In the early 1970s, when the long summers stretched before me, I often visited the redwoods in La Honda because my good friend, John, worked at Memorial Park.
John, an expert outdoorsman, was an art student whose summer job entailed spearing ground garbage and cleaning the bathrooms in the giant-tree filled park.
When I went along, we often camped out among the silent redwoods, and when John had time off, we visited some of his friends, including famous local ranger Jan “the bee man” Snyder, (whose hobby was beekeeping)—and Dave Cline—a fellow student, who worked summers as the athletic lifeguard at the old swimming hole.
As I recall, Henry Blomquist was the head man at Memorial, and his old-fashioned name matched exactly what you might think he looked like– a character from a fairy tale who lived in a little white cottage at the top of a hill.
Memories have faded, and I’m not certain anymore if the Blomquist home actually stood at the crest of a hill but in my mind it remains the quintessential gingerbread house.
For sure everybody called him Henry, never Mr. Blomquist. He was a small but stoutly healthy fellow, who grew up on the fresh redwoods.
In the 1970s La Honda was a living fairy tale. Everyone seemed to be a good, upright character and a bit unusual–I’ll grant you that—but that was because the pressure to be exactly like everybody else hadn’t yet shoved its dark hand into the remote redwoods.
Who else, but characters from a fairy tale, would live in such a magical place, sweet scented in the still summer heat, where fern-lined trails led us to sparkling creek, the site of secret waterfalls, dreamy meadows and abandoned apple orchards on slanted hillsides—where, on Billy’s land, we pulled the fruit from the trees to eat and nobody chased us away.
One weekend John told me we would be staying (in our sleeping bags) on the Reverend Orril Fluharty’s land near tiny Loma Mar. In the distance I saw John talking with the Reverend, a tall figure to me, and at that time of day, the light was shooting a spectrum of rays behind him.
I was fortunate to be living another chapter in the unwritten fairy tale of the redwoods.
[to be continued in the next post.]