Snapshot. Choose a sing card and write a one-page story that explains or describes what’s happening. Try to add drama. Be imaginative.
A woman of wings, feathers, and beastly qualities emerges from the embers. She held a half-moon metallic staff with a burning red ember at its center. She hovered forward. The darkness of the underworld is colder, the stillness denser, and the vastness hollower than she had ever experienced on earth. The creatures crawled toward her in fear, pulled by power. They bowed and trembled, pushing through the energy to graze her presence. She steps up on the night crawlers and lost souls as they travel into a staircase, throwing themselves over each other as she ascends out of the darkness until a blue light illuminates Pluto’s gate.
“Come with me,” she spoke to the doomed. “You deserve closure.”
Eris opened the gates of hell for all the creatures to return to earth. She flipped the hourglass and froze the stone doors open until the end of Samhain. “May chaos bring peace and understanding.”
The man on the moon sends Pegasus down from the cosmos and invites Eris for tea, and she gladfully accepts.
“A shift,” A strong man with skin the color of bark and the face of a sacred ibis spoke.
“Yes, I have emerged,” Eris lit an herbal sacrament and inhaled, and she found a suitable stone as if an altar to make herself comfortable on.
“To make changes, “Eris spoke arrogantly.
The eternal being Yah’s eye squinted. “I make the changes.”
“I have basked in the light of your earthly realm presence and experienced your ‘changes,’ “she spoke unhindered.
“Well, please… indulge me on your human experience.”
“I was not needed,” she flicked the joint, and plants began to grow from its ashes. Yah quickly stomped them out.
“And what makes you think you are needed now?” Yah said dryly and annoyed.
“I thought you invited me for tea?” Eris responded. She felt no need to reveal her skin or to batter her eyes.
Yah snapped his fingers, and the creatures of the moon, blue earth-dwelling characters, set up a table and porcelain arrangement along with silver utensils.
“What are you doing on earth?”
“Creating chaos. There’s a need for that.” Eris said, making up her tea the way she liked it- black.
Last month I went on three camping trips with the kids, to the Summer Music and Arts Festival, Grizzly Creek campsite, and with my partner to Ruth Lake. We had a great time and no one got sunburned! Here are a few quick tips on how I made it camping for a month with my kiddos!
The Sumer Music and Arts Festival was the hardest of the trips. We were vending and had a fairly large pop-up behind our booth but it’s not easy keeping a ten-month old in the shade. He enjoyed walking around and listening to music. I brought ear muffs for the kiddos so they could enjoy the stage and a wagon to pull the baby in. We were placed next to a yoga dome that was never built so there was less traffic our way. My daughter got poison oak in her eye on Sunday and we had to rush to the ER and they dosed her with steroids. I’d say we reacted properly and got her help as soon as it was obvious the swelling wasn’t going to go down with over-the-counter drugs. I came back to pack up without the kids. We brought lots of water to this event and had friends camping with us to help along the way.
Grizzly Creek Campsite we were able to cook on the fire. Check-in took a little while but the kids played with the freshwater spickets. Friends came and went and our dog Zed protected the campsite. Halaya set up her first tent which was a huge accomplishment. I took the kids swimming and Malakai had a blast in the water. He wasn’t a fan of his LifeVest but we had a lot of fun in the shallow area. I didn’t bring enough formula and the surrounding stores didn’t have any but I was able to contact a friend to bring it before it was too late! Camping with the kids isn’t nearly as hard as it might seem. The baby wakes up twice a night and I have extra bottles made. I made the bottles with hot water but I might have made a bottle or two during the day without making a fire and heating it. We brought baby sunscreen and a little sun hat. Halaya read to me at night and wrote a haiku in her journal. On Sunday we went hiking and explored the forest and river. I used my Ergobaby backpack to comfortably hike with the baby. It was a path off the road that doesn’t look like it gets a lot of foot traffic and leads to a beautiful clover field.
