Refreshed by a thousand things.

P1110460Rain was forecast for both days that Mr. Glad and I had planned to be on California’s North Coast for immersion in the sights and sounds of the sand and waves. But we were undaunted; we just packed extra clothes in case we got soaked on our beach walks, and noted that our hotel room had a (gas) fireplace we could sit next to and cozy up.

P1110483The drive over was only drizzly, and by the time we arrived and ventured out on the bluffs and the shore, the clouds only threatened and did not drip. All the rain fell when we were eating dinner, and while we slept. Wasn’t that a sweet gift from the Father?

We spent our first day in the town of Fort Bragg. This small town did start out as a military fort in 1857, established for the sole purpose of maintaining order on an Indian reservation.

Lumber milling is part of the town’s history, too, and of its presenP1110486t. The old railroad trestle left from when logs came by train from the north evolved into a road and then into its current use as a pedestrian bridge over Pudding Creek where it empties into the Pacific.

At the southern end of the trestle is Glass Beach, another attraction with interesting history. According to the man who has set up the Sea Glass Museum (and store) in town, it has been common through the ages for seaside communities to have garbage dumps at the beach, and much of the garbage would wash out to sea. At Fort Bragg, he says, the ocean currents were atypical, and kept the garbage close to shore. The broken glass was kept in the swirling seawater-tumbler close at hand.P1110494

We didn’t take the time to visit the beaches with the most abundant fields of sea glass, but even the little cove we did examine was thick with fragments of colored and frosty white, what started out as clear, glass.P1110592

MacKerricher State Park is just north of Fort Bragg, and there we walked on the boardwalks that get you out to the beach with as little damage as possible to the coastal plants. We spent most of our time gazing out at the surf, and walking along the bluffs. We looked into tidepools and watched seals bobbing in the waves. This map of the whale migrations may also help some of you simply to get an idea of where we were.P1110579

 

I found myself this far behind my husband because I made so many stops to shoot photos of little wild radish flowers that were in the lee of the boardwalk and not blowing too wildly.

 

 

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At this time of year the dominant colors are blue and brown and grey, and it’s easy to overlook points of contrasting brightness.

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Back in our room resting before dinner, we were able to leave the door open to the breeze and the cool, damp air, to listen to the surf and watch the gulls swooping past. Below our balcony was the nearly 10-mile long local section of the California Coastal Trail, this part stretching from Fort Bragg to MacKerricher Park. Under the roar of the surf we could hear voices of people walking or bicycling by.

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Even in the middle of the night Mr. Glad opened that door and the instant refreshment invigorated my dreaming.

 

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But I must backtrack and show the one food picture I took. Cheesecake is somewhat conventional and boring as a photographic subject, but we wondered how the stellar rasberry decoration was created – shot from a gun, perhaps?

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Our breakfast was delicious but even more commonplace. It was the compact little restaurant that was unique and appealing; we had eaten here once years ago and wanted to return. The place is called EP1110518gghead’s, and the theme is The Wizard of Oz. The room is about as wide as Dorothy and her companions standing in a row, and all its decor relates to the story: red shoes, posters of the movie or play, photos of Judy Garland.

Above the kitchen door at the back is a sign: “Nobody Gets in to See the Wizard, Not Nobody Not Nohow.” But actually, to use the restroom one must go through that very kitchen out the back door, where one finds a Yellow Brick Road leading to this shack:

P1110521…where even the comics taped to the wall keep to the theme.

We left Oz fortified for our remaining day of explorations. In addition to more beach time, there were art galleries to peruse, a visit to the Mendocino Headlands and a lunchtime experience that requires a separate posting.

Last, the long drive back through Anderson Valley where we hadn’t been in so long. When we turned away from the coastal bluffs the scent of the air lost the elements of kelp and salt and moisture. Suddenly the smells of the dry conifer forest, with its spicy bay tree accents, filled my senses. We drove along like this for an hour, and I was contented.P1110650crp1

Except for a bit of queasiness from the windy road, which forced us to stop and get out for a few minutes, but it was at a comfortable and lonely place featuring aromatic oaks, a fence overrun with moss and lichen, and the glossy leaves of madrone trees. The leaf mulch under these trees was incredibly thick and spongy. If we’d had a picnic, and preferably a picnic table to go with, it would have been the perfect place to prolong our mini-vacation.

But lacking those amenities, we continued on our way back to civilization, and here we are again. We may look and feel pretty much the same as we did a few days ago, but our quiet adventures have changed us. At the least, we have a thousand more things to thank God for.

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12 thoughts on “Refreshed by a thousand things.

  1. What a lovely place. I want to hop in the car right now and go. I love the no people look.
    It is simply breathtaking and sounds like perfect day. I am so glad you got to have a trip.

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  2. Glad you were able to go. I walked with you and remembered Mike and my trips to the north coast in the fall, years back. It brought warm memories of little kids running on the beach, cozy nights in the cottages we stayed in, the refreshment brought by God’s creation and time letting down away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Thanks for sharing.

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  3. These little road trips are wonderful things. It’s been too long since the Musician and I have gone on one and you have inspired me. And I am wondering if you came home with that little white tumbled glass heart I see in the photo from the beach?

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    1. No I didn’t, Sara – I didn’t even see it until you mentioned it, because these pieces we saw were so so tiny, like large grains of sand. They are building a Sea Glass Park near the best beaches and that makes the next several months difficult for collectors. One of the few times I “took only pictures”!

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  4. What a lovely visit! Yellow brick road/path cracked me up πŸ™‚ I had visited Fort Bragg some years ago, but it was only a brief stop. Wish I’d known about the sea glass at the beach — love those glimmery bits of color.

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    1. For anyone wanting to find sea glass, it would be worth a stop at the Sea Glass Museum just south of town first thing as you come into the area, because they are all about helping people to find it. We didn’t go there until we were leaving town, and they told us, for one thing, that there’s a lot of the stuff along all the beaches there, not just at the one named Sea Glass. They also explain via a video why it is perfectly legal to collect the glass.

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  5. Thank you so much for sharing, Gretchen. In reading your blog, I revisited the trek that D. and I very recently took on my birthday weekend! We pretty much shadowed your steps, including the “road” to Emerald City! We took our little Yorkie, Peanut, with us. She very much enjoyed Glass beach! Her focus, however was not on finding glass, but critters! We very much enjoyed the same trip home. I got an adorable picture of Peanut enjoying the drive through Anderson valley.

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