Humboldt:Delightful Divides

Why do you love where you live? Do you love the climate, the proximity to nature, cultural events, the political leanings…? Jen, a fellow Humboldt blogger, gathered 13 mini essays on why she loves it here and my head nodded in agreement so much my neck ached. Her love for the county glows through her writing and makes her site a daily read for me (even though she usually talks about her erotic romance writing career which is an exotic change of pace from my usual life!).

But sometimes her views differed from mine like two fabulous cheeses–Cypress Grove’s Humboldt Fog and Blue d’ Auvergne-similar but different in ways only a fanatic could delineate.

To her, the gray Humboldt fog is a warm blanket, to me it is sea foam rushing down mountains and pooling in valleys. When she talks about the people, she never mentions marijuana growers and the deep political fissures that run between indoor and outdoor growers. Where I live, that would be like failing to mention Mercury in a discussion of the planets.

As Eric exposed when he separated the blog roll on his site into So Hum bloggers and the ‘others,’ there is a distinct split in view points between regions of the county that probably only a resident would notice. Its not that Southern Humboldt has progressive politics and Northern Humboldt doesn’t. I’ll bet Ernie Branscomb’s politics are a lot more conservative than mine but, as we both come from south of Redcrest, we see things from a different place than those further up the coast.

Mostly I’m a Humboldter first, but sometimes, when I’m listening to someone from further North, I really feel the difference between our areas. I notice that those of us who live south of the conjunction of the two Eel River branches tend to feel a bit surprised when someone from Fortuna speaks of themselves as being from Southern Humboldt—for them driving to Eureka takes 20 minutes, for me it’s a three hour round trip. When someone in Fortuna calls the police there’s a reasonable chance that a response will occur within the hour. In Southern Humboldt, the chance is almost nil.

Don’t get me wrong, I think those of us living in Humboldt have so much in common that its obvious we belong in the same category but like Humboldt Fog and Blue d’ Auvergne we have some distinct differences that makes the flavors of the differing Humboldt regions distinct and pleasurably dissimilar from each other. Arcata is not Eureka, Ferndale is not Bridgeville, and Fortuna is not Southern Humboldt (Humboldt Heartland–anyone?).

But they are all rather wonderful places and each of their subtly differing flavors makes Humboldt County as complex and surprising as the rather wonderful cheese plate at Hotel Carter.

_______

Photo: Promo shot from Cypress Grove (A fabulous local cheese maker)

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22 comments

  • I hear you!!!! Actually, I’m amazed at how different each area of Humboldt county really is. I also think there’s a huge difference between those who live in “the cities” (Eureka, Arcata, Fortuna) and those who make up the rest of Humboldt. There’s the dairy farmers, the pot growers, the ones who have escaped the dreary day to day of living in a bustling town.
    I love the variety. It makes living here a daily adventure IF I choose to see it that way.

  • I hear you!!!! Actually, I’m amazed at how different each area of Humboldt county really is. I also think there’s a huge difference between those who live in “the cities” (Eureka, Arcata, Fortuna) and those who make up the rest of Humboldt. There’s the dairy farmers, the pot growers, the ones who have escaped the dreary day to day of living in a bustling town.
    I love the variety. It makes living here a daily adventure IF I choose to see it that way.

  • Ah, since I have lived in both Southern and Northern Humboldt County, I can speak as an expert!

    To me, the good things about Southern Humboldt are the hot summers, including the distinct smell of the Redwood trees when the sun has heated them; the pleasant ability to walk the entire length of Garberville along Redwood Drive (you can’t do that in Eureka! or at least I can’t); everybody who works at the Post Office knows who you are, even if you aren’t anybody special; and some of my family lived not far away.

