A. W. Way County Park, layover day

June 17: Humboldt County A. W. Way County Park, layover day

Our first full layover day was a welcome respite from the daily routine that has developed for all our walking days. Our main morning task was to partake of a fine breakfast prepared by Berti and Jo – scrambled eggs, raisin and walnut toast, ham, hash browns, juice, coffee – fine fare for an expedition.

We also learned that Helene is safely back in San Diego where her hoped-for speedy recuperation will have her joining us soon.

This is our third day at A. W. Way County Park, and it was a good decision to have our rest day here. Our campsite is carpeted by mown grass, and the park has a pleasing appearance. It is situated on a large flat embraced by a long bend in the Mattole River. There is a substantial flow yet in the Mattole but not enough to make the water too cold for prolonged immersion, and the swimming holes are excellent. Since it is the middle of the week, the park is sparsely populated.

The land for the park was given to the County by A.W. Way (no surprise there) in 1968. Way’s story is fascinating: first a lawyer and then judge in the very early 1900s, he seemed to have a knack for making good business decisions. At a time when automobiles were a fairly new invention, he opened a car dealership selling such automobiles as Loziers, Chalmers, Hupmobiles and Studebakers. When the S.S. Bean ran aground near Centerville Beach, he acquired salvage rights and had to build a road out to his new booty. He won the San Francisco Bay Regatta’s Perpetual Challenge Cup in 1913 and by the 1920’s was mayor of Eureka. Later he became a State Senator.

In the afternoon, after Richard and Brenda Nichols arrived with our backpacks, we spent our time packing for the start of the backpack portion of the expedition. We will next walk through the King Range’s Lost Coast and through the Sinkyone Wilderness State Park – for the most part, well beyond roads. We will be out of communication during this time so will try to catch up this journal when we shed our backpacks in about a week’s time. (Jon Breyfogle; photos, Linda Hanes)

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