Although I have lived in California most of my life, I have never had the luxury of spending long periods of time on the seashore. It is a world unto its own, in much the same way as my dear and familiar mountain world, however most of DH's family is very intimate with shore (and even sea) life. He worked on commercial fishing boats as a young man, and his father has run them for the past thirty five years, though the last four or so have been in so-called retirement, captaining his own good-sized salmon vessel with my MIL alongside. They will be sitting this season out, as the population of salmon has steadily diminished in the lower 48 states and no commercial fishing will be allowed in their region this year.... a blow as they are both in their mid-seventies and hope to have another season or two in before quitting for good.
Glenn's mom was happy to take a long hike along the bluffs north of Fort Bragg during our stay... we started our hike by crossing the newly-refurbished Pudding Creek walking bridge, and looking up Pudding Creek towards the town.
This wide view was about the last of the sun we saw on our late afternoon hike, as the hot Sacramento Valley temperatures of last week worked together with the marine climate to pull coastal fog in. The weather was still pleasantly warm, and a balmy afternoon to observe lots of flowering plants and sea birds.
Braver souls than we were enjoying a dip in the creek's estuary, while we were content to wander along the bluffs, following various little paths that showed private coves and beaches.
The shoreline as it stretches north has both rocky places and long, sandy beaches... my favorite beach in the area, Ten Mile Beach (photo link to a great picture I DIDN'T take, though I posted several back in 2006, on an earlier visit), starts below the hills where Glenn's parents live and another well-known beach in Fort Bragg is Glass Beach.
Glenn, always more adventurous than average, took the cliffside route, while Diana and I took the better-traveled main route, though we reunited and found these great keyholes in the rocks.
We observed groups of both sea lions and cormorants on shore rocks, though they were too far to fit within my wimpy camera's range...
As you can tell from the photo, by this point in our excursion, the fog had thickened considerably and we decided to head back towards town and get ready for a fine dinner out at the North Coast Brewing Company, complete with sampling a dozen of their special blends (10 came in a sampler of 4 oz. glasses that Glenn and I shared). I don't know if the balmy coastal fogs have anything to do with it, but North Coast's famous Red Seal Ale, along with some of their lesser-known offerings, such as La Merle, Brother Thelonious (in honor of Thelonious Monk) and Rasputin Ale are amongst the tastiest beers I have had. We enjoyed the beer so much that we all returned on Saturday for the noon tour, which was excellent. One trivia fact we came away with was that, even though North Coast turns out 30,000 barrels of brews a year, that is the equivalent of one morning production run at the Budweiser brewery in Northern California.... though I like their's better!