Sunday, February 26, 2006

The Charm of Italy: "The Charm of Italy
By Betsy Husband

Was it seven weeks in Italy, or two years? It's hard to tell. We started planning our trip almost two years before going. At first it was just casual conversation, then actually talking about when and where. Before long I was enrolled in Italian classes and actively searching the Internet for villas in Tuscany, for accommodations in other areas we wanted to visit, and for the best airfare. We also spent time talking to people about their experiences and soliciting suggestions from them. All the while, I was experiencing Italy from afar, living my travels far before getting there.

We were lucky enough to have a 10-day trip to Italy in February before our big summer trip. My husband had the opportunity to attend a meeting in Rome for five days, and we spent another five days just playing. Rome in February is spectacular. The days were crisp and clear, and there were plenty of people and activities. I spent five days exploring on my own during the day, and finding special restaurants that I had read about with my husband at night. By the time his meeting was over, I felt comfortable with the city and the transit systems, and I was able to play tour guide for my husband. Even though the weather was chilly, everyone bundled up with coats and scarves and spent a great deal of time outside; walking, sitting at sidewalk cafes, and wandering through the piazzas and along the Tiber River.

One day we figured we walked about 15 miles, beginning in the morning and not returning to the hotel until 2 a.m. Rome is so full of history that it seemed at every corner we would come across a historical point of interest. Most memorable was rounding a corner and just happening onto Trevi Fountain. It took my breath away. I was so excited!

After our spontaneous trip to Rome our planning int"
The Eureka Reporter - Article: "

Enjoying summer in the dead of winter
by Betsy Husband, 1/27/2006

Known for being affluent and conservative, San Diego shows its best side in the winter. While Humboldt County residents dodge raindrops and mud puddles, San Diegans bask in winter warmth as daytime temperatures average 70-80 degrees.

The grass is greener and water cheaper in Humboldt County. But for glorious golden rays and an economical weekend escape, grab a Friday night flight out of Arcata and spend the weekend in San Diego. United Airlines and Horizon Airlines can both get you back by Sunday night.

Mass transit isn�t San Diego�s strong point, but the freeway system is excellent. Take a map of the city, rent a car at the airport and start your adventure downtown.

Just a 10-minute drive from the airport, the San Diego Marriott Gaslamp Quarter is centrally located and has convenient parking. Get a good night�s sleep and bid farewell to the fancy clothes. This is an active itinerary that requires comfortable clothes and shoes for walking, not show.

Situated on Mission Bay, eight miles from downtown, SeaWorld is one of San Diego�s many tourist attractions and a good choice for a quick trip. It�s large enough to fill a day with entertainment, but small enough to feel like you�ve covered it all by day�s end.

There are two options for buying tickets � a quick ticket kiosk or a ticket office, which often has lines. If you�re a member of AAA or AARP, there�s an unadvertised price break. Stand in line, show your card and receive $10 off per ticket.

Show times are listed in the program. Take a few minutes to organize the day a"
The Eureka Reporter - Article: "Tuck and roll: Surfing's not for wimps
by Betsy Husband, 2/24/2006

�What most of the world doesn�t know is that we have world-class surf on the North Coast.�
Tyler Brown

Tyler Brown thrives on boards. When the Humboldt State University journalism senior is not surfing, you�ll find him snowboarding or skateboarding � or, at the very least, with skateboard in hand.

Local interest in surfing has blossomed. Thirty years ago, seeing a surfer in the water was a vision limited to Southern California and Hawaii. Occasionally, a few brave souls would ride the local break. Now, on just about any trip to the beach, you�ll see not just one or two, but many surfers � some with their dogs patiently waiting at the shoreline.

When asked to compare surfing on Northern and Southern California beaches, Brown said, �If you can deal with the cold water, the surfing up here is much better. It might not be quite as consistent, but I guarantee you�ll never have a break all to yourself when it�s head high and glassy in Southern California.�

Brown said that when people think of Northern California surf they think of Santa Cruz. He pointed out that Humboldt County surfing has had a lack of exposure.

Jess Barreilles, who was born and raised in Humboldt County and has owned the Greenhouse Board Shop in Arcata since 2003, agrees that surfing has gained popularity.

�I think there are two reasons,� he said. �The equipment is much better these days, so you don�t get as cold. Also, since more people have been getting out and exploring, they�re finding a lot of areas with good quality surf.�

Barreilles is a member of Humboldt Surfriders, a nonprofit environmental organization that is part of a global network. A"
A World Heritage Site in Our Own Backyard

Part of an elite group of 20 properties within the United States and 812 properties worldwide, Redwood National Park is a World Heritage Site, putting it on par with Yellowstone, Yosemite, Carlsbad Caverns, and the Grand Canyon. And because it is part of the California Coastal Range it has also been designated an International Biosphere Reserve, in good company with Denali, the Everglades, the Virgin Islands and Olympic National Park. People travel thousands of miles to enjoy its beauty and diversity. A 1993 visitor use survey showed that 15 percent of the visitors came from foreign countries. And it’s right here in our backyard.
Lyons Ranch is located within the park. About a mile north of Orick a sign to Tall Trees Grove will direct you east onto Bald Hills Road. The road is well maintained and paved for the first 10 miles, but with a 17 percent grade trailers and motorhomes are not advised. The Lyons Ranch trailhead is 17 miles up the road. Remember to bring water and a snack.
A moderate to strenuous roundtrip 4.65 mile hike meanders along gentle slopes in the quiet solitude of open prairies and oak woodlands. The trail leads you past the Long Ridge sheep shed which had been used for feeding sheep in the winter and winds up at the homestead of Jonathon and Amelia Lyons who settled there in the 1860s. The old barn and bunkhouse create a picturesque landscape and stir fantasies of living there 140 years ago. Wander around to find rusty farm tools and the ancient-looking tricycle hanging in the barn. Picnic tables, both inside and out, offer shelter from the elements if needed.
Throughout our hike we saw very little wildlife until the end. The vision of a mother bear leading her cub through a golden meadow was worth the wait. Once the mother became aware of our presence, she started heading toward shelter, calling to her cub to follow. Typical of any youngster, the cub had its own agenda. We listened to the bears growling in communication and watched the mother go back and forth, trying to get her cub to go with her. Eventually the cub decided to go, giving them a sense of security and giving us clear passage to our car.
The meadows on Bald Hill have a reputation for becoming a carpet of wildflowers in the spring, with the lupine turning the hillsides a luscious purple. This is not only appealing to humans, but the elk love it as well, and as we drove a bit farther along the road we saw over a hundred elk basking in the sun. When one thinks of Redwood National Park it usually conjures up visions of tall trees, ferns and rhododendrons. It’s that, and much more.
For more information:
Thomas H Kuchel Visitor Center
(707) 464-6101 extension 5265
Along US Highway 101 just south of Orick

Redwood National Park

Pets are not allowed on any Redwood National Park trails.