This is the time of year about which English poet John Keats waxed romantic, describing, "Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness/ Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun." Keats not your thing? OK. Hip-hop duo Twiztid, bosom friends from Detroit, rapped thus: "Seasons change and summer turns to fall/ Every minute of my life, I remember it all." (The beat makes this more profound.)
Late sum in the Hum yields plenty of mists, mellow fruitfulness and memories. By enjoying the former, you'll make the latter. Here's a list of memorable short trips ranging from art gallery visits to organic ice cream binging to kicking a soccer ball around a golf course. Yup, that's a thing. Who knew? Plus, playing in the woods, feeding fish, catching fish and soaking up all that mellow fruitfulness. Enjoy.
Crisp currents, placid swimming holes, and ripe orbs of purple berries. The Mad River, despite its name, doubles as a zone of happy. Pack a picnic, towels, your Mason jar for berry-picking and a few quarters for fish food. Take State Route 299 to Blue Lake and drive through town to Hatchery Road. Cruise past Mad River Brewing Company (river odysseys first, beer later), tool down Hatchery a couple miles and take the left fork into the Mad River Fish Hatchery. Park free till sundown. Buy some fish pellets at the gumball machine-like dispenser for a quarter and fling them over long concrete tanks of silvery steelhead fishlings.
Access the river by walking across the hatchery zone or taking a trail past the fish ladders. Fill your jar with blackberries but beware of poison oak. Swimming holes dot both sides of the easy-to-cross river. Just remember currents can change quickly and turn dangerous combined with cold temperatures — enjoy your dip, but swim with caution.
Even with a rented pole and tackle, you'll feel like a local as you compete for a fishing spot on Trinidad Pier. A one-day fishing permit goes for $15.12 at a license agent like Pacific Outfitters, any CVS store, or online at www.wildlife.ca.gov. Gear rents for $20 at Salty's Supply Co. on Main Street in Trinidad. Possible catches? Perch, rockfish or ling cod, Pacific tomcod and jacksmelt. As you cast off into the mesmerizing waves, tourists may pester you with questions about what you're catching. Be friendly or be taciturn. You are Trinidad. You are one with the bay.
Paddleboard Humboldt Bay, gliding across the flat waters along the shores, your feet planted on a wide surfboard. Gently paddle to propel your board toward Indian Island for a view of egrets, cormorants, blue herons or maybe seals. Watch your balance!
Stand-up paddleboarding is an intense workout — cardio and core — that forces the pursuit of equilibrium. Less than stable? Then the sport allows you to cool off frequently by plopping into the bay. Lucky for you, a wetsuit is included in the paddleboard rental package. Beginners can sign up for lessons with Humboldt Bay Aquatic Center (921 Waterfront Drive, Eureka) or take the short lesson included with a $25 equipment rental. Humboat Kayak Adventures (Dock A on the Woodley Island Marina, Eureka) also offers equipment rentals including boards, paddles, wetsuits and personal flotation devices, as well as lessons. Both locations give you direct access to the bay so you don't have to hoist a board atop your compact car.
Coconut cream, cherry cheesecake, lemon-blueberry, pecan — all hand crafted by a piemaker with decades of experience. Rich, sweet fillings and crust that melts on your tongue. Hungry yet? The Palm Café (121130 US Highway 101) in Orick — that burly gateway to the Redwoods — is a global go-to for pie. Every day, 365 days a year, 91-year-old owner Martha Peals and/or her personally trained piemakers bake 10 flaky round pastries — generally five cream and five fruit varieties. A favorite is the strawberry rhubarb pie, made with local produce. Slices are $4.25 until 8 p.m. or the supply runs dry. Get a whole pie for $20. If that's your foodie fantasy, call ahead.
Here's some serious farm-to-table, garden-to-grill: Rent a tidy, not-too-rustic guest cabin in Pepperwood and enjoy the bonus of tasty tomatoes and cucumbers from the family garden. The Krebs family runs Flood Plain Produce (30873-30901 Avenue of the Giants, Scotia) and its guest house — you might have seen their veggies at the farmers market. Fresh feels fab, especially if you've been out hiking in the redwoods. That's right, you'll be exploring. The cabin is surrounded on three sides by Humboldt Redwoods State Park. The cabin ($200 for the first night, $175 subsequent nights) includes a wood stove, grill, hot tub and access to the garden and orchard, not to mention Flood Plain's blackberry popsicles and the sweet, golden corn available at the Corn Crib next door. Sleeps four comfortably. Call the Krebs at (707) 722-4330.
Arcata Scoop (1068 I St., Arcata) boasts a changing menu of artisanal organic ice cream flavors like vanilla lavender, lemon poppyseed and coconut orange chip. Treat yourself to one or more served in fresh, made-on-the-spot waffle cones. Are you vegan? Scoop offers a dairy-free option that varies every day. Today's flavors can be perused on Scoop's Facebook page and on Twitter. The Wonderland-esque décor includes a wooden rocking giraffe that easily seats four and a larger-than-life-sized white rabbit that small people can ride for 75 cents.
Trinidad Arts Night is the first Friday of the month in that famed fishing village. Grab the schedule of Trindad’s art openings and exhibits in the North Coast Journal (online at www.northcoastjournal.com) and hit the road. First stop, Moonstone Crossing for art plus a tasting flight that highlights the wine-making artistry of owners Don Bremm and Sharon Hanks. Across the street, check out the Trinidad Art Gallery, a cooperative showplace for about two dozen painters, potters, woodworkers and photographers. Pop into the Beachcomber Café for an organic snack and, if you’re lucky, music. Up past the Murphy’s Market, you’ll find Strawberry Rock Gallery. Revel in the works of a couple dozen more painters and sculptures. Perhaps you’ll spot gallery employee Antoinette “Toni” Magyar painting in the parking lot. One door down, have a glass of inky syrah at Bergeron Winery tasting room. Cross the parking lot to the Lighthouse Grill for dinner and visit the bathroom. Yes, the bathroom. There you’ll find Magyar’s epic panorama of Trinidad’s picturesque west end.