The rain this winter has been relentless. Hiouchi and Gasquet are at about double the rainfall average so far. And it’s not just rain that’s been mucking up the skies this winter — there’s been hail, gale-force winds and snow.
All in all, I’m near ready to trade the bnb in for a tricked-out camper and head south to the beaches of Baja.
Still, there is joy to be found in Mudville.
Here’s my top 5 list for surviving the winter rains in Hiouchi.
1. This is great time to try some steelhead fishing.
The Smith is renowned for the fighting fish. The state record steelhead was caught in the Smith so your odds of landing a big one are at least decent. The species, a sea-run rainbow trout, enters the river starting in January (or so) and populates the river through March. The area is replete with guides who streamline the experience, supplying all the fishing gear and bait, the boat, and advice on how and were to fish. And it is a real experience to float on the Smith, a massive, undammed, free-flowing river. Hit me up for names of guides and you’ll be on your way toward a bucket-list worthy day.
2. Kick back with a local beer from one of two new breweries in Crescent City.
You heard me right. Here we are, behind the redwood curtain, in a forgotten part of the world. But that doesn’t mean we have to deny ourselves the pleasure of freshly made beer. Two, recently opened breweries are well worth a visit. There’s the diminutive and Irish-y tinged Port o’ Pints, and the modernly massive SeaQuake. PoP has a dark, pub-like feel to it while SeaQuake’s open design and giant windows emphasize its coastal location. Both have flights so you can try a good number of the beers on hand. Check the web for hours as wintertime can put a crimp on days and hours of operation.
3. Gear up and go mano a mano with the elements.
Don’t be like me and just watch the weather. Don some boots and arm yourself with a poncho (buy some cheap-o rain gear at Walmart if you have to) and hit the trails. I suggest the shorter loop trails –- Stout Grove, Simpson-Reed, Leiffer/Ellsworth loops –- so you’re not far from your car if weather goes from sour to positively crap. The trails are empty, the air pure, and the trees a glisten-y green.
4. Turn the bad weather into a learning experience.
Of all the indoor activities, two stand out as viable alternatives to being rained on. Pay a visit to the Rowdy Creek Fish Hatchery and spend some time in the Del Norte County Historical Society. Both are educational and more passive than, say, hiking National Park trails. But both locations are worth a visit to bolster your knowledge and appreciation of the area. Watch out for limited hours during the winter months. Call ahead to be sure.
5. Oh, get a room!
OK. So you’re past the age of braving the elements, are on the wagon and can’t imbibe, or can’t stand to be out on a boat. That’s still not a good reason to take a pass on visiting the redwoods or Smith during the winter months. Come and join me at the bnb! We’ll drink coffee all morning and watch the weather make a mess of things from the comfort of a warm living room or kitchen. We’ll grab some books, gaze upon maps, talk about past conquests and future goals. I almost forgot…you can hot tub out in back under the non-porous roof of translucent wiggle-board! Watch the fishermen, watch the rain, watch as limbs and hail rain down from the sky. What’s so hard and threatening about that!
The important thing is don’t stop exploring and experiencing just because it’s cold and rainy outside. For as long as we can, let’s push ourselves (and each other) to enjoy the four seasons and all they throw at us.