My husband got jealous of all our camping and wanted to come with us on an excursion. He loves to fish, so we went to Ruth Lake. Ruth Lake is beautiful. You can see the trees on the hilltop are burned from recent fires and have a white tint. The valley had come back, with lots of greenery and life. We wanted to camp at Boy Scout Camp but so did everyone else because it was full. I would recommend getting a reservation for that one, word says it has great fishing. Instead, we settled for the first campsite Fir Cove Campsite. The sites were more spread out than the other sites, there was easy access to the water and hiking trails. We brought both the dogs on this one and they did great! Halaya and I walked the trail closest to the water and it lead to the next campsite. We swam in the water which was mushy and full of tall grass. I swam pretty far out and the weeds continued to tickle my body. We cooked hot dogs and let the dogs swim after the beach was clear of other guests. We drove around looking for the perfect fishing spot but couldn’t find it. I recommend reserving a boat, fish are released into the lake seasonally.
Overall camping with the kids is magical. In the forest, no work and time spent together. I loved every moment I got with my children, friends, dogs, and husband. I appreciate everyone that was a part of my camping excursion. The biggest tip is not to forget sunscreen, lots of water, and formula. Don’t be scared to sleep in the tent with the kids and spend time under the stars.
Renascence means the revival of something that has been dormant.
A transformational festival is a music and art event that wakes the unconscious, resonates the soul and unleashes the skills trapped within.
June 10-12 (Laytonville, CA)- Renascence has been a music festival that has been thriving to come to existence through the creative minds of artist that have been attending transformational festivals since 2016. Aspired to have been in production since pre-covid, taking a major hit when the gathering was indefinitely postponed in 2020. The name Renascence resonates with attendee’s as they have been forced in their homes and away from community gatherings for the past two years due to COVID. The festival brought what we’ve been waiting for, a healing and rejuvenating experience. It was a beautiful relief and intimate reunion as we came into flow with the Renascence crew.
Volunteers began streaming in on Thursday, although the build crew had arrived the week prior. Gates opened to the public on Friday and people weeded through the quaint hippie town of Laytonville and on to the outskirts to the event.
Renascence was held at Mendocino Magic, an exclusive 600-acre campsite at the Holland Reservoir, which provides clean water to neighboring farms. With plenty of room to camp, attendees dropped off their gear and had the option to park in general parking or car camp. Glamping was also available! Cheerful camp host-squad was present and proud to share their “burning man” inspired foundation where they host other events such as stargazing, campouts, and paintball.
Three stages were conveniently placed within comfortable walking distances from camping areas. The Basin stage was hidden at the furthest North corner near RV camping, headlining DJs such as Angelic Roots, SUDS, Alien Kitty, and Bioship who threw down phat beats into the early morning, turning off its speakers at 8am. At Meadow Stage, across from artist camping and surrounded by vendors, live artist, and Couch Fam, hosted several more DJ’s including Beat Kitty, AN-TEN-NAE, Dev Step, and AHEE. The third stage, the Reservoir, hosted live music and EDM, situated along the waterfront under a comfortable shade structure, with amazing musicians such as Reverend Stefen Sams, Ancestree and LaPostive. With such incredible music comes fun, loving vibes.
Vendors, performing artists, and live artists filled this space with creative endeavors. Wire wraps and fine jewelry by Or Original’s, pipes and bongs by Leafy Green, and hand sewn jackets from Zuvuya by Representz Clothing. Headlining live artist, Joe Mallory (who painted at Renascence pre party), and guest artist Gabriel Welch. Alongside Elliot Bliss, Katie Rose and many more. Fire performers, aerial silk dancers, LED flow artists and exotic dancers left each stage a unique experience. Talk of the town was that the first Renascence was an artist party, we were left in awe flooded with talent all around.
Hiking trails, kayaks, clean swimming water and art sculptures made this more than a music festival but an exclusive experience. In between stages stood a tea teepee with psychedelic black light art and a patio where ayahuasca inspired music by Eostar and the WEB of ONE rang into the valley. Healing from the community coming together must have imprinted the land, by the time Sunday rolled around so did the heavy rains, which is always needed and appreciated in Mendocino County.
