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What a perfect time to get out and enjoy all that Humboldt has to offer! There is something for everyone, from the worldly wanderer up for a new challenge to harried parents looking for an affordable distraction. Humboldt's creative communities come together to provide a calendar of cultural delights to fill your summer days and nights. You don't want to get lost on the Lost Coast, and it turns out a trusty compass and an old school map (contours are sexy on paper, too) to navigate through dense redwoods are all you need. If you are hankering for a rollercoaster, the Eel River Valley has an exciting solution to scratch your itch. Keep the kids busy learning about the animal tracks you made in their sandbox. Is that a racoon, the neighbor's cat ... or is it Bigfoot? Ask the Humboldt County Visitors Bureau to start you off on the right foot to track the Hairy Man. Soothe your hungry beasties (of all ages) with a cone of their choice: sweet or savory. Or have the partner snap a selfie as you both enjoy a reward of Humboldt's cold brews on tap. Explore, experience and enjoy!

Outdoorsy Types

The Redwood Curtain can dampen cell phone reception, so learning how to navigate without electronics (or Google Maps) is a good idea. Hit your favorite outdoor outfitter and pick up a compass — they're low-frill and low-cost, and they never lose signal. Orienteeringusa.org has the basics outlined in print and a brief video. Follow the flow of contour lines to understand the ups and the downs of elevation before you commit to a day-long hike, though. Start off slowly, navigating yourself around town to get familiar with using the timeless compass.

Try out those new orienteering skills on the McKinleyville Community Forest (Murray Road, McKinleyville. A miscalculation here may only leave you looking at someone's backyard fence, not contemplating eating bark in the dark. The new park is rehabilitating a mix of logged and standing woods, land first taken from Indigenous people and now turned over to the whole community. Rough dirt roads (emphasis on rough, not ADA compliant just yet, anyway) crisscross the 599 acres. The undulating trails are a blast on a mountain bike. McKinleyville Community Service District is asking for public input on planning for the park's usage, so pipe up while you have the chance to let your trail needs be known. Meanwhile, bikes, horses, dogs and people share the still unmarked trails, so keep an eye out for other happy day trippers gaping at the stunning views. The McKinleyville Community Forest is a diamond in the very rough so the best places to park are the logging road entrance pull offs on Murray Road.

For those more advanced navigators with the desire to skirt civilization, the newly restored Punta Gorda Lighthouse in Petrolia beckons. The 1911 National Historic Place lighthouse was deactivated in 1951 because it was considered too difficult to reach for maintenance. How difficult? They called it the Alcatraz of Lighthouses, giving it over to the elephant and harbor seals. Just to visit it requires keeping a careful eye on the tides. The lighthouse is accessed from the Mattole Trailhead of the Lost Coast Trail. Call the Bureau of Land Management King Range Office at (707) 986-5400 to ask about resting your weary bones at the nearby Mattole campground (3750 Lighthouse Road, Petrolia).

Foodies

After a hard hike, nothing is better than a cold local brew from Redwood Curtain Brewery and an excellent sandwich from pub fusion truck in residence South G Kitchen (550 G St, Arcata, brewery 707-826-7222, southgkitchen.com). The pale ale soothes your hot brow as you wait on the patio for your food. The rockfish tacos (grilled or deep fried) are a delight, with a tangy slaw and yummy Baja sauce. The ribeye French onion cheesesteak sandwich will pull you back to South G for more. Kids will love the fish and chips, and the veggie offerings are delectable. You can also get a refillable growler or crowler of Redwood Curtain's finest brews to keep that tank topped up. (We see you eyeing that creamy stout for later.) Or maybe one of the Funky Notions series. Oh, the choices!

Think about it. Creamy mashed potatoes in homemade gravy, smothered in smoky beef brisket, sprinkled with bacon and cheese ... in a savory waffle cone. This comfort treat from heaven is the specialty of the Lighthouse Grill (355 Main St., Trinidad, 707-677-0077). They also serve up a delicious menu of hamburgers (beef and tofu), fish and chicken strips to satisfy your hungry hordes. Added to local beers (Mad River and Redwood Curtain), homemade ice cream and locally sourced ingredients, is the stunning artwork — look up! The ceiling murals will delight you with their switched-up perspective on ocean life. Don't miss the bathroom, a surround of Trinidad bathed in sunlight but frozen in time, all painted by Westhaven Center for the Arts Artist-In-Residence Antoinette Magyar.

Wok In Wok Out Asian Eatery and Boba Tea Shop (307 Second St., Eureka, 707-222-6677) waits for you with a tall, cool Taiwanese treat of tea and tapioca pearls as a fun refreshment. The Lao specialty kao poon noodles will fill up the tanks after that wander around Old Town and the Laotian larb awaits those who love a fresh, spicy dish (you know who you are). Wok In Wok Out is the comeback story of the year with Ronnie Worasen, former chef/owner of Hunan Restaurant, returning to the kitchen after a life-changing accident. He and his wife, Kommaly, bring the heat to feed your chili pepper need. Hungry yet?

Art Lovers

The creative muses of Humboldt are super busy. Take advantage of the wellspring and dip your toes into the pools of local talent. The venerable Brenda Tuxford Gallery (422 First St., Eureka, 707-442-8413) run by the Ink People Center for Arts and Culture provides space to an array of dazzling creations, with a regular rotation of exhibits and events. You can also experience the Wiyot Salmon Ceremony oral history exhibit in the adjoining Humboldt County Visitors Bureau. From the exuberant to the reverent, the gallery caters to your cultural appetites. Stop in and talk local arts with those who are in the know.

Take a drive to Humboldt's favorite Victorian town to visit the Ferndale Arts Gallery (535 Main St., Ferndale, 707-786-7051) artists collective. Twenty-one talented artists present their photography, pottery, fiber arts and sculptures, from the experimental to the traditional. You can patronize Ferndale's artists by hanging art on your walls or around the neck of your loved ones. The stunning artisan jewelry is perfect for a graduation or anniversary gift, and there is always an artist on hand to assist in finding that one creation seemingly made just for you. Did you see the delicate brush strokes on that painting by this month's featured artist? Surely you can find space on your walls for something that luminous.

Heed the call of the redwood's thespians and musicians (Sequoias histro et musicus) echoing throughout Southern Humboldt. How long has it been since you went to a live show? Check out the fun at the Mateel Community Center (59 Rusk Lane, Redway, 707-923-3368), the gateway to rural redwood performing arts. Take in the sensational offerings of the 47th annual Summer Arts and Music Festival on June 8-9. Float along to the righteous tunes of the 35th Reggae on the River from Aug. 2-4. Go to Open Mic First Mondays to test out that material you've been honing. (Go on. You can do it!) Visit the Redwood Playhouse (286 Sprowel Creek Road, Garberville, redwoodplayhouse.org) for the annual live theater presentation written by teens ages 12-18, aka Recycled Youth. All chances to support the arts in its first bloom.

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Meg Wall-Wild

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