This weekend I ventured up north to visit my sister. Everything started great until I arrived at the airport, we boarded the plane and began to taxi to the runway. The captain’s voice sounded over the speaker of the small Q400 aircraft; there was “a power plant warning” on the screen and we’d be heading back to the terminal to have it checked. After about five minutes we were asked to de-plane while the maintenance folks worked their magic. Approximately two hours after our scheduled departure time the plane was good to go and we took off for the far north. The far north being Northern California, Humboldt County where my sister has been living for about a year. Knowing my passion for the ocean, the first thing she did was take me right to the beach. Despite the forecasted rain, the sky was bright blue with a few scattered clouds moving lazily along. We drove down to Luffenholtz Beach where she pulled out a box chock full with a baguette, goat cheese, apples, a chocolate bar, cherry tomatoes and a bottle of red zin. I hadn’t eaten lunch due to the flight delay, and was pretty hungry so this looked perfect. As we pulled up to the beach and began to walk down the path I caught glimpses of the dark coarse sand, and aqua blue water turning white as it washed up on the shore.
Having noticed a few cars in the parking area, she also gave me a quick warning… “oh yeah, this is also sorta the local naked beach.” Exciting. However, unlike the fancy European naked beaches you may be picturing in your mind, this is the NorCal hippy version of mostly old bearded men, enjoying the rare sunny day in their birthday suits. After passing several, we hoped that the next bend would take us to a bit of privacy, which it did. Neslted into our own little alcove we sat in the rocky sandy and began to enjoy our box of goodies.
The bread, from local cafe Brio was delicious, and the local Cypress Grove goat cheese chevre complimented it nicely. I sat in the warm sand munching away and admiring the astounding northern beauty. I had expected the lush green forests that greeted me immediately after getting off the plane, but the scenery of the beachfront I never dreamed of. The water was a deep aqua color, turning a lighter teal as the depth grew shallow. It was gently rolling into shore, splashing off the numerous rock pilings that were scattered along the coast; stubborn remnants from years of ocean waves pounding away at the waters edge. The air was crisp but the sun was warm, and all along the top of the cliffs were large green conifers, ferns and grasses.
As we slowly made our way through months of catching up and the bottle of wine, we walked around, and climbed along the smaller rocks peering into the clear water as it washed in and out. We dipped our feet into the fridge water as I imagined the life beneath the surface. We talked and talked, and slowly the sun started to move towards the horizon and our bottle of wine ran low. A younger man who had walked past earlier trying to make conversation despite us being completely uninterested in sharing our alcove had walked back over shirtless before being rebuffed again (sorry dude, you were a bit of a creeper). I glanced down the beach in the direction he had wandered to see him now only in a pair of red boxers. Deciding it was time to go before we received another visit I took the last swig of the bottle and we packed up camp. This turned out to be a smart decision because a final backward glance revealed white buttcheeks as he removed the final article of clothing. We made our way back along the waters edge to the path, gave the beach a big farewell look and climbed back up to the car. The sun’s rays danced off the water creating playful sparkles that reached all the way up into the wet sand. Luffenholtz is a beautiful beach, and while sad to leave, it was only the beginning of the trip and I was excited and eager to explore the rest of what Humboldt County had to offer.