August 8, 2018 – Arcata Marsh

Cordelia directed us to another fabulous walking trail, Arcata Marsh.  Here is a bit from their web page:

“At the north end of Humboldt Bay, a short walk from downtown Arcata lies a gem known as the Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary. Before it was repurposed as a wastewater treatment plant and wildlife sanctuary in 1981, the property housed a landfill and lumber mill. Over the years, it has grown to a 307-acre mosaic of freshwater and saltwater marshes, brackish ponds, tidal sloughs and mudflats, grassy expanses, and wooded areas.

The Marsh is a renowned location for wildlife watching, a heavily used recreation area, and a remnant of historical use of the area (e.g., log processing, landfill, railroad wharf).

The Arcata Marsh circulates effluent from the Arcata wastewater treatment plant. Its integration of conventional wastewater treatment with the natural treatment system of constructed wetlands has served as a model for similar systems globally and has received numerous awards.

The online birding site eBird pegs the Arcata Marsh as the best birding spot in terms of avian diversity in the entire Pacific Northwest north of Point Reyes, as over 330 species have been sighted within its boundaries.

Its more than five miles of surfaced trails help make the Marsh a favorite recreation spot for tens of thousands of visitors each year, coming from down the street or around the world.”

We did not stop in the visitor center so I did not have a good understanding of the lay of the land.  We parked in a small lot, as opposed to along the roadsides like many others had done. There were two painters at work next to a field.

There was also a signboard with a map.

We decided to walk around Klopp Lake.  The first thing I noticed and the reason that I love this place sooooo much is that the pathway was lined with a wide and tall thicket of blackberries.

There are also clusters of wildflowers here and there.

We had not gone far before reaching a marsh and a pond.

Even though my pictures don’t reflect it, the clouds cleared up enough for us to walk in the sunshine. The fog was still on the mountains.

The blackberries are not quite ripe yet although there were enough black ones for me to eat my fill as we walked along. I was surprised to see blossoms in a few places.

We reached a parking lot where we could have driven, but we needed the walk. There were a few magnificent trees growing there.

We had covered about one-quarter of our trek.

The small lot was on the north shore of  Humboldt Bay.  I guess Arcata Bay is a bay within a bay.

There was a nice handicap picnic table. The city of Eureka is on the far side.

There are a number of benches positioned along the trails to take a rest and enjoy the scenery. Those old pilings running out into the bay were not too scenic to me.

This boulder has a plaque marking the remains of an old railroad bridge across the bay.

Maybe they were not too scenic, but they were historic.

There were a large number of birds on the third side of our rectangular walk. Fortunately, a plaque next to the trail identified them for me:  American Avocet. There were several varieties of birds, but I focused on these.

Periodically, we encountered small paths to the lakeshore and benches.

This very oddly shaped tree has seven or eight horizontal trunks (or branches?). It was a grove in itself.

I was beside myself with excitement when we crested a hill and came upon the mother lode of blackberries.  There must be hundreds of thousands, no, millions of them in this park.

Only a few of them are ripe though.

The row of canes was taller than a human and of undeterminable thickness. Andy is but a speck standing next to them in this picture.  He was not near the end and I was not near the beginning. And, they were loaded with fruit. The next time we visit here, we will surely come later in the year.

We met up with the path we had started on.  The small spot of red in the center of this photo is Christopher’s red pickup truck.

I had picked a paper soda cup full of blackberries to take home.

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