COLD on the Eel River but sunny in Eureka

We woke this morning to more cold fog in Ferndale, and when Mo stepped outside to let Abby do her business, she came back in rubbing her hands saying, “It’s really cold out there!” Our plans today included some kayaking on the Eel River, and after morning tea we thought better of that plan, and decided to explore the surrounding area instead.

morning fog over the Eel River at Fernbridge makes for a dull day We drove north to Fernbridge, crossing the Eel River once again, shrouded in murky skies and fog, and looking quite uninviting.  On the internet last night I found a web page with put-in information,and with the help of the handy iPhone and 5 full bars, we found the road leading west to the ocean and the new boat launch at the eastern edge of the Eel River Estuary. 

more sunlight o n the way but the wind was killer coldOnce on the beach and out of the car, we zipped up our windbreakers and pushed our way into the cold wind.  There was no way either of us would have dropped a boat into that water and tried to paddle anywhere.  Birds couldn’t even fly, and we watched them winging in place in mid air against the gale.

the Eel River Estuary would be wonderful if the winds weren't blowingAfter a very short beach walk while we tried to find an area that was more protected, we gave up and hurried back to the warm safety of the car.  The only good thing about that wind was watching it push the fog back inland.  The sun came out brilliantly, but it’s warmth was completely unavailable to us unless we were closed up tight inside the car and even then it was a thin warmth. 

Let's check out the Loleta Cheese factory.  This great employee gave me the employee discount for my organic white cheddar! We checked out the boat launch, or I should say I checked it out and took a quick photo while Mo waited in the car, and then headed back inland to Loleta and the cheese factory.  We found this quaint little home town cheese making place last fall when we were here and I was excited about getting some more of their fabulous Organic Sharp White Cheddar and a jar of solid gold salsa, in other words, Roasted Pineapple Habanera Salsa, at 9.95 a jar.  A steal at any price. 

Who knows what was in here, by now we were worn out We then drove the fifteen miles or so north on Highway 101 to the town of Eureka, another place where we camped last fall, but somehow with all our kayaking, never managed to check out the Old Downtown Area.  Today we were actually glad that we couldn’t kayak, because the Old Town was delightful.  Eureka is a place filled with old logging and waterfront history and prides itself especially on it’s lovely Victorian buildings.   In spite of the lagging economy, there were many unique, creative shops that seemed to operating in full swing, even in the quiet February season.

sit and knit in heaven I found a knit shop filled with wonderful art yarns and a truly creative, knowledgeable, inspired knitter teaching a young woman her first purl stitches.  This man knew everything about yarn, and shared his knowledge and expertise so willingly that before I knew it, I had a bag of yarn and another new pattern to add to my stash. What a delight!

inside Los Bagels for some great coffees We took a break for cappuccinos and a croissant at Los Bagels and enjoyed the warm sunshine streaming in through the windows while Mo read aloud from a local arts magazine.  It seems that in addition to it’s reputation for growing more weed than anyplace in the country, Humboldt County also boasts more artists per capita than any other place in California. The town has an incredible collection of outdoor sculptures and there are many gorgeous murals throughout the city.

In addition to amazing inspirational landscapes, there is a colorful multi-cultural population of people committed to art and creativity. That is a nice way of saying there are some rather strange folks running around Eureka.  It is a very complex culture of artists, people who once must have been hippies and are still here, homeless people, laid-back students, lots of people with bikes and backpacks, and a few ordinary looking folks, whatever that means.

not too busy on the cold windy day After a bit more shopping and street wandering we found our way to the Eureka Food Co-Op, a truly remarkable store filled with amazing organic produce, grass fed meats from the surrounding valleys, and row upon row of amazing stuff.  I managed to get out of there with one small bag of our favorite green tea that we can’t find anywhere else, a bunch of some really gorgeous strange looking kale, and organic endive.  The giant murals on the outside street wall of the Co-Op are my favorite in the city.

Eureka Old town (30) Eureka Old town (29) Eureka Old town (31) the murals on the food co-op are incredible

By the time we got back to the car the winds were stronger than ever and it was after 4pm.  We thought it turned out to be a perfect day, in spite of the cold and wind. Jeremy was very vocal when we got back to the MoHo, scolding us for being gone so long.  I immediately pulled out all the goodies and built some amazing quesadillas with our wonderful cheese, some spicy poached chicken I brought from home, onions, and jalapenos, all topped off with the sweet hot perfect pineapple salsa. 

Tomorrow if the fog clears and the winds die down we will again attempt a kayak trip, but if not, the day will be filled again with explorations.  The 100 mile Lost Coast trip is calling us, with some coastal explorations of places we haven’t yet seen, campgrounds we haven’t yet tried.  Either way, it will be a good day.

More photos of our day in Eureka are here.


Author: kyotesue

Soil scientist/mapper working for 35 years in the wild lands of the West. I am now retired, enjoying my freedom to travel, to hike without a shovel and a pack, to knit and quilt and play, to play with photography and write stories about all of it.

5 thoughts on “COLD on the Eel River but sunny in Eureka”

  1. Your beach pics did look very cold alright. I had to go put a sweater on. Oregon is one of the few States I have never been too & I always hear so much about it. Maybe one of these days we will get out there…..when the weather's better:))


  2. Sometimes unexpected changes to plans yield great results; seems like this day was that kind of a day.

    In your previous post, you mention the booster you use to improve your WiFi. What brand do you have?


  3. Well, Al, Oregon is gorgeous, but this is Northern California, and not much warmer. You never know when the cold fog and spring winds will hit, but you can be sure that they will. Usually in summer it's cold and foggy when it's 100 degrees inland and in winter it is nice when the valley is fogged in.


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