This is one of my favorite benches that I forgot to mention from an earlier blog entry. It overlooks the Humboldt Bay Wildlife Refuge. Once I walked by to find a lady napping on the bench and a doe grazing right in front of her.

_Just this week I found a buck resting under my plum tree in my backyard on Redwood Street. A doe with a dark coat grazed alongside him. Of course this was right after an entry I wrote about deer and this was the first time I'd ever seen a buck in my backyard.
Commonly known as "fly agaric" (agaric is a gilled mushroom)
    A few blocks from our house is Redwood Acres which hosts an annual mushroom fair. There were people selling mushrooms they grew, people teaching how to grow your own at home, and experts were discussing their favorite fungi with the curious observers. I saw people bringing in their home-grown mushrooms and arranging them in the display cases. Some mushrooms had folksy labels like "The Queen" and "Pigs Ears" but if anyone craved the scientific term, there was an expert at the front waiting to meet them with identification guides galore. There was even a sniffing booth and I discovered the queer smells of certain mushrooms like cinnamon butter and toothpaste and old shoes. This fair is full of surprises. Even though I've been two years in a row, I'm still shocked to see a mushroom head that's bigger then my own.
These are various types of hallucinogenic mushrooms, by the far the most popular section
The mascot for the learn-to-grow-your-own mushrooms kit.
I learned in my natural history class that you can stamp the gills of the mushroom and identify it later that way
Aminatas... Everybody's favorite for its bold colors (and probably its hallucinogenic properties)
Resting along Drury Scenic Drive
    I've always loved benches because they offer reprieve and a chance to sit back and soak in the views, but my obsession with benches began when I moved to Humboldt County. The picturesque scenery was so unbelievable that the bench became crucial in order to seep in the beauty that surrounds us here. I have my favorite benches that I frequent but I'm always thrilled to find a new spot where I can kick back and relax.
_Here, father reclines on the infamous Ferndale bench
_Palmer's Point - One of my all-time favs (a great place to go whale-watching)
_Arcata Park - This bench has the traditional view of the majestic redwood giants surrounded by a carpet of ferns.
_This watering hole is my favorite place to rest after a long hike in Russ Park because it reminds me of the Florida swamps back home. I can't help but look for gators poking their heads up.
_Patrick's Point - I'm a huge fan of letting wildflowers go crazy
The traditional bench
_Arcata Park - Salamanders can almost always be found if you peer into the fallen tree behind this special bench, even the elusive Pacific Giant
    College Cove in Trinidad is one of the best kept secrets in this area. It's so secret in fact that it is considered a nude beach on the South end. Today I explored College Cove with my friend Carolyna and we discovered a precarious path that led us to the top of a colossal boulder at the end of the beach (too chilly for the nudes thank goodness!). The views were spectacular from above. It reminds me of a pirate's cove.
    This was my first experience going on an escapade led by my journalism professor, Dave Silverbrand. We walked along the perimeter of Arcata Plaza, dipping in stores in search of art and free food. There were musicians playing inside and out, both amateur and professional, from the fiddle to the ukelele. As our journey was coming to a close we had the pleasure of running into a mysterious woman with a type-writer who whips out poems for donations. She wrote a lovely poem for my friend Carolyna, who is a native of Ecuador. We decided the subject should be Carolyna's experience of coming to America, since she's only been here less then a month. Once she had a topic, the poem lady wrote in a flush of consciousness. The poem, which I included below, was astonishingly deep and moving.
_From there to here
is all polish and ocean,
all land and difference,
and yet as we always do
similarities are found
and the ground might feel
homelike to some small
extent, be it in the warmth
of embrace, the wholeness
of place turning from space,
or simply the snift in one
kind of wet forest to the
rest. It all comes together
as we do so well & full.
Here a woman performed her original songs on a ukelele while Dave Silverbrand filmed.
Here is the finished product, put together by Dave Silverbrand.
The Lost Coast
Arcata Park
Strawberry Rock
Cheatum Grove
Fern Canyon
Sequoia Park
The backyard of our original apartment on Excelsior
    I don't care that I am still a total dork when I spot a deer. Most locals don't bat an eye, much less slow down to take pictures. Living this close to nature, it's easy to overlook its incredible beauty and serenity. Last year, I was pulling into my driveway to discover 3 black bear (a mama and her babies) lounging about. With these kinds of sightings, it's hard to see the common deer as extraordinary but my heart still skips a beat when I see one. Once I was hiking in the woods behind my house and I saw a deer standing majestically in a thick beam of sunshine, staring directly at me. It nearly brought tears to my eyes because it looked like a picture out of a storybook that is too perfect to be real. Another time, I was driving through my residential neighborhood and walking on the sidewalk was a doe! This made me laugh out loud for the remainder of my drive home. Deer are such peaceful spirits of the wood and although they may not be as exciting as spotting a mountain lion or a fox, they are a sign that it is wild out there and the surrounding forest is healthy.
In our driveway, Cutten
Palmer's Point look-out
Humboldt Bay Wildlife Refuge