After having taken my sweet time exploring the beach in Ft. Bragg, I realized I was a little more than pressed for time (blame me sleeping in more than I had planned to for that) and was going to have to zoom down the California coast a little if I wanted to make it back to San Francisco in time to return my rental car. So I headed back through the main part of town to head in the direction of Mendocino, my next planned stop. And really, I meant to just drive straight through, but well….this little town is just so full of charm and character, it would have been a mini tradgedy to not at least stop for a bit to take it in a little. At least thats what I told myself as I pulled into the Skunk Train parking lot. Btw, if you’re wondering what a Skunk Train is exactly, it’s this rather awesome train that, in the official websites own words has, “Forty miles of railroad run through majestic redwood forests, scenic mountain meadows, and over 30 trestles bridging the pristine mountain waters of Northern California”. Fantastic no? Yet another reason in the dozens i’ve compiled to come back here and spend a good couple of days just enjoying the general loveliness.
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.” )