Sunday, July 13, 2014

125 Miles On The Long and Winding Road

We took a short trip inland mid-week to finally meet and hold our beautiful new granddaughter Luna Faye who was born May 14th on the night of the full moon. Moving here to Arcata has brought us much closer to Happy Camp, Ca where little Luna is living with her beautiful mama Indigo, her dad Kenneth, and her siblings. Driving to Happy Camp is a bit daunting for me because I have some travel anxiety. Highway 96 is a narrow two-lane highway (and sometimes one lane where the rocky cliff faces have fallen to the pavement and shattered), and the ride is 125 miles (201 km) one way to get there. But I mustered up the courage, and we hit the road.

Lucky lucky us, the road is so beautiful, and trepidation turned to delight. This is the amazing view of the summer-low Klamath River, mile after mile on a twisting highway that turns like the river itself. It is a watercourse way inland, upriver to the lands of the native tribes of northern California. The temperature rises higher and higher the farther east we go. When we arrived it was 101 F (38 C) degrees in Happy Camp. The heat hardly mattered though, because we got an even warmer embrace from our loved ones. It's why we came all this way.

We were surprised to learn that this beautiful creek with a wonderful swimming hole is just below Indigo's house. The family heads down there everyday for a cooling swim. What a beautiful spot to spend a hot afternoon. I had to bring the camera down to the creek with me and take a good look for the things that delight my optical senses. Lucky lucky me! There were caustic displays on the creek that day. I'm just wild about this stuff.

So we spent the day getting to know the baby, playing in the creek, eating good food, and enjoying the surrounding view of the vast forested mountains in Six Rivers National Forest. California is really one big wildly beautiful state. In the morning, the thunderstorms rolled in and cooled the temperatures way down.

I went out to look at the sky, and I think this may be my first view of an Asperatus formation. Even if it's not, it sure is a beautiful undulating sky that looks like stormy sea, which is how Asperatus is defined. We hit the road home just after noon and drove the long and winding road back to the real sea. We are so glad to be living close to family and these dreamy inland mountain roads.


  1. It's wonderful that you are not too far from Indigo and family. I know and have driven the roads in that area on numerous occasions. You have to keep your eyes on the road at all times, but the scenery makes that difficult. I try to stop along the rivers to give myself a break and enjoy the beauty of it all.

  2. Lucky lucky us! We get your beautiful photos AND your lovely narration.

  3. Yay -- sweet baby! And it sounds like a lovely drive, if a little harrowing...

    You moved to a spot that seems distant to me, but Happy Camp is actually in the middle of the wilderness! Good thing you are so close, relatively speaking. xoxo

  4. beautiful photos and sounds like a pretty location to live.

  5. How lovely! Both baby and your photos. So happy you shared them with us!!

  6. Nice! I had to look up Happy Camp since I hadn't heard of it. Wow, tiny town and practically in Oregon. And I bet quite opposite in physcial and political temperment from Aracata! But it's great you are so close to family--close enough for a weekend visit.

    1. ugh-mispelled Arcata

  7. Wow! Love the double portrait! The image of Luna Faye smiling and making eye contact with Roger shows the power of the meeting of the generations. So glad you were able to travel that challenging road to Happy Camp.

    Had to go to Google maps, too, to find Happy Camp. That is such an incredibly beautiful part of California. The Klamath River in all its splendor is dear to me.

    Now I see that Highway 96 winds from I-5 to 299. On one October visit to Humboldt County, I turned off Highway 1 near Orick and went up Bald Hills Road to see the Redwood groves and then drove way beyond that, all the way out to the Hoopa Reservation and then down Highway 96 to 299 and back to 101.

    Thank you so much for these photos today (-:

  8. Bev-- It's true about having to pay a lot of attention to the roads there. There's really no looking away and staying safe. It sure is beautiful out there.

    jeanne marie-- So glad you liked the pics and the narrative. It was fun to write about that road!

    kathy a-- Happy Camp is definitely "out there." It's a journey into the wilds, and yet there are plenty of people there and a high school. AND, Indigo's partner went into town and got us our favorite Endangered Species chocolate. That was a surprise!

    Rain-- It's a pretty location and definitely a commitment to be there. Indigo graduated from high school there.

