Day 62 (September 30)
Walking the Headlands
At the first public lot we reach (south of town along Highway 1), we park the car and walk the headlands’ paths through golden grasses and spent wildflowers to reach the sea. The rocky cliffs drop steeply to the water’s edge. The surf is violent and crashing. Sea stacks dot the bluer than blue Pacific coastline.
Village of Mendocino
Part of what makes the town of Mendocino so special is its promontory location, and that all of the coastline to the north, west, and south of the town were protected from development.
When walking through downtown Mendocino, it is easy to forget that one is in California because of the the town’s resemblance to a New-England village. Charming pocket gardens are abundant. Towers are a repeated architectural theme, although each tower is different in style and the function of some of them (or the reason for their existence) is a bit of a mystery to me.
Mendocino Headlands State Park
As skies return to gray, we leave the sweet little village but venture only a few blocks northwest to reach Mendocino Headlands State Park. We eat a picnic lunch out of the cooler and do a bit more wandering along the shoreline. Unlike other state parks along this stretch of coast, there is no day use fee to visit Mendocino Headlands State Park or the headland paths we hiked earlier south of town.
Daylight is fading and the rain returns, so we head back to Hendy Woods State Park, once again enjoying the idyllic scenery along Highway 1.
Despite the short amount of time that we spent in Mendocino, when I look back on last year’s 18,000 mile western road trip, Mendocino stands out as one of my favorite spots. Although Mendocino County is over 2,500 miles from my current home in Tennessee, I anticipate we will find a way to visit again. And again. And hopefully again.
Read about our other Mendocino County wandering here: