Savage Henry Summer Get-Away Guide to the Great Outdoors

Our backyard is an outdoorsman’s paradise. Whether kayaking, backpacking, hunting or fishing be your pursuit, California’s rugged North Coast offers it in abundance.

How hard is our crush on the great outdoors? We Humboldters have been known to cry over the YouTube trailer for “A River Runs Through It” — the 1992 Brad Pitt vehicle purporting to boast the natural outdoor beauty of Bozeman, Montana. And beautiful it is … until it’s compared to Humboldt County.

“They — they only had one river,” we manage through wads of Kleenex.

If the movie had been shot in Humboldt County, after all, they would have to have named it “SIX Rivers Run Through It”.

It’s no wonder that Outside magazine recently put Eureka on its cover, naming it the eighth-best city in America for outdoor activities.

Summer 2010 is here and it’s the perfect time to explore, discover and glory in Humboldt’s rich bounty of natural treasure. So what are you waiting for? The Savage Henry staff — stacked with seasoned outdoorsmen — suggests these nature-loving pursuits.

Swimmer’s Delight

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Highway 36, just east of Carlotta on the Van Duzen River. 

Because of its breathtaking scenery and deep reservoirs of pristine river water, there’s really no better place on the map to take a dip, sunbathe or overhaul the transmission on your 1986 Peterbilt.

Until you’ve scrubbed oil-encrusted gears and splashed contaminated transmission fluid into the light-blue waters of the Van Duzen river while majestic eagles soared overhead, you just haven’t lived. Remember:

The Founding Fathers died for your right to repair your logging truck on a federally designated wild and scenic river. It’s right there in the Fourteenth Amendment … we think.

Vista Point on Hwy 299

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20 miles east of Blue Lake on Highway 299. 

Stunning views of rolling, cloud- dappled mountains … forests seemingly without end … glimpses of the mighty Pacific Ocean. Here, you really do get the feeling that you’re at the top of the world.

It is from this gorgeous vantage point — overlooking an attractively deep valley — that we encounter the ideal venue to tumble-dump your used refrigerator.

Watch from the tailgate of your pickup as panicked deer scatter for safety, the doors of your cartwheeling Frigidaire violently popping off. Mother Nature needs a little Freon every now and then, you know?

Redwood Park

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Four blocks east of the HSU campus in Arcata. 

Ah, summertime in Redwood Park: world-class hiking and biking amid towering old-growth redwoods, young lovers cuddling on the grassy veld and children frolicking on the playground. The place is downright Shakespearean in its poetic beauty.

Its fog- enshrouded backwoods are also the ideal bugout for your clandestine meth cook. Recruit the park’s abundant homeless hippies as “day labor” — their pit bulls will ward off any meddlesome HSU students. Your Ziplocs will be stuffed with powdery ice in no time.

Centerville Beach

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Six miles west of Ferndale on Centerville Road. 

We Humboldters simply adore our beaches and all they have to offer, whether it be surf-fishing, building sand castles or just flying a kite on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

And make no mistake, we’re also known for our tolerant ways of life — that’s why our beaches are shared by four-wheeling rednecks and spliff-smoking trustafarians in equal number.

But there’s one thing we won’t tolerate, and that’s tire disposal fees. It seriously costs $15 bucks a pop to offload your old rubber. Shine that!

Instead, schlep your bald Bridgestones to Centerville Beach for a good old tire burn. Centerville’s secluded locale and expansive, sandy escapes make it the perfect place to kick back with a brewski while gazing in slack-jawed wonder as plumes of black smoke fill the brisk sea air and molten rubber lovingly oozes into the Pacific.

Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park

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Highway 36, seven miles west of Bridgeville. 

You’ve been playing Grand Theft Auto since the Clinton administration; now put your skills to the test in real life. There’s no better place than the campground at Grizzly Creek to steal cars. Mom and Dad are usually fast asleep by 9 p.m., and these duffers are notorious for leaving their keys in the car (hint: look under the floor mat).

Once you’ve made it back to Eureka, post your new Hyundai on Craigslist. Then simply hole up in the Blue Heron/ Broadway/Christie’s/Serenity Inn motel — some of Eureka’s finest — as the offers roll in.

South Fork Mountain 

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Look it up.

Did you know that South Fork Mountain is the longest single mountain in the United States? It’s true! This stunning natural masterpiece runs all the way from … oh, somewhere over yonder, all the way down to … some other place of which we’re not really sure.

But this much we do know: It’s the perfect place to take a “friend” on a “hunting trip.” *wink wink*

Do you owe your bookie because the Brewers lost (again)? Is your ex-wife dragging you back to court for alimony? Or is it your goal to cash in on Grandpa’s will, ahem, a little sooner than nature would have it?

Well, you just need to go on a little hunting trip amigo! Dress Grandpa up in Realtree camo and send him into the brush with a deer call and …  BANG! The coroner won’t have a clue.

 

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