September in Humboldt

Despite my trip to Chicago and having Covid, we continued exploring our new region. The Arcata Farmer’s Market is full of gorgeous produce during late summer, tomatoes, eggplant, apples.

We buy the bread of the week from Beck’s, made with a different freshly ground grain combination each week. Last weekend was also Pastels on the Plaza, with 100 artists decorating sections of the sidewalk around the Arcata Plaza, sponsored by different agencies and businesses.

The monthly Arcata Flea Market was worth visiting, too, and we picked up a few things we needed. It’s fun to have a look around and see what people are selling.

There are also wonderful outdoor places to explore. We started close to home on the Eureka waterfront trail running along Humboldt Bay through the city. Coastal trails continue along an old rail line heading north and connect with the section called the Hammond Trail in Arcata. We have walked on the coast by the Del Norte pier, due west from our house, as well as another segment behind the Walmart. It is a bit odd to be going for coastal walks by parking behind the mall, the Walmart, or the CVS, but that’s how urban trails work. We done some beach combing, not finding much, and seen some interesting birds–these trails get us into the natural world.

Himalayan blackberries are an aggressive invasive plant found all over the world. We’ve picked them in many places, and stopped at the Arcata Marsh to get some this year. The berries are very seedy, but we’ve found that if you cook the berries briefly and put them through a sieve, most of the seeds can be removed. We picked several quarts in a half hour, then went home and processed the fruit. Jonathan made seedless blackberry jam, I made a custard pie topped with blackberry puree, and took the remaining puree and made blackberry sorbet!

Hawk, Fay Slough

We discovered an excellent trail when we went to pick up our car from the Toyota dealership, too. Called Fay Slough, it runs inland through fields bordered with blackberries and pussy willow trees. We saw a hawk and a kite along with smaller birds, and marveled that such a fine trail was tucked in just off the highway. What is Eureka today was an extensive coastal marsh in the early 19th century when ambitious loggers arrived in the area by steamer. A century and a half of draining and filling turned the swamp into the town and surrounding pastures. Today, cattle are being removed from some of this land and coastal wetlands restored. Wetlands are a crucially important buffer for climate change in this area, providing a place for increasingly heavy rains to run off, rather than flooding streets and homes.

Not all our explorations are just the two of us discovering our surroundings. We joined the local Audubon group and went on a Sunday drive/walk to Titlow Hill Rd. As always, Audubon groups include people with remarkable ability to recognize birds by their chirps and calls. We saw very few actual birds, but the view out over the valley was spectacular.

View from Titlow Hill Rd.

Back from our walks, we finished out the month by attending the first concert of the year by the Eureka Symphony, directed by Carol Jacobson. The theater is relatively small, and the ticket prices are modest compared to Chicago and New York. We had excellent seats and enjoyed the program (Glière and Beethoven). I’m looking forward to their next concert in December.

It was a busy month, not all moving and organizing, and there’s more to come.


Published by winifredcreamer

I am a retired archaeologist and I like to travel, especially to places where you can walk along the shore or watch birds. My husband Jonathan and I travel for more than half the year every year, seeing all the places that we haven't gotten to yet.

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