Write a piece about a typically “local” experience from where you come from as though it’s an entry in a travel guide.
Hold onto your maps and hats, folks, and make sure that you are indeed in the middle of nowhere. If you’re driving and have passed the Callahan area on N. Highway 3 Road and slow down and see an “Etna city limit population 759” (or, if you drive past Yreka, to Fort Jones and continue on 6 miles), you’ve made it. If you continue a short distance down N. Highway 3, make a right and pass Dotty’s Korner Kitchen, you’ve gone too far.
Welcome to the small and beautiful town of Etna, CA. For our purposes, let’s say that it’s in “extreme Southern Oregon,” or just 90 miles south of the border and in the true, splendid wilderness area in Northern California. From any direction on the outskirts of town you will see fields, ranches and farming animals, hills, trees and absolutely no malls. This landscape makes up the gentle Scott Valley that its citizens call home.
What will you spend the day doing here? Well, first of all, take the time to breath in a little fresh air. Get out of your car and go for a walk around town. It’s hot and fairly sunny with a slight hint of wind at your back, which is the ideal walking temperature. Go up the main drag and wave to everyone you meet. (They’ll wave back, we promise). As you continue up Main St., stop by the fruit and vegetable stand and then cross the street and stop at the Scott Valley Drug & Soda Fountain, where you’ll be treated to the very best Dreyer’s hand-scooped ice cream.
From there, take a right down Diggles Street past the post office and the health clinic and continue until you are intersecting Howell Ave. Etna High School will be to your right, but your destination is to the left, at the Etna City Park. Work your way over to the entrance. Wow, what a crowd! There certainly are a lot of cars and people out today. You know, because today is the start of the Scott Valley Bluegrass Festival. The annual event is quite popular and that’s the main attraction for you today–you heard about it from a friend of a friend, and realize you want to be here to see it all for yourself. In fact, this cultural identity is oftentimes a draw for out-of-townees.
Sure enough, the banjos and harmonicas are working up a frenzy and there you are standing in the midst of a huge crowd that cannot get enough of the band on the stage. Take a front row seat, and then later get up and dance to the music. When it starts to hit late afternoon-early evening, ditch the party a little early and do some scenic driving up to Etna Summit. There are at least six lakes past the summit, and you decide to go to Taylor Lake, the spot a dancer with a tambourine told you about at the bluegrass festival. Look out at the lake and watch the sunset. No cars, no hum of the city life…it’s just you and nature now.
Come back down off the mountain when you’ve seen enough. Drive back into town and go to the Etna Brewing Company to finish up the night. Do enjoy a bowl of robust Porter chili (it’s the best) and wash it down with a recommended specialty beer. Take the locals up on the offer to buy their company T-shirt.
This is the real Etna. Thanks for visiting, hope you come again soon!