Walkabout California

Hiking Inn to Inn

Walkabout Mendocino Coast, August 2009

Hello fellow hikers! My wife and I just finished the Mendocino Coast Walk . It was our anniversary gift to ourselves. On our way to Albion, we stopped and tasted wines in Anderson Valley, had a picnic at Husch, and then drove on to the coast. A great start!

Checked in at Albion River Inn where staff members were not familiar with Walkabout, but they should be now. To help celebrate our anniversary, complementary wine in our room and two glasses of champagne for our dinner. We had a fabulous meal and stayed in the Ocean room. The service was incredible. The next morning we had anotherdelicious meal with a choice of breakfast dishes-- included in the price of the room. We then sorted our belongings for the next two nights, putting certain things we wanted to have waiting for us at Little River in one bag and other things we wanted for Mendocino in another. I drove them to our next two destinations, Little River Inn and The Headlands Inn. Both places were more than accommodating about keeping our luggage. Back in Albion about 10:15, I parked the car at the Inn, shouldered the backpack, and ten steps from the Inn's restaurant, we began the assent up Albion-Little River Road.

You need to know, as Tom points out, that this is a paved country road. We encountered little traffic. See Mary Lou's pictures. Reached Van Damme State Park and the Pygmy Forest in about 2 1/2 hours: Mary Lou does not appreciate road hiking, but she was great. Enjoying the boardwalk self-guided tour through the Pygmy Forest, we learned much about the surrounding terrain, then headed 2.3 miles down the Fern Canyon Trail, a lush, shaded trek through redwoods, and of course, ferns, down to and along Little River--at this time of year, a well deserved name for the stream. Interesting to learn about the Coho salmon that use the waterway to spawn. We shared lunch toward the bottom of the trail. (No wineries in the park!) Five hours from our starting point in Albion, we were chatting at the entrance of the park with the couple employed as Van Damme Campground Hosts. Little River Inn is on Highway 1, up a hill and around a bend. Our room was fine, great view of the bay. The Inn has a quality restaurant, serving dinner in the dining room or at the bar. Breakfast (not included) offered a full range of choices.

Leaving Little River Inn around 10:30 the next morning, we were told about a trail back down to the park that kept us off the highway. Coming up from the park, pick up History Trail south of the entrance ranger station. Great hike into Mendocino--especially enjoyed the segment along the Coastal Trail. Lunched on a bluff overlooking the bay and the town. We crossed the Big River bridge--the east side affords more space--then walked down to Mendocino Headlands State Beach, under the bridge, across the beach, and up a steep flight of stairs into town. The stairs end at the Presbyterian church's parking lot; the white steeple is easy to see from a distance. From the church, we crossed the street, went up half a block to Howard St, and there was our final destination-- The Headlands Inn.

Our hosts, Mitch and Denise, were fabulous. They were very interested in Walkabout. Our stay at their b&b was one of the best parts of our trip. The six-room inn has lots of history and character. A full and delicious breakfast is delivered to each room in the morning. To return to Albion for your car (and for us, Little River for our other suitcase), a bus stop is located close by on Main St. Schedules change, so ahead of time, call the number for the Mendocino Transit Authority listed by Tom in the Walkabout itinerary. Dinner at the Mendocino Cafe is recommended.

We had a wonderful trip!
Ted and Mary Lou Milkoff

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Comment by Elizabeth Boegel on October 7, 2009 at 10:33am
Ted, I enjoyed reading this account! I very much want to try the Mendocino walk. We just didn't have enough time, so we did Marin instead. Also, it looked like the budget needed to be larger for the Mendocino walk. :)
I also enjoyed your photos. Thank you for sharing all this information!

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