Co- founder and producer Tori Love made a statement on June 20th reflecting on the festival,
Volunteer lead and co-producer Jordan @santacruzceramics also states after processing the event, “My experience was humbling and gratifying. Being able to provide the experience of Renascence for our community was the single biggest undertaking of mind, body and spirit I have ever done. Working with Tori to bring our dreams into reality was a blessing along every step of the way and we’re so excited to do it again next year!”
Party-goer and old-school DJ, Lyjia (Tom Core) states, “Beautiful grounds and staff were welcoming. Had no idea what to expect and was pleasantly surprised. I had heard a joke that people party to bass music in the forests and didn’t realize it was true!”
I highly recommend checking the Renascence Festival IG (@renascencefestival) to view all the talent that attended, and I hope to see you there next year!
If you’re familiar with my blog, you might have read my post “Places to Hike in Humboldt County.” Headwaters Reserve. This beautiful salmon spawning preserve has more to offer than meets the eye. Take a trip along the dirt paths that branch from the cement road, and a trained eye will see a whole ecosystem full of mushrooms.
Why forage mushrooms? Mushrooms are a fungus that grows from mycelium. There are miles of mycelium under the forest floor, a massive white fiber that communicates with trees and the rest of the duff. Mycelium grows mushrooms for different purposes, from decomposing dead material to forming partnerships with plants. Mushrooms vary in characteristics and design. Some are poisons, some induce hallucinations, and others are great in meals. When picking your mushrooms, be careful which you touch, which you eat, and which you use for medical purposes.
Are you interested in mushroom foraging but don’t know where to begin? There are a few simple steps you can take to start your mushroom adventures!
The best time to look for mushrooms is during the rainy season. Mushrooms grow in different habitats. Some thrive on trees, while others can be underneath ferns or in the dunes and your backyard. In Humboldt, Porcinis form close relationships with pine trees. You may find these and Chanterelles also under spruces. Oyster mushrooms like to expand on dead and dying alder trees. Ways to identify mushrooms is by using a book such as Mushrooms of the Redwood Coast by Noah Siegel. Other ways to identify mushrooms are taking pictures and using an app or a Facebook group. At first, it might be overwhelming. I don’t recommend searching for a specific species unless you know that it will be growing in a particular area. In identifying mushrooms it is also important to recognize the surrounding trees.
Humboldt County is a mecca for mushroom foraging. There are many trails and forests where you can find all types of shrooms! The mushroom community is supportive and will help guide you in safe foraging. While mushroom hunting, you should only take what you need, don’t take all the mushrooms (!), and leave no trace. It is bad ju-ju to sell natural resources, including mushrooms, so do it for fun and your community! My neighbor blessed me with chanterelles that we put on our steak, and it was the best meal I ever had! These kinds of actions not only put a smile on someone’s face but create memories that are not easily forgotten. Mushrooms foraging is a family sport, so grab your loved ones and head to the woods to see what you can find! You are continuing the mushroom life cycle just by walking through the terrain.
Please follow habitat guidelines. It is strictly noted not to walk off-trail at the headwaters preserve. Stick to the dirt trail!
I was thrilled to see otters in Trinidad Bay swimming in a small pack. I thought I saw a family of otters. I have come to learn that they must have been either a female or male pack since this species practices “sexual segregation.” Besides otters being adorable, they help protect the kelp forest. They are a keystone species; without them, the ecosystem will collapse—a genuine threat after otters were overfished in the nineteenth century, skinned for their fur. I can only imagine how many kelp forests would cease to exist if this happened, not to mention the abundant ecosystem in Trinidad Bay. It was an honor to watch these beautiful creatures swimming along the cliff from the Trinidad Pier.
