If your image of California is of freeways, smog, congestion, and crowded beaches that’s fine with us.
Even though most of California is rural, that is not its media image. We often, only half-jokingly, say that the north coast of California is rainy, foggy, gray, cold, and miserable-you would hate it. That is our selfish way to keep the crowds down. In truth, it does have that kind of weather, but some people love it. The small towns and uncrowded forests and beaches are a bonus.
It takes a particular kind of person who lives with purpose, and is willing to strive for enjoyment, to thrive on the far northern coast of California. The Hollywood weather and easy access to every imaginable store and service of southern California, or even the San Francisco Bay Area, are thankfully distant. It is OK with us if we are lumped in with the crowded parts of California in the minds of people in surrounding states. We continue to savor the beauty of the redwood forests, the mountains, the rivers, and the beaches.
Economically, it is a difficult area. Tourism is important. So there are those people who are forced to admit that we have sunny days. Right along the coast the summer temperatures are moderated by the cool marine breezes and morning fog. (OK, sometimes the fog stays for days, but….) People from the hot, crowded parts of California seek shelter in campgrounds and coastal motels. But they are well-advised to bring a coat.
It is still possible to have a memorable family beach cookout and not see any other people on the beach. It is one of our favorite summer activities. Several times each summer we have potlucks with family and friends. We stay to watch the sunset before fording the coastal stream and climbing the long, steep, crumbling steps back to the car. That is the ‘striving for enjoyment’ part.
The reward is a beautiful deserted beach like the one in this photograph. Photo: 1/350 s at f/2.2.