Mad Dash to Garberville

We had hiked enough. We were exhausted. We had a long drive from Orick to Sonoma the next day. We knew it was going to be a long drive, so we were dreading it. We decided to grasp the nettle and leave a bit early and stop somewhere along the route south. We had leftovers in our cold chest and fuel in our tank.

We headed south on 101 with a detour through part of the Avenue of the Giants. The giants in that name were more redwoods, and this stretch of highway was lined with them. Instead of shoulders, there were redwoods. This was not a highway built for speed, so we slowed down and enjoyed our last sojourn in a redwood forest.

We stopped in Garberville which made us feel naked arriving by car rather than motorcycle and lacking a leather jacket and a guitar. The photo of the view from our room is a cheap shot. The hotel was clean, quiet and well air conditioned. The beds were comfortable. In fact, we had our best night of sleep for the entire trip, all twelve hours of it. We recommend the Best Western Plus in Garberville highly, and it is probably even better if you arrive on a motorcycle wearing a leather jacket and carrying a guitar.

The Avenue of the Giants

More giants

Wow, even more giants

Those giants are huge!

The view from our extremely comfortable room, courtesy of Google Maps

Keywords: california

05/13/21 - Lady Bird Johnson Grove and Trinidad Head

We were tired from our hike the previous day, but we headed out anyway. First, we explored Lady Bird Johnson Grove, a short trail in the hills not far from house. Again, there were amazing redwoods all around us. It was an easy trail, but we could feel it. Still, the beauty of the forest pulled us on.

Then, we headed down to the town of Trinidad on the coast and hiked the Trinidad Head Loop. This started right in town, but we quickly ascended and entered a garden maze of high bushes and thick foliage. The trail climbed, and we felt we were alone on the trail as it twisted and followed the terrain. Here and there, we had views of the sea, the beach near town and the coastline.

We considered trying yet another hiking trail. The redwoods are full of trails, and there are other trails along the sea and around the various coastal lagoons. There were even trails that led from the coast to the higher forests or the other way around. We didn't try any of them. We were plumb tuckered out.

The forest floor

One of the many redwoods, a truly massive tree

Another redwood

More of the charms of the forest

Yet another redwood: Lady Bird Johnson would have been smiling.

The redwood forest

More of the undergrowth

A view from Trinidad head

A view from higher up

Like a garden maze

A fascinating trail

Keywords: trails, california

05/12/21 - West Ridge and Prairie Creek Trails

We woke up in Orick with elk in our front yard, as advertised. We were in the redwoods, so we did a forest hike, a loop combining two trails starting not far from our cabin. We took the high road out and went north on the West Ridge Trail and returned on the low road via the Prairie Creek Trail. We crossed a small stream, possibly Prairie Creek itself, then climbed into the redwood forest. We were surrounded by great trees, woodland flowers and enclosure of the forest itself.

The trail climbed quickly at first, then more slowly. Some of the trees were immense. There is no way to capture their size in a photograph. We have some big trees back home in Olympic National Park, but the scale here was different despite the familiar ferns and flowers.

We descended on the appropriately named Zig-Zag trail, then entered an overgrown section with high bushes and some swamp land. We headed back on the Prairie Creek Trail which followed the road at some distance. We crossed a few bridges, but one bridge was completely out. Luckily, the stream wasn't high, so we stepped from rock to rock and crossed dry shod.

The trail was busier as we neared the end. Since it followed the road, people could stop at one of the parking lots and head a short way to see some fantastic trees. There were several fallen trees as we neared the end of the trail, each carved with a tunnel high enough and wide enough for the trail to pass. It was a wonderful, exhausting hike.

Dinner was takeout, a pair of New York strip steaks from the The Larrupin Cafe. We started with a salad, roasted garlic, tapenade and toast points. Then there were the steaks with mushrooms and marsala and a blue cheese dressing. It was a great meal to celebrate a great hike.

One order of elk

Not shamrocks - Though, given the size of the redwoods, they are appropriately huge.

More undergrowth

False Solomon's seal

The dappled forest

More trilliums and their forest friends

One of the big trees

More forest

A banana slug

The swamplands

One of the bridges

Keywords: flowers, trails, california