I lived in Northern California from Sept. 1988 to June 1992. I ended up living in this magical neighborhood. Across the street was a row of houses, beyond that a bluff, beyond that the Mad River, beyond that sand dunes and beyond that…an ocean. At the end of my block was a forest. I could take one path and it led down to the river. I could take another path and it would lead through a meadow and out to an overlook of the ocean. I used to purposely get lost, exploring various paths and then finding my way back. One time I attempted to walk next to the river, running out of a path, climbing in and out of the branches of trees, attempting to avoid huge banana slugs and finally having to scramble up trees to a yard on the bluff, walking out with debris trailed throughout my long hair. I dared myself to learn to walk the forest path at night, feeling the path underneath my feet, no light, finding my way across the meadow and knowing when to stop at the ocean over-look to avoid going off the edge. I returned in Nov. 2012. The little forest is now more tamed, some paths the same, some re-directed and built up.
Another place I loved to walk was along clam beach. You can camp there, and walk for miles. I used to go out at night and walk for quite awhile and somehow, know where to cut in through the dunes to find my car once again. I found fossils in some of the rocks there. Clam Beach is just north of Mckinleyville. The area is very beautiful with redwood trees, ocean, moose and deer.