There’s a lot of information about sea otters, so let’s do a little sea otter 101. 2005 in Trinidad Bay, Scott Shannon observed five generations of otters. As I mentioned before, otters are segregated by gender. The females swim in a hierarchy, while the males live communally and share who leads the team. Little Mama was the oldest of the otters Scott Shannon observed. She died at fourteen years old (breaking a record.) Three out of four otter pups don’t survive outside of infancy. Unlike other marine mammals, otters do not have blubber, so they clean their fur to keep insulated. The otters are hunted for their fur, but the pollution from waste and fishing is a leading cause of death.
Trinidad has a protected, giant kelp forest located at Trinidad Head. The kelp forest is home to thousands of species creating a diverse ecosystem for our fishy friends! Otters eat urchins, which eat kelp and quickly dominate coral reefs. With the protection of the otters, kelp forests thrive. Without otters, the ocean’s ecosystem is not balanced. This aquatic paradise in Trinidad is protected from waste and pollution. Extra precautions are met for the safety of the ecosystem and its otters.
These intelligent animals keep a distance from people after being hunted for generations. Yet, it isn’t unheard of for the youngins in Trinidad Bay to take a liking to people watching. Perhaps the cleanest ocean puppy, otters are animals to love and appreciate. Without them, we may not have the life-giving kelp forests that we see in Northern Humboldt today.
This week I have explored three new locations to hike in Humboldt County.
I started in Sunny Brae, where I hiked trailhead 1, the Beith Creek Loop Trail. I came upon two beautiful creeks during a moderate hike followed by an intermediate upslope. This hike is full of giant redwoods and immerses its participants in a forest experience. In addition, this trail has a bike-friendly accomplice. Unfortunately, this trail gets some traffic since it is so close to Arcata and College of the Redwoods. Nevertheless, my dog and I thoroughly enjoyed this hike. It is the most challenging of the three listed. This is a dog friendly trail.
Next is Headwaters Forest Reserve, which is full of history and plant life. This 11-mile hike (to the end and back again) is a day’s mission—5 1/2 miles to the end and back again. The first mile is on a paved road that follows a stream. Along the way, there are signs posted to educate people passing by about salmon spawning and how the forest reserve came to be once an old logging road. There is a beautiful, wooden education building in the first stretch. Once the paved road turns to dirt, I find the path less crowded and have yet to pass another person after this point. There are some uphill sloops, but overall, the hike is an easy one to make. The path is pristine. Running water and the songs from the birds fill the forest. I worked on training my dog on this path because it is a beginners hike and I can communicate with her easily compared to the rough terrain of the forest. I recommend this hike for someone looking for an easy-going day hike. This is a dog friendly trail.
I also made it to Agate Beach in Trinidad this week, a 32-minute drive from Eureka. We paid $8 for parking and drove through a rather large campsite to a parking lot on the coast. A beautiful view of the ocean awaited us when we got out of the car. From there, we hiked down a beautiful steep hill with gorgeous plants with a rather attractive texture. The trail was a little wet from running water. When we reached the bottom, there is a stream to your right where I left an offering of used tea herbs in thanks for any pebbles that we collect on the coast. Next, we walked down the nearly empty beach surrounded by redwood trees. The ocean seems to have less aggressive waves than on the beach in Eureka, but the tide comes in fast, so you have to watch out while collecting stones. We all got our shoes soaked. The stones are small in size but are what I was looking for during our walk. I brought some home to craft with for my Little Lost Forest store. This wasn’t a dog friendly trail.
The Redwoods are bound to make you realize, “I love trees!” Loggers have left sites naked with nothing but flammable debris and fires in California, this year, have destroyed thousands of acers. The longing to help out such an old and sacred plant may raise the question, “How do I plant a tree?”
You can plant trees on any property that the property owner has allowed you too. First determine the area you plan to grow and what trees are native there. You can collect seeds from community trees, buy seeds of native plants, or you can clone the trees that you find are thriving in your community. You have the option to plant urban trees, which can provide shading and bring tranquility to your surroundings or forest trees, which often times grow large and must be supported by surrounding shrubs. All trees help the environment because they filter access CO2 and pollution and they cool the air, protect from floods, houses hundreds of animals, insects, and plants. They employee millions and reduces stress and anxiety while providing shade. Trees are an answer to the climate crisis.
