Let's face facts: Humboldt County will never boast big city appeal. Shocking, I know. But if you're looking to have your senses assaulted by limitless shopping, dining and/or cutting-edge American culture, you're in the wrong redwood-isolated corner of the state, hombre. Pros? Shorter lines. Cons? No In-N-Out Burger. Be strong. It takes a unique resolve to live here, for sure. To many outsiders, we may as well be lost in the woods.
But them is some great woods, right? If you call Humboldt your home by choice, you've likely embraced being off the beaten path. But how would you feel about, maybe, beating a few paths for ourselves?
If you haven't heard, there's some beatin' in the works. The City of Arcata has plans to get its citizens a bit more access to the surrounding natural beauty with their proposed Arcata Ridge Trail -- a four-mile long trail that would span the Sunny Brae and Arcata Community Forest hillsides from Buttermilk Lane up to West End Road. The aim of the proposed project is to link existing neighborhoods and provide recreation for the fine Arcata folk, as well as habitat for local wildlife.
Of course, money plays a part in this vision. Always a catch. Key land parcels needed to complete the link are not free. Several high-profile fundraising events have already occurred to generate financial support. Remember that drag baseball game? That was one. The latest is the Race for the Ridge Trail Festival, taking place Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 30 and 31 at Redwood Park in Arcata. Trailblazers and those seeking Humboldt culture in general are encouraged to attend.
The event features two days of athletic events to, you know, get you in shape for walkin' that trail when it arrives. Saturday starts with the Run for Your Life 5K run through the Arcata Community Forest beginning at 9 a.m. Wear out your kids by entering them in the Ghosts and Goblins Kids Bike Race at 10 a.m. And if you're a hardcore biker, Ichabod's Mountain Bike Race at noon will kick your ass for a good three hours on a multi-lap 7.25 mile loop through the woods.
For those wanting to avoid helmet hair and/or injury, Saturday is also full of family-friendly goodness (and beer). Beginning at noon, the park comes alive with barbecue and local organic food, a beer garden, trick-or-treating for the kids (remember it's Halloween weekend), a climbing wall, bike demos, raffles and silent auctions. Ears will be treated to live music all day: Tom Petty tunes by Full Moon Fever, wild fiddling and such by Sierra Rose, The Rezonators rockin', blues by Jim Lahman Trio and Black Cat Bone.
Biker insanity continues on Sunday starting at 8 a.m. with the Short Track Slaughterfest Bike Race, which can be viewed from the meadow at Redwood Park, and the downhill Screaming Super D Bike Race at noon. An awards ceremony for those who survive takes place at 3 p.m. A lot of effort to build a pretty walk through the woods? You decide.
For more info, or to download race entry forms, visit racefortheridgetrail.wordpress.com.