Early this month I left Crescent City for a brief return to Santa Cruz. It was a slow journey- I first had to stop at the Kamath River bridge and see the Gray whale who had been in the river for weeks, then I had to stop for a herd of Elk around Prairie Creek. Better than stopping for traffic! You can read more about the end of this whale’s story here.
I found my old home welcoming and bubbling with activity. The garden was in great shape and the dahlias grander than ever. Thanks Lavinia!
My furry black friend was also quite please to have me home.
It was a fabulous feeling to see my friends again and reconnect with a social aspect of life. Life in my little hamlet on the Smith River is fairly isolated. I have had a few guests come through, and I take trips into surrounding areas and explore the river and trails. It has left me plenty of time to explore my own ethics of rural living too.
A common complaint of Del Norte County transplants is that they hated the traffic in the places they came from and here there is none. It’s true, driving here can be a relaxing activity and there’s plenty of road side sight seeing. But because I’m living rurally, I’m having to spend more time in my car than ever before in my life. The roads into Crescent City aren’t the safest to ride and it’s farther than I would want to ride for destination errands. My closest mini-market is about 5 miles away! The only walks from my house are for pleasure. Don’t get me wrong. I love it that I can walk out my front door and into State Park land along a beautiful river.
Many people I’ve met are transplants, some even from Santa Cruz, and most seem to be looking at their move through the same perspective, which makes me wonder for myself, Why did I want to live in a rural setting? I had been looking for this for some time now. Some part of me recognizes the desire to just extract myself from that which I don’t like. Leaving the noise of traffic and hassle of so many people behind is an easy way to deal with what we don’t like. I have so often struggled with the dilemma of rural vs. concentrated living for so many ecological reasons. Until now the option to bike or walk everywhere and regular interaction with people has always won out over quiet isolation of the country side. Considering our lifestyle choices is something many of my friends debate. The experiment goes on…
The biggest bonus of going home was seeing my two Aunts from Texas reunited with my Mom. The three of them headed off to Cayucos to spend a week at the Livingston beach house and I’m pretty certain they only stopped chatting while they slept, if they slept.
Late in the week my friend Hannah and I escaped to Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite National Park for a bit of climbing and soaking up some alpine glow.
Now I’m back on the Smith River and ready to tackle my work projects and continue exploring the trails and riverways. The August/September Adventure Sports Journal is out, but you won’t see my article in the online version. You’ll have to pick it up at your favorite spot in town to read the “Scoop on Poop” and find out what the newest leave no trace guidelines are about shitting in the woods, and anywhere else outside.