Walking into the Redwoods a feeling of divine spirituality, profound being, and an alter in consciousness occurs that may help us feel connected to the whole. Redwoods are resilient. They can withstand being burnt, their stumps will live on after the tree has been cut, and they live up to 2,000 years old and on average 500-1,000 years. When you’re in the redwoods feel free to connect with them; talk to the trees, touch the trees, hold the trees and hug the trees!
Let’s get back to growing some trees.
Seeds from trees vary, Redwood trees come from mature cones that are a greenish yellow color. The cones must be dried and then tumbled to remove the seeds. Like growing any plant from seed, not all the seeds are guaranteed to grow. Till the area you plan to plant and dig a small hole. Plant the seeds at least a foot distance from one another. Water your seed and allow your seedlings to grow. In a few weeks, transfer the sprout to a pot. Once the plant has grown to be approximately two feet you can transfer this little guy to its permanent home.
When cutting clones, cut the branch at an angle, as well as removing any new green growth. Dip the bottom of your clone in a rooting hormone. Leave your cone in a cup of water out in the sun to grow more roots! Plant your clone in a pot or cup with soil and water it. Place it in a humid place to trap all the moisture. When your plant is about two feet tall you can plant it in your desired location.
As the rivers fill with rainfall and fish fill the once empty streams, fishers cast their lines and enjoy catching Humboldt County’s gorgeous aquatic creatures. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife clearly states their fishing regulations (https://wildlife.ca.gov/) but why are these rules important to follow? For various reasons that span from extinction/ overfishing and protection during spawning, fish also help transport energy and marine-derived nutrients to the forest and ecosystem. These fish are called diadromous fish and they help keep our forest healthy similar to how the omega and other nutrients in fish keep you healthy. Diadromous fish spend an equal amount of time in the ocean as they do in freshwater, their bodies transition to survive the different environments.
Fish in Humboldt County that are diadromous fish include Pacific lamprey, Pacific salmon, steelhead (trout,) Pacific herring, and American shad. The nutrients come from a lifetime of fish-eating nitrogen-rich food which is dispersed by their waste and decomposing bodies. Diadromous fish load up on nitrogen 15 while living in the ocean and they bring these nutrient backs to freshwater which is later distributed into the surrounding ecosystem. The salmon need the forest to canopy their breeding ground. After they spawn their life cycles end and their bodies will find solid ground and their nutrients will go back into the earth. When fish die and sink to the bottom, mass fungus and bacteria grow over the carcasses and dead flesh attracting bugs and other aquatic life that eat the fungus and bacteria. When the fry hatch after their parent’s spawning, they eat the bugs and algae that accumulated from the bacteria from their parents then return to the sea bringing with them these rich nutrients. When the river is flooded it spreads these nutrients throughout the forest. When the beds are dried up the richest soil comes from these streams. Like the seagull will catch fish and its waste or the fish carcass will find land, other animals such as wolves and bears who eat up to 600 fish (per year), catch them out of the river and distribute nutrients into the forest. The bears distribute the fish into the woods only eating certain parts of the fish like the brain, guts, and eggs. Therefore, they leave room for other animals to feed and disperse the leftover carcass until finally the maggot’s consumer what is leftover and eventually become food for the birds returning in the spring and further disperse the nutrients to the north and south continents.
While many fish are abundantly available through hatcheries some of these same fish are hardly surviving in the wild. For example, the “Lingcod has an estimated 92.5% decline in the population [in North America},” according to researchgate.net. American shad, Pacific herring, and Pacific salmon all face a natural and human-induced decline in population. These fish are essential to our ecosystem. You can find all fishing regulations for Humboldt county here: https://wildlife.ca.gov/Fishing/Ocean#310671027-finfish-and-invertebrates. Thank you for reading and enjoy your local wilderness.
