Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Road to Blue Lake

With storm clouds gathering and rain predicted for tomorrow, I headed out to Blue Lake with my new Canon S95 on board (review soon).

Fall colors in the far west...

but ten miles inland from Arcata I was riding through a warm, summery place.

Just outside of Blue Lake, I crossed the Mad River.

I parked the 'bent on the bridge and looked around. Back in the Gold Rush days a party of trappers made their way up to Humboldt County, hoping to strike it rich. Alas, of all the gold prospectors who came to California, only 4% found any gold at all. These guys were not in that 4%. They had spent many weeks hacking their way through fallen trees, brush and rubble and when the reached the river they were cold, wet, irritable, hungry and broke. The scene that followed gave the river its name.

Today the Mad is a peaceful place, where children swim in the summer and fishermen cast for steelhead. One caught a 5lb salmon just before I arrived.

I stopped in Blue Lake for some refreshments. The owner of Stardough's entertained me with stories of his years in Taiwan and China. Fact of the day--number of skyscrapers over 30 stories in Shanghai: 40,000!

Recumbent Rob turned out outside the cafe. He's lost over 100 pounds by riding a bike every day. He climbs all the hills around here on this Rans Stratus.

On the way home I passed the old Arcata-Blue Lake railroad. 100 years ago we had rail service to Humboldt County and local lines to connect outlying towns. Now we have a Freeway and rail seems like a utopian dream.