Do you feel that? The hastening toward winter? This time of year is both beautiful and unfair on the Humboldt County coast. Beautiful because we finally get through May Gray, June Gloom, No-Sky July and Fogust to arrive at crisp, clear, mostly windless days. Did you know, on average, September 1 is the clearest day of the year and September 11 is the warmest?

And yet, just as we arrive at this glorious month, the sun lingers longer before rising and leaves us each evening sooner, squeezing the hours of light into shorter and shorter days – we lose more than an hour of daylight this month! – until Sept. 22 officially marks the end of Summer and launches us full force into Fall.

Consider this post encouragement to make the most of the cooler coast through the waning days ahead. If you live in the greater Humboldt Bay area, these suggestions can be implemented spontaneously and without need for more than an hour or two of getaway time.

If you’re escaping here from inland or elsewhere in California (as that L.A. Times story may have prompted), please enjoy while being kind and not trampling on things!

Biking

I do not enjoy riding my bike from Manila due to the lack of safe bike paths, the prevalence of torn-up roads and the constant scream of big trucks and distracted drivers whizzing past me. However, once you get to town, the Hikshari’, the Hammond and the Humboldt Bay trails offer a relaxing, pretty time. The Humboldt County Association of Governments (HCAOG) offers a map here. The trail over by Target also takes you by some of the newest Eureka murals.

Paddling

Another way to enjoy the new murals under the Samoa bridge is from the water. If you don’t have your own paddling toys – we’ve lucked into the use of some kayaks and a stand-up – both Cal Poly Humboldt’s Aquatic Center and Humboats offer rentals right on the water. Be sure to check the tides so you don’t end up like me! Ideally you’ll plan it around the high tide. I recommend at least a 5-foot high if you plan on exploring around the island. Learn more about the bay, bay tours and efforts to keep this beautiful place protected at Humboldt Baykeeper.

Hiking

I’m extremely partial to the Samoa Dunes and Wetlands, an incredible stretch of dune forest managed by Friends of the Dunes. If you haven’t yet done a guided walk, the next one is on Sept. 17. Up the beach, the Ma-le’l Dunes are otherworldly. And of course, the Arcata Community Forest offers a quick path to immediate forest immersion. Sometimes I think a good hike requires at least a half day and hour’s drive, but then I’m reminded that I can pop into town, do a 40-minute loop out of Redwood Park and emerge with my brain wholly reset. Pro tip: Get yourself the Avenza app to keep you on track while exploring.

One last nudge

I recognize I have more flexibility and accessibility than a lot of people; nonetheless my day job and domestic responsibilities often tether me to home – and I remember when finding a spare moment came far less easily than it might now. If you’re somewhere where weather and safety allow, the restorative power of going outside, away from the computer or the laundry or what-have-you can rarely be beat for one’s mental health. This time of year in Humboldt happens to be particularly conducive to the outdoor frolic, making even a 10- or 15-minute walk or bike ride well worth doing.

Seriously! Sometimes I ride my bike to the parklet and back, which takes all of maybe 12 minutes, and yet even in that short time provides a mood boost that helps keep me going.

May you find similar moments of joy.