We spent the second half of our journey this week in Crescent City, CA, a little town on the coast of the Oregon and California border. It is a town I have a lot of history with, and a town I have literally gone out of my way to bypass for the last 30 years. I was skeptical of spending time in Crescent City, but I wanted to try and revisit some of the trails Isaiah and I hike in the redwoods back in 2016. Like with Isaiah, I suspended by dislike of the town while I was there with Audrey, and try to recreate a meaningful experience during our time processing the death of the kid. But, like many other points along the way, II found that this wasn’t just about the kid, and our time Crescent City became more about me than just the kid and Audrey.
We weren’t able to recreate the hikes that Isaiah and I did in the redwoods because dogs weren’t allowed on the paths. We did manage to find one path off to the side of Jedidiah Smith State Park where we could make a loop through some very beautiful redwood groves, which Poppy loved. Once we completed this hike we made our way through downtown Crescent City to our hotel, setting camp for the next couple of days. When we woke up the next morning we walked through town to a coffee place that supposedly had decent breakfast burritos, and I found myself really grumpy having to walk alongside the highway through town, but as we made our way back we realized there was a formal walking path through the parks and harbor that left me in a much better mood.
The next morning we drove north of the city to a lake area where we walked through beautiful forests and meadows, completing a 4.5 loop through the mouth of the Smith River. This was an entirely new hike for both Audrey and I, and slowly I realized that this portion of the journey would be more about me than it was about Isaiah. I had a lot of baggage regarding this area, and as I began unraveling the why and what behind my dislike for the area, it became clear that it was baggage I could do away with. The hike around the lake, and the new-found walking path through downtown energized me, and the state of processing I found myself in for the week due to Isaiah, once again left me wide open for unpacking and dealing with more of my own shit.
The next day we discovered the Azteca Grill inside the nearby Chevron, who served up very high quality and genuine breakfast burritos, and made use of the walking path to visit the lighthouse, but also tapped into the beach south of the city next to our hotel. Walking the beach to the end and back was about 7 miles providing a very lovely but also physically intense stroll along the beautiful California coast line. The time on the beach gave me a good deal of time to wrestle with why I disliked Crescent City, and the open emotional state I found myself I’m due to our time celebrating the kid left me in a perfect position to peel back the layers of my baggage. Crescent City definitely has its issues with poverty, drugs, racism, and other common rural challenges, but I realize most of my view of it was me, and not the city.
For me, Crescent City wasn’t just about letting going of any single piece of baggage, but making sure that I am open to letting going of large closets full of baggage and realizing how much of my anger, anxiety, and stress from the past is more about me than it is about any single place, event or point in time. I was emotionally open because of the anniversary of Isaiah’s death and birth, being physically challenged on Kerby Peak, and from the destruction at Bolan Lake and healing occurring at Babyfoot lake. It all left me very ripe for healing and change in Crescent City, which was very unexpected for me. But, much of the trip was proving to be unexpected.
I do not think there is any value in my going through everything I’ve experienced in Crescent City that led to my negative views. But there is value in me changing how I view the city, and letting it all go. Additionally, the path we walked on is part of a state-wide walking path being funded and constructed, which is opening up a whole new world of possibilities for me, which is all began in Crescent City. It is amazing to me what is possible when it comes to change once you begin to look more deeply at yourself and the world around you, and I am very proud of myself for being able to unpack things and find ways to lay my demons to rest, celebrate those who are no longer her, while still planting the seeds for a much brighter and happier future for myself.