Escape Plan Part 2: The Woods

Two weeks ago I started a series of blog posts based on a 4 day trip that Ben and I took up north. (Digression: just thought of how "up north" has a very different and specific implied meaning for anyone using it, depending on their geographic location. For us San Franciscans, "up north" would invoke imagery of towering redwood trees, wine tasting, windy roads and foggy coastal landscapes.) I've been very busy lately, so barely time for editing photos from that trip - which led me to another realization: when, as photographer, you distance yourself in time from the physical subject matter of your photos, editing becomes much clearer. 

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After West Point Inn, we continued our trip to Orr Hot Springs, one of my all-time favorite places in Northern California. At Orr we stayed in a wooden yurt with a round skyline in the middle of the ceiling, right above our bed. It rained non-stop the entire time we were there, which made for an explosion of all senses. The humidity in the air elevated scents from all the greenery surrounding us. The raindrops falling on our roof at night made the soundtrack, and from a tactile standpoint... well, just look at my hand touching that moss-covered tree and you'll understand. 

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One of the yurts at Orr, covered in moss. 

The yurt that we slept in, surrounded by ferns, redwoods and moss. 

The yurt that we slept in, surrounded by ferns, moss and redwood trees. 

In the morning, we found the creek on the property completely swollen and raging, carrying all the water from the overnight rain. The hot spring is located at the bottom of a deep valley, so the hillsides were covered with little streams of water, all eventually flowing into this creek. 

Photo of me by Ben. Since Orr is a clothing-optional place, we did not take too many photos on the property, and left the camera in the room most of the time. One of my favorite moments was soaking in a lukewarm bath (body temperature), while rain was pouring down on us. 

Selfie with a 16mm lens. Also, I love this man. There, I said it publicly. 

The show must go on! The next day, we (reluctantly) left Orr after one last long soaking sesh, and continued for a long hour on the windy and narrow Ukiah-Comptche road until we reached the coast right below Fort Bragg. 

We stopped in the quiet town of Comptche and walked around. This name reminds me of Nepal and Tibet, and the village is full of hippie markings, but the name actually comes from a local native American tribe. The owner of the house above came outside and told us the house has been in his family for four generations, and that his grand grand-father built it. 

Upon reaching the coast, we made another stop at the Little River cemetery. Behind the cemetery there is a blowhole, which fills up with water during high tide. You can hike down to the bottom with the aid of a rope, but we didn't because of the heavy recent rains and all the recently fallen trees. It's a magical place, and definitely a must-stop for everyone driving down the coast.