    As far as Northern Humboldt goes, there really are at least two (probably more) parts to Northern Humboldt. One is the Eureka/Arcata area, with its cool foggy summers. Actually that is NOT one of its selling points to me. What I liked about living in Arcata was that I could walk from my house to grocery stores, movie theaters, parks, church, work, and one summer when I was particulary inspired, I walked for at least an hour every day after work. On these walks I covered nearly every square inch of Arcata, with the exception of the Giuntoli Lane area. Arcata is a GREAT place to walk. Also, Arcata is not far from the shopping in Eureka, and if you have money (I didn’t) there are lots of beautiful local products sold at Arcata stores. When I lived there, there was not much in the way of clothing stores, shoe stores, or household goods, so a trip to Eureka was necessary (the McKinleyville KMart hadn’t been built yet).

    The other part of Northern Humboldt is where I live now, Blue Lake. Talk about nothing to buy! The little grocery store closed several years ago, so unless you want to shop at the Casino’s mini-mart or the Blue Lake gas station, and there are no other stores. But, the summers are warmer than in Arcata, and usually quite a bit cooler than the Southern Humboldt summers, although we have our 90-100 degree days here. Once in a blue moon we get snow, too. There is a cow pasture behind me, so occasionally I get to see a calf being born. The other morning there were four deer in the pasture. We have small wildlife here, such as raccoons, possums, skunks, and sometimes a mountain lion or a bear or a fox. I live on a dead-end road and mostly it is pretty quiet. I have a second-growth Redwood tree in my backyard, which has grown out of the huge stump of the original tree. I’ve been told that the flat area that my house was built on was used as the lunch area for the men who built the railroad, and I have found railroad spikes and other “leftovers” buried in the dirt of my backyard. The view out my east window is not as spectacular as Kym’s, but it is beautiful, too. It is a low hill covered with trees, and at certain times of the year I get a fantastic view of the sunrise.

    The drive on Highway 101 between Southern and Northern Humboldt is one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. It connects these two differing pieces of the same county, and I’m not sure where Northern Humboldt ends and Southern Humboldt begins. If someone lived on that spot, would they be considered Southern or Northern? or Snorthern?

    I guess I should have written this on my own blog, it’s so long. But you got me going Kym!

  • Ah, since I have lived in both Southern and Northern Humboldt County, I can speak as an expert!

    To me, the good things about Southern Humboldt are the hot summers, including the distinct smell of the Redwood trees when the sun has heated them; the pleasant ability to walk the entire length of Garberville along Redwood Drive (you can’t do that in Eureka! or at least I can’t); everybody who works at the Post Office knows who you are, even if you aren’t anybody special; and some of my family lived not far away.

    As far as Northern Humboldt goes, there really are at least two (probably more) parts to Northern Humboldt. One is the Eureka/Arcata area, with its cool foggy summers. Actually that is NOT one of its selling points to me. What I liked about living in Arcata was that I could walk from my house to grocery stores, movie theaters, parks, church, work, and one summer when I was particulary inspired, I walked for at least an hour every day after work. On these walks I covered nearly every square inch of Arcata, with the exception of the Giuntoli Lane area. Arcata is a GREAT place to walk. Also, Arcata is not far from the shopping in Eureka, and if you have money (I didn’t) there are lots of beautiful local products sold at Arcata stores. When I lived there, there was not much in the way of clothing stores, shoe stores, or household goods, so a trip to Eureka was necessary (the McKinleyville KMart hadn’t been built yet).

    The other part of Northern Humboldt is where I live now, Blue Lake. Talk about nothing to buy! The little grocery store closed several years ago, so unless you want to shop at the Casino’s mini-mart or the Blue Lake gas station, and there are no other stores. But, the summers are warmer than in Arcata, and usually quite a bit cooler than the Southern Humboldt summers, although we have our 90-100 degree days here. Once in a blue moon we get snow, too. There is a cow pasture behind me, so occasionally I get to see a calf being born. The other morning there were four deer in the pasture. We have small wildlife here, such as raccoons, possums, skunks, and sometimes a mountain lion or a bear or a fox. I live on a dead-end road and mostly it is pretty quiet. I have a second-growth Redwood tree in my backyard, which has grown out of the huge stump of the original tree. I’ve been told that the flat area that my house was built on was used as the lunch area for the men who built the railroad, and I have found railroad spikes and other “leftovers” buried in the dirt of my backyard. The view out my east window is not as spectacular as Kym’s, but it is beautiful, too. It is a low hill covered with trees, and at certain times of the year I get a fantastic view of the sunrise.

