Published June 13th 2003.
Janette got off to a good start last week and so far things are going well: “We have done +/- 12 miles each day. I feel fit and well prepared for the journey. My tent is a fine architectural enclosure. The Coastwalkers are easy going so we are doing fine as a group.... This is a glorious journey.” Janette also mentioned that “It is going to be challenging for me to write on most of the days when we are hiking... ” since “there is little time for anything other than hike - camp - feed - clean up after ourselves.” However, she still managed to jot down some interesting observations and send them off to us. What Janette’s observations reveal is that just as in the worn out maxim “the more things change, the more they stay the same,” so it seems that the more one travels, the more one is reminded of home. After just two days of hiking she has seen resemblances to her current home in Laguna Beach and to the town from which she originally hails.
Tuesday night (6/3).
“When we drove through Crescent City (on our way to the first official camp) I saw a similarity with our town. The location of Crescent City was determined by geography - on a bay suitable for sheltering a fishing fleet. So as we drove along the main highway (parallel to the coast like Coast Highway in Laguna Beach) in the center of town is the harbor with all the fishing boots tied up alongside the highway. So just like our Main Beach Park which sets the scene for us, so the harbor does for Crescent City. Crescent City is a town of mostly single story buildings with all the industrial and supporting enterprises gathered in the central area. Just like Laguna Beach except ours are ice cream parlors, coffee shops, restaurants and other places to delight those who frequent town.”
Thursday morning (6/5).
“Yesterday we walked on top of the rocky cliffs around Point Saint George. The topography, the waves, the wild flowers, the wind and the overcast sky all reminded me of Lyme Regis, the town in Dorset, England, where I was born.
Today we will walk along the ocean edge around Crescent City and again I will be reminded of my home town, also a Fishing Village on the mouth of a river.”
In spite of the similarities between Laguna Beach and Crescent City, Janette also made some comments that highlight the differences. Where as Laguna Beach is a thriving town, Crescent City, which previously relied on fishing and logging as its main industries, has seen better days. As a possible solution to their economic situation, there are currently a number of development projects underway, driven by a tribe of local Indians who have a gaming casino there and who are, according to the Los Angeles Times, “spreading the wealth” to become “the primary force for economic development.” From the local bowling alley getting a face lift to plans for a four-story hotel and a golf course, among other things, the future is looking brighter for Crescent City, or is it? As we well know, big development projects, even if they may seem to be giving an economic boost to the area, come with their own kinds of problems and hurdles - not the least of which is local support. And, as always in small towns, people take strong positions on both sides of the fence. So it is not surprising that Janette reports, “I did inquire, but some folks turn a deaf hear to challenges they don’t embrace.” We may not have the same problems as they do, but we sure have some similar problems when it comes to solving them!
June - Sept 2003