Northern California is unique in and of itself. It offers an environment unlike any other carved from a rugged, virgin, ever evolving earth on the eastern rim of the Pacific Ocean. Mendocino county in particular is full of environmental subtleties all its own, with unmatched fauna, flora and landscape. If ever in the area, there is a laundry list of activities you must enjoy.
The Glass Beach
Probably the most colorful site you’ll see in nature, the Glass Beach by Fort Bragg is the highest concentration of sea glass on earth. Dazzling the senses, the sea glass runs the color spectrum from the deepest of reds to the brightest of yellows. Rounded by the rolling waves of the Pacific Ocean, the sea glass is composed of all kinds of elements.
What some may not realize, however, is this sea glass is a product of mankind and their trash from the early 20th century. It consists of everything from bottles to window panes to pottery and is a perfect example of nature reclaiming man’s impressions on earth.
Unusual soil composition and pH combine to stunt the growth of the trees and shrubs in this secluded section of forest. Low growth is thanks to a poor water table, fast drainage and inhospitable naturally occurring chemicals have allowed the foliage to sustain here for hundreds of years but certainly not flourish. And the culmination is much more interesting than a bunch of short trees. Rather, the conditions have created an almost alien landscape thanks to a phenomenon replicated few other places on earth.
A designated California state park, the Mendocino Headlands is a coastal hiker’s paradise. Completely secluded from the ‘advances’ of civilization, the park is a perfect cross segment to the Northern California landscape. Easy-to-hike yet rugged trails span the coastline to provide perfect vantage points for amazing vistas over the Pacific Ocean and the beaches hugging the shores. And you don’t have to be an expert hiker or climber to traverse the pioneering—yet welcoming—trails.