    The drive on Highway 101 between Southern and Northern Humboldt is one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. It connects these two differing pieces of the same county, and I’m not sure where Northern Humboldt ends and Southern Humboldt begins. If someone lived on that spot, would they be considered Southern or Northern? or Snorthern?

    I guess I should have written this on my own blog, it’s so long. But you got me going Kym!

  • Well, I finally figured out that all that I have to do to reply, is to type something. It’s strange not having that little flashing curser leading the way, no highlight, no cut and paste, and every blog works differently. I just tried to leave a message on “Jens” spot, and totally screwed it up. I was able to get through to your cousin Ren okay though. I didn’t know that he had a blog site until I discovered it on your site, thanks. It was good to hear from him.

    What I’m writing about is your comment that you have had to learn all this blogging stuff the hard way, well welcome to the club. It sure seems easy once that you “get-it” though doesn’t it?

    I did a piece on “Home’ on my blog site that reflects pretty much what you were saying about living here. We are so lucky. I’ll see if I can provide a link for you and here it is: Ernie’s place, “Home”

    I hope it works!

  • Well, I finally figured out that all that I have to do to reply, is to type something. It’s strange not having that little flashing curser leading the way, no highlight, no cut and paste, and every blog works differently. I just tried to leave a message on “Jens” spot, and totally screwed it up. I was able to get through to your cousin Ren okay though. I didn’t know that he had a blog site until I discovered it on your site, thanks. It was good to hear from him.

    What I’m writing about is your comment that you have had to learn all this blogging stuff the hard way, well welcome to the club. It sure seems easy once that you “get-it” though doesn’t it?

    I did a piece on “Home’ on my blog site that reflects pretty much what you were saying about living here. We are so lucky. I’ll see if I can provide a link for you and here it is: Ernie’s place, “Home”

    I hope it works!

  • Great post! There’s a difference between NoHum and SoHum (wherever you draw the line) and a difference between Arcata and Eureka.

    Many shades to this crayon box.

  • Great post! There’s a difference between NoHum and SoHum (wherever you draw the line) and a difference between Arcata and Eureka.

    Many shades to this crayon box.

  • Jen, I was surprised when I read on your post that you hadn’t always lived here. Then I read on your comment on Ernie’s post that your husband and his ancestors were from here—that helps explain a richness in your understanding of the area. I love reading your posts about here.

    Aunt Jackie, Don’t worry about your comments being too long. I enjoy them. Blue Lake is so beautiful. “Snortherners” live anywhere from Rio Dell to just south of Redcrest in my mind but I’ll bet everybody has it differently.

    Ernie, My comment box is dang unfriendly. Unfortunately, I am not tech savvy enough to do anything about it. Several people have commented that they can’t comment but I know its just the no cursor thing.

    I’m glad you found Ren’s blog. I love his descriptions of life in Japan. I get envious though.

    Blogging doesn’t come easy to me. I have time constraints and frequently bang my head on the desk (figuratively) when, to meet my goal of posting at least once a day, I have to put out pretty rough writing. But the actual tech stuff is way easier than I imagined.

    I got all teary when I read your Home post. I saw it when you first put it up and commented (I am Kym). You really hit close to my emotions with that post.

    Heraldo,
    Thank you! I have to ask because I’ve just the last couple of months discovered the blogging scene and, while I am aware that you are incognito, I’m curious about your avatar. Who is that a picture of? Presumably not you, if you want your identity to be secret.

    Hmm, now I’m wondering if asking about avatars is like asking how much money someone makes? Uhh, just think of me as Humboldt hill woman who don’t know no tech manners.

  • Jen, I was surprised when I read on your post that you hadn’t always lived here. Then I read on your comment on Ernie’s post that your husband and his ancestors were from here—that helps explain a richness in your understanding of the area. I love reading your posts about here.

