Orion's Photos: places - California - garberville

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On April 2, 2005, I was in the San Francisco California bay area for a (NSF Grant Writing) conference in Oakland. I decided to drive up to Garberville, the town where I was born, since I'd never seen it.

The terrain is rolling all along the San Andreas fault, but it's mostly pasture and vinyards just north of San Francisco. Past Willits, it transitions more to coniferous forest, and approaching Garberville, the giant redwoods begin to predominate.

Garberville itself is in a long stretch of really steep, rolling Vietnam-esque wooded valleys stretched out along the San Andreas. It's a small town, but the biggest in the immediate vicinity. My parents were living in a small camp in the nearby town of Redway, closer to the ocean.

I was born in the Jerold Phelps Community Hospital [210-222], most likely by Jerold Phelps himself, as he was the only doctor on the staff. His son now runs the clinic, but they no longer do deliveries because the insurance rates are too high.

I also got pictures of the Garberville library [223], post office [227-228], an many more pictures of the town itself.

On the way back, I hiked up a random hillside [241-], which had been logged at some point--the growth was still relatively sparse, huge stumps were everywhere, and the decaying remains of amazingly steep logging roads criscrossed the hillside. One aspect I couldn't quite figure out was the black plastic hose [255-256] snaking across the hillside. I'd like to think this was some sort of drainage system associated with the logging roads, but I suspect they were actually leech lines draining sewage from the houses that dotted the hillside.

At a glance, the big sprucy forests remind me a lot of Alaska (but somewhere down in southeast, like the Kenai, since they're clearly too healthy for interior trees!), especially the gaudy tourist traps lining the highway. The terrain is definitely something to behold, as there's only a thin layer of clay over bedrock, and you'd never get me to drive up those logging roads, especially carrying a huge load of redwood.

I feel I've gotten at least some connection to how my parents lived in that time, and the move to Alaska seems much less of a drastic change having seen the part of California they left.

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All images taken by Orion Lawlor and placed completely in the public domain.
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