Let’s face it: Most of the time the manmade amenities of Del Norte County can’t come close to matching the natural ones:
• Crescent upon crescent of rocky coastline populated by a rich diversity of seabirds and marine mammals visible to all, and a rich underwater world of fish and crabs that requires boats, nets and fishing lines to access.
• Beautiful bookend rivers north and south, snaking upstream from their ocean mouths along lush banks and scenic canyons. For the past week, mother-and-calf gray whales have taken up residence in the climactic stretch of the Klamath between the highway bridge and the sea.
• A significant percentage of the finest old-growth coastal redwoods left in the world. A 10-minute drive from Crescent City can get you into the midst of the tallest trees on the planet, where you can walk for hours in silence and solitude.
Most of the time, none of the trappings of civilization could match such settings.
But this is the weekend when Del Norte plays host to as many visitors as locals — for good reason. While we enjoy world-class natural surroundings year-round, it’s the people who shine during the Fourth of July festivities.
It’s hard to imagine a better place to celebrate our nation’s independence.
Sure, the big cities may display flashier fireworks. But some people have billed our show as the best between Portland and San Francisco, and no place else will the rocket’s red glare illuminate Battery Point Lighthouse in ghostly brilliance.
And yes, some metropolises will put on bigger parades with more decked-out floats and marching bands. But there’s something about the proud — and long — procession through Crescent City that begins at 10 a.m. Monday that literally blares Americana. Don’t miss it, even if you’re still feeling the effects of the Sunday evening Deck Party.
The special sense of American pride found in small towns permeates Del Norte, and that alone would make this a great place for Independence Day. But wait, there’s more:
• It’s an American tradition to head for the coast on holidays. Welcome to the Pacific.
• Many Americans like to spend their three-day weekends camping. Welcome to a camper’s paradise.
• All Americans like to think they still live in a land of opportunity. Well, you might want to check out the cost of real estate in this particular California beach town.
Welcome to Del Norte.