    Garden State Kate-- Glad you liked the pics. It was worth the adventure to meet that beautiful little baby girl.

    lindaj-- I would have never heard of Happy Camp if Roger's daughters hadn't grown up 20 miles up river there and graduated from high school. It's definitely not on anyone's beaten path.

    am-- When I read your comment out loud to Roger, he said, "Bald Hills Road? Whoa, that's really out there." You definitely know where we were. When we drove through Hoopa on Friday there was an arson fire in the middle of summer. Rather shocking.

  9. That photo of Luna and Roger is a treasure. It will live on forever in the family. Glad your drive was gorgeous -- see, road trips CAN be fun!

  10. 125 miles must be just over two hours driving, still over there thst is not far, over here it is. Sounds like you had a good time & I now see why you moved. Enjoy

  11. The picture of Roger and the baby is a classic. Those clouds do look like aspirates.

  12. tidbit...we are in the klamath national forest...

  13. Beautiful baby and photos. Don't know if I would like the heat though. :)

  14. Tara-- Trips are fun, it's just the getting there that hangs me up. I work at it, I really do.

    Bill-- Because of the winding highway, the trip is more like three hours. Luckily, it's beautiful all the way.

    Mark-- It was a lovely moment seeing those two smile at each other like that. Glad I had the camera ready.

    Anonymous (Indigo!) -- That's so interesting. I don't remember seeing a sign for Klamath National Forest at all, only Six Rivers. Cool!

    Dave-- I think knowing that we could head home made the heat less unbearable.

  15. Robin Andrea: You sound so happy in this post. Really, really happy. I'll bet that the temperatures at Happy Camp brought back memories, though--memories of barely bearable heat in Grass Valley that you're happy to have left behind. Good for you, and thanks for sharing.

  16. Wonderful family reunion, and terrific photos, as always!

  17. When I looked back at my comment, I see that my spelling was autocorrected from "asperatus" to "aspirates". And I had to go back in this comment to change it back to what I wanted.

  18. Scott-- I think that exuberance you notice is my total joy at having made the trip. Travel anxiety is such a bummer, so being able to get on the road and have a good time was a grand relief. Yes, not having to live in that heat has been a very good choice for us.

    Isabelita-- Thank you. We did have such a lovely time.

    Mark -- I knew that blogger had spell-checked and auto corrected aspertus to aspirates. It tried to do that to me when I was writing the post. Thank you for coming back to check!

  19. Just love that picture of Luna and Roger's delight in each other. That is a keeper.
    I could handle 101 with that lovely cool down stream near by. I am glad I clicked on the bejeweled waters shot That is a great capture.
    So glad the trip itself was pleasant. Now you won't feel so anxious next time.

  20. Left a message before but cyberspace must have grabbed it. Lovely pictures, especially Roger and Luna. Seems the most beautiful places are often along the worst roads.

  21. Arkansas Patti-- I was so happy to have been holding the camera when Luna and Roger were gazing and smiling at each other. Glad you liked the pics too. I always get anxious before I travel. Not sure why and really really wish it wouldn't happen.

    NCmountainwoman-- So glad you liked the Luna and Roger photo. It truly captures a very special moment. I guess those beautiful places stay beautiful because they are so REMOTE!

  22. I'm just seeing this post. How did it sneak in without my noticing?! Great photos--There are three smiles in the Roger and Luna photo: Roger, Luna, and whoever is looking at the photo!
    Luna is growing up in a little Paradise. She'll grow up knowing and loving the wilderness, which I believe gives people strength to cope with whatever life throws at them. Pristine river water on her hot skin, and the cool embrace of the woods. She's a lucky girl.

  23. Luna looks so cute and happy!
    I don't know how many people enlarge your photos, but it is worth it, because they are fantastic.

    I've driven to Happy Camp from the coast. Besides the gorgeous scenery, I remember that there is no direct way to get there. It's kind of a circular route. Maybe I'm wrong. Anyway, Loved your photos and post.

  24. CCorax-- It will be fun to watch Luna grow up in the mountains and rivers of her tribal family, the Karuk. We are delighted!

    Pat-- Luna is the mellowest baby I've ever known. She's a very calm little presence. About getting to Happy Camp, it's reachable from Yreka on 96 heading west. And, via 299 to 96 heading east from Arcata. It's quite a journey.