Story and Photos By: Jessica Skinner
As a small business owner, mother, and a few other titles; I find myself busy more often than I realize. When times get draining I sometimes need a restart button. However sometimes a trip to the coast is equivalent! So I did the next logical thing, and booked my family a beautiful stay at a quiet Airbnb in Eureka, California for the weekend. When I got off of work I felt like a student getting out for summer vacation! I drove home eager to go find something magical. We were all so excited, bags were packed, our puppy, and kids were loaded in about 10 minutes flat. As we headed out we had a dance party in our car, sang our favorite songs, and before we knew it we were out of the mountains, and headed into the coastal mountains. As the family wound down, the roads wound up. It was about a 4 hour drive total and we finally arrived at our beautiful Airbnb at approximately 1:30 A.M. We didn’t get much rest for the next morning but we had an agenda to complete.
RISE & SHINE
First on the list was a local grocery store called Wild berries where they serve fresh baked goods, fresh juices, and fresh smoothies. It was incredibly delicious. We decided to take our goodies and drive to a nearby park located near Humboldt State University. As soon as you drive into this park you are instantly surrounded by Giant Sequoias, and ferns growing to their fullest potential. This past year in our homelands, we suffered a massive wild fire “Dixie”, so to see the trees, and greenery thriving was a little emotional, and absolutely breathtaking. Even my toddler Auriella commented “Im so happy you brought us here, it’s perfect.” We spent a little more time inhaling the purity of the redwoods, gathered some timeless moments, and decided to head to the ocean.
There was a nearby beach called Clam Beach and oh boy, it was exactly what we needed. We played, we ran, we collected a few shells, but the wind was so strong, even our kite didn’t know which direction to fly, so we decided to head out again and find something a little warmer, preferably somewhere with tasty food. Trinidad is a small town up the coast a little ways that has beautiful views and a few amazing restaraunts. We decided to grab some warm clam chowder, fish and chips, and pancakes at a local restaurant right on the waters edge called Seascape Restaurant & Pier. After a nice brunch it was about nap time for the girls so we wanted to head back and get closer to the airbnb.Back down the coast we went. While driving around Eureka and checking out the city we soon discovered The Sequoia Park Zoo, which is the oldest zoo in California (founded in 1907). This area of the city is quite unique within itself because there is an elementary school right across the street from not only the Zoo, but a park as well that utilizes the sequoias themselves as the children’s jungle gyms. I decided to look into the zoo and see what it had to offer, and I found out that they had a special feature called a “Skywalk.” Instantly I was wanting more information. I made a few phone calls, and emails, and was able to schedule an interview and tour with the education curator, Christine Nolan.
MEETING THE CURATOR
I learned from Christine that the Sequoia skywalk was only an idea created from Gretchen Zeagler about 15 years ago. It broke ground for construction to make that idea come to life only 5 years ago. It is a walkway that takes you up from ground level then suspends into the beautiful sequoias 100ft off the ground. It’s mindful to everyone, even those with permanent disabilities. These bridges not only take you into the sequoias but they take you into a whole different head space. There is nothing that grounds you better than being 100ft off the ground in hundred year old trees.
The bridges were created by multiple construction teams that included locals from Eureka, all the way to teams from Portland Oregon. It’s safety was guaranteed and created by tree experts that inspected the health of the trees, from the roots up. The safety is maintained not only from the tools used to suspend the bridges, but by undergoing two daily inspections. Then weekly inspections, monthly inspections, and yearly inspections to keep the public and zoo life safe, but also to make sure the health of the trees is also maintained. When building the skywalk tree experts were very precise on how to create such a build without disrupting the life of the tree itself. The bridges are attached to the trees using bolts that imbed into the trees at an average 6-8”. This allows the trees to still grow, and sway how they were naturally intended to.
The extra attention the skywalk has attracted has allowed the park to add new exhibits which will feature fostered black bears, and coyotes that are in need of a home. You will be able to overlook these exhibits while climbing into the sequoias. Besides getting to see the zoo’s exhibits you are also able to see the natural wildlife that thrives in the surrounding forest.
There are a few bridges to choose if you choose a little adventure, I would suggest checking out the bridges towards the end of the loop that have a little less suspension and more of a free flowing feeling to them. It is also where the highest point is where you are 100ft off the ground. A beautiful restart button lies here, suspended in the Giant hundred year old sequoias.
A BREATH OF
If you are overworked, overwhelmed, needing fresh air, or just want to hear the waves crashing against the edge of the coast line, than a trip to Eureka, California, is a great place to go. I can’t recommend it enough. From tasty food, beautiful sights, and breathtaking scenery, to friendly people, this place has it all.
You can really find tranquility in the Northern California coastal region.