Senator George J. Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions. Diadromous Fish Species. The University of Maine.
Garwood, R. (2017). Historic and contemporary distribution of Longfin Smelt (Spirinchus thaleichthys) along the California coast. California Fish and Game 103(3): 96-117
Hiking is one of the best ways to get outdoors and get a good workout in. However, with times being what they are it is not always easy to find the time to sneak away for a hike. With kids busy with home school and people working remotely there is always something going on and fitness rushes to the back burner. This doesn’t have to be the case and you can make it all.
Getting the entire family involved in fitness is the perfect way to guarantee that you will always get your workouts in, as well as spend quality time as a family. With work and school being remote it means that people spend more time sitting down in front of screens than they ever did before. This is bad for the body as it allows for less blood flow. It also makes it harder to burn off the extra calories you take in by being at home more. There are so many different outdoor sports and exercises that can be done, and hiking is one of the best.
Hiking is great for anyone because there are different levels of trails from easy to advance and you can pick which one works best for you. Alltrails.com is a great free site to find local trails near you and all the information you could possibly need. Here you will find where the trails are, how long they are, and how difficult they are. You can sit down with the kids and figure out what trail you want to try out and make plans to do it. This will be a great way to get some exercise, get your kids off of the couch, as well as off of their screens, and you get to spend time together. This is a win-win situation.
This is something you can do at any time of the year as long as you do it the right way.
Safety is number one when it comes to any outdoor activity but very important when you are hiking. Make sure to prepare for the trip and take all of the essentials with you. You can even find a hiking checklist to use that will guarantee you have everything. A few key tips would be to dress properly, make sure you have energy type snacks, plenty of water, and a first aid kit. There are lots of things you should take to make sure you are prepared and safe. This is supposed to be a great workout and a chance to have some family time, so you want to do it right.
Hiking is one of the greatest ways to enjoy nature, spend time with your family, learn new things, and burn some calories. Make it a new family tradition to go on a hike once a month and explore new areas. This will get you all moving and bring you closer as you make memories your kids will always treasure.
SEPTEMBER 9, 2020 (9:00pm): As our state burns, we watch it from our doorstep. The sky is orange, thick with a dreadful smoke and the sun’s gamma rays burn through the ozone layers, thick from the fires that burn around us. As the August Complex Fire and Rock Complex fire burn into one another, we look at over 491,466 acres that are now ash (Cohen,2020). The Butte/ Tehama/G Fire burns also to the south of Eureka with a 58% containment and a total of 2,782 acres burned and to the east, there is the Willows Fire with fourteen homes destroyed and no sign of containment. Talk of the apocalypse floods social media and the fear of jobs and livelihoods hang by a string.
In the chaos of 2020, our country is anything but contained. A fire burns within all of us and displacement has reached many in our country. A total of 41,051 wildfires and 4.7 million miles burned. The eeriness of destruction is among us. I can’t help but to wonder how Indian’s survived before us and why the practice of controlled burns is not still used today.
Within the day, I saw from my window, children run and scream down the streets in laughter, illuminated by the shades of red in the sky. In this time of chaos, I am reminded of rebirth. For months I have been struggling to find my place in the struggles of the BLM movement, Save the Children, and COVID. As there is no fire to light when the world is lit it is a good time to slow down and reflect, if this was the apocalypse where would you be?
Rather in San Diego, San Francisco, Humboldt county we are all experiencing confusion, displacement, and fear. We are constantly being divided yet the fire that burn our country calls for unity within the community. Loss of jobs, homes, and family resonate with many and the need to rebuild is more relevant than ever.
After the fires, towns will need to regrow. As I have seen in the past there is a phoenix that rebirths. The community rebuilds, together gathering resources as locals reunite. Jobs flood the area, when a community rebuilds and people come where there’s work. With the help of devoted locals, property insurance and community funding a candle is lit and the flame is reincarnated in a different light.
Be safe out there<3
Humboldt County fairgrounds is open for evacuated animals. Call 707-496-8841 to arrange a drop-off.