When I got to the notorious coastal town of Mendocino, I couldn't help but walk into this little bookshop (I can't seem to walk past any bookshop without havin a peak). I asked to put down my pack behind the counter and fell into a conversation with the two women who worked there. They were both real sweet, and Mary even invited me to stay the night at her home. "I must warn you, I have two teenage daughters," she said. I told her I think that would be alright and she sent me up to her house just in time for dinner. They live in a cute little house above a record's store, right next to the post office, in the middle of town. Her daughter's are Rosie, who's home for the summer after her first year at UC Berkeley, and Margie who's in High School. A few of their friends came over and we had a little party. We all got along great and they even invited me to stay another night, but the road was calling me.
A few days later, I reached a point where Highway 1 turned inland, and I had to say goodbye to the Pacific, for now. I took a moment to sit, to breathe in the ocean air one last time. I walked a few miles inland and suddenly found myself surrounded by giant Redwoods. I was instantly filled with strength and a peaceful wave came over me. I stopped for lunch and had a really great conversation on the cell with my Mama and my brother Joey. She informed me that Reggae on the River was going on, right now, up near Garberville, about 40 miles north. I felt it was too far for today, but when I got off the phone I decided to hitch a few miles up the road towards Legget. My mom sent out some good energy cuz someone stopped right away. It was a women named Liz who was drivin up to Garberville to visit her boyfriend. There was already a hitch-hiker named Gypsy, riding up front, so I jumped in back with my pack and off we went. It is always bizarre, getting into a car after miles and miles of walking. My mind has to adjust quickly. This ride was great. The music was playing, the good vibes flowing, I rolled down the window and the wind was blowing. I was feelin so good I decided to ride with them just about the whole way, to the Reggae on the River music festival! We drove along the winding highway until we hit the town of Legget and suddenly, after a month of walking along highway 1, we were suddenly flying along 101. We crossed the county line into Humboldt County, my new home! I jumped out of the car at Benbow and said goodbye. A tattooed man with long gray hair working security, named Rainbow, let me stash my boots and pack in his truck, and I danced into the festival barefoot. Then it hit me, like a wave. After months of walking alone, in solitude, I felt as if I was suddenly teleported to this festival, with two thousand people in my face. It was a little intense. But the positive vibrations swept over and I had a great time dancing to the sweet reggae music. I spent the night at the Benbow Lake State Park Campground about a mile away.
I woke up the next morning and gave Margaret Taylor a call. Margaret lives with her husband in Garberville and invited me to stay with them in their home after reading about my story in the local paper. She came and picked me up and brought me to their beautiful house in town. I had such a wonderful time with Margaret and Jay and ended up staying for two nights. They really made me feel at home. I even got to soak in their awesome hot tub! They moved out to Garberville 30 years ago during the "late 60's hippie diaspora." We seemed to share values about people and the environment and it was really great getting to know them, I feel I learned a lot. I was really taken back by their generosity. Thank you both for your incredible warmth.
Margaret took me up the road to the Avenue of the Giants, where I got back to walkin. This may have been the most spectacular part of my walk, certainly the most straining on my neck, as I walked with me head tilted up, gazing at these giant trees. These are some of the tallest and oldest beings on the earth, our ancestors, our true roots. Being in their presence produced a profound shift in my state of being. I camped at the Humboldt Redwoods State Park, and hiked into the forest.
Swaying in the wind, the Redwoods croak. Like a door swinging on rusty hinges.
I stare at them in absolute wonder and amazement.
(Like a cow, watching a human walk by).
The Redwoods are ancient Buddhas.
The most incredible sentient beings on the Earth.
This moment, my life, is just a flicker in tree-time.
I made it to the little town of Loleta. The town is real small. There's a "main" street with a Post Office, a Bank, a market, a few empty buildings, and a bar with live music at the end corner. It looks like a movie set. I got in touch with Jeanne Van Der Zee, another woman who read my story and has invited me to stay with them. I'm here a day early. I can hear her surprise and excitement through the phone and in minutes she's there to pick me up. She gets out the car and gives me a big ol' hug and tells me I'm beautiful. Then she took me up to the bar, her bar, that she owns, and treated me to an ice cold local beer. She introduced me to everyone in town, telling my story, and how she read about me in the paper. I felt like a local celebrity. Jeanne is an incredible women with so much love to give. She took me to her home, on the farm, where Peter her husband, and Taylor her daughter were waiting to meet me. Taylor just graduated high school and will be attending HSU this fall too! She took me around the farm introducing me to Papi, their watch dog, their goats, and chickens! The goats were real friendly and came right up and licked my hand. We went back to the house and had a lovely dinner and conversation. Jeanne and her family have been wonderful and I feel like a part of the tribe. I slept incredibly on the soft bed in the road.