Saturday, June 27, 2015

Ocean, and Redwoods, and Bears! Oh My!

 This past week, my sister Laura and I headed up north for a sisters' mini-retreat up in Humboldt County.  We stayed in the town of Eureka, which is about 5 hours straight north of San Francisco.  We'd rented a cozy little house in a neighborhood full of little old 1930's houses, and we spent 5 days exploring and hanging out and taking pictures and generally having a good time.  

To get there, we got to drive through a lot of redwood forests.  There's a wonderful stretch of road called "Avenue of the Giants" where you cruise along with huge redwood trees towering on either side of you.  It's gorgeous, and it smells really good too.

 Along the way, we saw an assortment of wonderfully tacky tourist spots. And we stopped at almost every one.  Because, you know, it's a vacation thing to do.

My favorite was this one, "Confusion Hill."  What's not to like about a place called Confusion Hill?!  Apparently it's one of those mysterious places where water appears to run uphill and gravity seems wonky. We didn't venture back to that part of the attraction.  We were distracted by the carved redwood bears.

Do they have these in other areas of the country?  I think of them as a California redwood forest thing. Anyway, we admired the various poses and skill (or lack thereof) in making good bear faces.

My sister decided that she wanted to get a small one for her front porch, so we set out to check out all the bears along the way so she could pick the best one.  After various stops and much scrutiny of different bears, she decided she liked the Confusion Hill bears the best -- which meant we'd stop on the way home. Oh boy, more Confusion ahead!

I used to drive up to Eureka several times a year when I was taking a long-term bookbinding course up that way, and I always wanted to stop at this Grandfather Tree place (because, as you can tell by now, I love these sorts of tourist spots) but never had the time.  This time, we stopped.

And it was one huge tree.  The statistics were rather mind-boggling.

 At the Grandfather Tree place, I spotted the bear I'd have taken home... if he'd been for sale, if I could have afforded him, if he'd have fit in the car. (And the answer to all of those was "no.")  But I liked his look of stoic wisdom.

Then we were back on the road, to see more redwood trees.

About 5 hours after leaving home, we made it to our little cottage.  We found this place through VRBO, and we both had the same reaction -- it looked like our grandmothers' house, and brought back a lot of childhood associations. It turned out to be charming -- not fancy, not updated especially, but clean and comfortable with a grandma's house sort of vibe. 

What did we do while we there there?  Stay tuned!


  1. Love the Bears! and I have a "grandma house"! Can't wait to hear the rest of the story!

  2. Ha! Nostalgic post for me!! Mr C and I were laughing on our way to Glacier National Park as we saw a mystery spot in almost every state.

  3. Chainsaw art is so under appreciated by the art world. Hope you have a great time. Is the Samoa Cook House still in business? Best fried chicken and mashed potatoes in memory.