    Aunt Jackie, Don’t worry about your comments being too long. I enjoy them. Blue Lake is so beautiful. “Snortherners” live anywhere from Rio Dell to just south of Redcrest in my mind but I’ll bet everybody has it differently.

    Ernie, My comment box is dang unfriendly. Unfortunately, I am not tech savvy enough to do anything about it. Several people have commented that they can’t comment but I know its just the no cursor thing.

    I’m glad you found Ren’s blog. I love his descriptions of life in Japan. I get envious though.

    Blogging doesn’t come easy to me. I have time constraints and frequently bang my head on the desk (figuratively) when, to meet my goal of posting at least once a day, I have to put out pretty rough writing. But the actual tech stuff is way easier than I imagined.

    I got all teary when I read your Home post. I saw it when you first put it up and commented (I am Kym). You really hit close to my emotions with that post.

    Heraldo,
    Thank you! I have to ask because I’ve just the last couple of months discovered the blogging scene and, while I am aware that you are incognito, I’m curious about your avatar. Who is that a picture of? Presumably not you, if you want your identity to be secret.

    Hmm, now I’m wondering if asking about avatars is like asking how much money someone makes? Uhh, just think of me as Humboldt hill woman who don’t know no tech manners.

  • Kym, our blogging colleague Carson Park Ranger “outed” me with this picture.

    He’s also got this one of me in my later years, but it doesn’t show up so well as an avatar.

  • Kym, our blogging colleague Carson Park Ranger “outed” me with this picture.

    He’s also got this one of me in my later years, but it doesn’t show up so well as an avatar.

  • LOL Kym. Blogging manners are……interesting aren’t they? I used to get squirmy when someone would ask where I lived. Then, I decided it didn’t matter if everyone knew.
    At first it was small town–erotic romance author=weird looks from the neighbors.
    Then I remembered I get those anyway……

  • LOL Kym. Blogging manners are……interesting aren’t they? I used to get squirmy when someone would ask where I lived. Then, I decided it didn’t matter if everyone knew.
    At first it was small town–erotic romance author=weird looks from the neighbors.
    Then I remembered I get those anyway……

  • Well luckily CPR outed you with such a great grin, Heraldo. Getting stuck with the second photo would have been less pleasant.

    Jen, you are brave. But I’ll bet your husband gets envious looks from the neighbor guys;>

  • Well luckily CPR outed you with such a great grin, Heraldo. Getting stuck with the second photo would have been less pleasant.

    Jen, you are brave. But I’ll bet your husband gets envious looks from the neighbor guys;>

  • Hey somebody came to my site from an old post of Heraldo’s. I read it and fell in love.

    The comments are awesome, too. Why we love (and hate) Humboldt http://humboldtherald.wordpress.com/2007/07/16/top-twelve-reasons-to-love-humboldt-county/#comments

  • Hey somebody came to my site from an old post of Heraldo’s. I read it and fell in love.

    The comments are awesome, too. Why we love (and hate) Humboldt http://humboldtherald.wordpress.com/2007/07/16/top-twelve-reasons-to-love-humboldt-county/#comments

  • It’s good to read the other bloggers’ lists.

    Here’s my abbreviated version of a top reasons to love Humboldt:
    The friendly, eccentric people. The hard-working, fun-loving people. Ferns and mosses. The coast, the rivers, the hills and trees. The architecture. The cool, wet climate. The oxidation on the corrugated, galvanized barn roofs. The varieties of native grasses. The local beers. The local wines. Dada Dolls.
    And yes, the goat cheese.

  • It’s good to read the other bloggers’ lists.

    Here’s my abbreviated version of a top reasons to love Humboldt:
    The friendly, eccentric people. The hard-working, fun-loving people. Ferns and mosses. The coast, the rivers, the hills and trees. The architecture. The cool, wet climate. The oxidation on the corrugated, galvanized barn roofs. The varieties of native grasses. The local beers. The local wines. Dada Dolls.
    And yes, the goat cheese.

  • Don’t forget Waltana apples and Loleta cheese curds!

  • Don’t forget Waltana apples and Loleta cheese curds!

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