Fort Bragg was my second nights stay on the impromptu roadtrip I took back in January, when I was in North California. It started with the longing to see mountains (I should probably re-name this blog “I freakin’ love Mountains!” ) and so I headed in the direction of Mt Shasta. And then from there I decided I might as well loop up into Oregon, and then down the coastline, just to see what I might find. The weather was amazing for January, sunny skies, high 70’s, cool breeze. Pretty much perfect weather for a roadtrip of any kind. So after having driven from Yrka, CA up through Oregon (which i’ll post about…eventually) and then down through and past Crescent City and the Avenue Of Giants (lovely places, will post about soon as well!) I ended up crashing for the night in Ft. Bragg. A penpal I had met on Tumblr told me about how she wanted to visit here, for the glass beach and something about the way she described it to me made me decide to make it somewhere I would explore.
Waking up after having spent a night at the Emerald Dolphin Inn (really great, restful night there, and fantastic glass souvenirs, mostly dolphins yes, but beautiful nonetheless) I headed towards the beach. I was told for the best views to head back to the start of town, and take a left when I got to the Denny’s at the corner of the street. A short drive down a narrow, cracked pavement road I found myself at a dirt parking lot with few cars, and even fewer people, which for me, was perfection. It was just a short walk down a bumpy trail to the coastline, with the sun rising slowly behind me to greet the sea in a gentle and familiar way.
I had just recently been at another beach just a few days ago, in San Francisco, looking out towards the Golden Gate with Sausalito and Tiburon winking in out of site depending on where you stood but this….. this was something better. The feeling of being somewhere more pure and closer to the true ocean, being on the kind of beach that made you think of shipwrecks and sirens rather than sunny beach balls and games of sand volleyball. That intense awareness of every step you took on the glittery sands, sunlight dipping in and out of the rocky crevices, pools of water deep and shallow and reaching back to the source. I know it’s not for everyone, and I can’t say I haven’t found beauty and peace on lovely tropical beaches before ( Puerto Cortez, Honduras was a paradise), but this time I was looking for something else besides calm and peace. I was looking for an fierce and yet enthralling landscape that could mirror the thoughts I had been trying to figure out since I flew out to California at the start of that trip, and it’s amazing to think I could have driven right through this small town and never thought to go exploring at the Glass Beach if it wasn’t for the words of a lovely penpal who I had the fortune of meeting only a week or so earlier.
I really hope I can go back one day soon and just spend a couple of days there, the whole town was fascinating. ( cont. in pt 2 “Skunk trains and Main St.” )
I haven’t been posting much lately as my plans for world domination (and my day job) have been eating up bigger chunks of my time than normal. I spent the last day off I had surrounded by notecards, fabric and shredded pieces of paper, piecing together plot summaries, character studies and setting ideas for my novel, texting friends in the middle of the night to ask if ” love quadrangles are over-rated?”. And while I have still yet to edit all the photos I took from my trip in January, my body twitches and shakes for another adventure. Soon, maybe? I’m considering plans for a 2 weeks roadtrip up through Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, with the goal of Glacier National Park, but we’ll see.
For now though, Northern Texas is quite lovely and it’s tumultuous skies that threaten to break reality help keep my wanderlust contained.
I’ve spent time in the daunting Rockies, seen the Smokies in their quiet glory, but Mt Shasta and it’s rolling foothills is still one of my most favorite places that I’ve visited when it comes to seeking mountains in the US.
It was a few days after the start of this New Year that I made the journey from San Francisco ( see my post Up In The Woods ) to this lovely mountain and it’s intensely quiet benevolence. There weren’t many (if any) people around when I got to this quiet spot by the lake, the weather a bit on the chilly side and the sun making its steady descent towards night, and so I was able to enjoy the time I spent here in calm solitude.
I live most of the year in an area surrounded by endless fields and concrete jungles, in equal measure, depending on the direction you head in, and getting to spend some time in this kind of quiet, calm and almost pristine landscape, it’s something I treasure dearly.I don’t know if I could survive for long in the small towns that dot these areas, my personality is probably too restless to remain for long, but being in these places, it’s the kind of medicine I think most anyone can benefit from. Among these kinds of giants, it’s wonderful to feel so inconsequential and yet still most definitely part of something.
There’s something about being slightly sleep deprived, running on 3 hours of sleep and more coffee than should be legal, that makes things start to feel like something out of a Tolkien story. Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, you guys are fantastic for foggy days in the mountains and I think one day i’m going to spend a good chunk of time exploring all your roads, dips and curves, elevations and secret woodland hideouts.
I know most people who have never been to these states write them off as lacking much interest but…. there is such natural beauty here, in and out of the mountains. In the same way that people focus on the disasters than can happen in Kansas but forget the way the rolling plains can swallow your heart whole, I think most people forget these states on the eastern, southern side of the USA and the fantastical beauty that can be found here. Perhaps there isn’t the majestic wonder you can find in the Rockies, or the wanderlust that can trap you in the highways of California, but there IS something here, an unexpected wild freedom that pops stars in your eyes something fierce.
In these lands, the fog moves over slowly, stealthy fingers across the landscape and you barely notice till the view you were observing has been utterly obscured and all your eyes can make out are curving tree tops and the peaks of mountains in the distance, but the view will come again, and again and again, if you have a heart for patience and a love for landscapes that are ever changing.
I visit NYC every couple of years, a sort of touching base i’ve developed, like a nervous tic, and each time I feel like such a stranger, a tourist even. I arrive and feel like leaving right away… at least up until my feet hit the pavement and I remember how to keep up with the city pace, then it all slots right back into place, as if I had never left.
I would be utter crap at telling you the best places to get a good slice (I usually just walk into whatever dingy corner pizza place is nearest that doesn’t look too crazy full) or where to grab the best coffee and bagel to go ( er, anywhere near Port Authority is fantastic, they know everyone is in a rush), or even what parts of NYC not to go to (I’ve been told i’m nuts for visiting the parts of The Bronx I usually go to), so I won’t even try. All I can say is that there is so much more to NYC than just what you usually see on postcards. Those are fantastic yes, but there’s a quiet and calm part that you rarely get to see, that’s just as worth a visit as any of the other whirlwind adventure places dotting the map.Places you can sit on a park bench, surrounded by lovely prickly Jewish and Puerto Rican grandma’s for as long as you’d like, just feeding the squirrels and tossing breadcrumbs at birds and it’s as wonderful as being at the top of the Empire State building, just a different kind of joy.
Places where the light bends and breaks on buildings in lovely ways, and they’re not famous architectural wonders or even very beautiful streets but there’s something about NYC sunlight that can make almost anything seem so special. And maybe it’s not Rockefeller Center, but damned if you don’t think it’s something worth photographing in that moment.
Easily overlooked or taken for granted things that are almost always worth a second glance.
It’ll probably never be “home” for me again (too many other places in this world I want to experience) but there’s a comfort in NYC that I don’t know I could find anywhere else.