Unexpectedly Inspired on the Trinity River

“So where are we going Jane?” Tyrhone asks, his finger poised over the touchscreen of the GPS.

“Umm… well, I am not completely sure exactly where it is… near the Trinity River somewhere in a tiny town called ‘Big Flat’?”

He looks at me with the sort of expression which says that does not help me.

We have come to rely heavily on our GPS on this road trip, so much so that we have given her a name. It’s ‘Jhepess’ pronounced with a gutteral ‘Jh’ sound. It’s a Jewish name derived from the phonetics of the word ‘GPS’. Of course.

He needs an actual address in order for Jhepess (try it from the back of your throat) to direct us, and so I look up the exact location of the fully outfitted Yurt we had booked for two nights.

With the boyfriend and the GPS now satisfied with the details of our next destination, we say good bye to our Tipi and head north to Trinity County, California.

I kinda like not having much knowledge of a place before I go. A reformed travel-planning addict, I now find it quite a rush to go somewhere on a hunch without knowing much about it. That is how I wanted to travel at the beginning of this journey and it has only taken me two and a half years to get the hang of it.

That being said, things can go either way when you travel like this. You win some, you lose some, much like life in general.

To take things as they come, rather than trying to control outcomes has been the greatest lesson of this journey; one which has brought more peace, acceptance and ultimately, abundance into my life.

Fall flames

We arrive at our destination after a spectacular drive through National Forest. The bright yellow and red fall leaves burst forth from the trees like flames. Set against the backdrop of the smoky greys and greens of the raging Trinity River, it is a visual feast I happily gorge on.

Fall leaves Trinity River

The warm and welcoming owners of the small resort, Don and Julia, take us on a tour of the property, including the cafe they first built on the site. A converted straw barn, the bright yellow building leads out onto a terrace and lush grassed area overlooking the river bank.

Straw house cafeTrinity river chair

“Well this is where I will be for the next two days,” I tell Tyrhone, having no desire to go anywhere else but the blue chairs positioned by the river.

That is, until we meet ‘our yurt’. Any idea that this may be a rustic stay is thrown out as we enter the luxurious dwelling. Complete with a kitchen and dining area, fireplace, claw-footed tub, queen bed and private bathroom, it becomes clear to me that it will be difficult to leave this place.

Trinity Yurt Californiabathtub yurtCalifornia Yurt

But leave we do, as Don and Julia have invited us to dine with them in their cafe which is closed for the evening. Don whips up a delicious chicken Marsala with fresh pasta, crisp greens and roasted red peppers.

Straw house kitchenTrinity dinner

The colour bursts from the plate with such intensity I wonder if all colours are in fact brighter here in Trinity county.

The couple’s passion for everything they do here is contagious. They built everything from scratch and have worked hard – really hard – to keep this place running to high standard.

straw house dinner

From the monstrous oak table milled from a tree on the property to the organic coffee beans Don roasts himself, to the work by local artists which grace the walls, everything here is infused with attention and love for what they are creating.

I cannot help but be inspired by what they have achieved. The couple have worked tirelessly for over fifteen years and their enthusiasm is contagious.

Don has completed a twelve hour day of work (which he does seven days per week), cooked us a delicious dinner and I hear him say, “We are so blessed” more times than I can count.

Their positive energy is a joy to be around. ‘These are people who love what they do,’ I think to myself, becoming more sure than ever that doing the things that light you up from within is the only way to inspire others.

They show just as much interest in our lives as we do theirs. While the details of our respective lives couldn’t be more different, the glue which holds our conversation together is the passion and love for what we do.

Julia asks us, “How long do you think you will do this?” and we both answer, “Forever!” simultaneously.

I attempt to help Julia with the dishes, but instead, she directs me to open some artisanal chocolate, which I do not argue about.

black fig

Over our conversation in the chef’s kitchen I learn that the couple have overcome major challenges on their journey together, including family tragedy. I am humbled and touched by her honesty and inspired even further by their strength.

It is common to believe that happy people have it easy, but I am learning that this is not the case. Happy people are usually the ones who work hard for it and often they have overcome great hardship.

Truly happy people pour their love into creating goodness in the world. There is not one path to happiness, except, I think, to do the things which bring you joy which has the ripple effect of bringing joy to others.

If I hadn’t already fully understood that fact, then my time on the Trinity River, my conversations with Don and Julia and the experience of watching the full moon through a skylight of the yurt they built with care and love was all the convincing I needed.

Don and Julie Strawhouse

Don and Julia. Visit their magical yurt and cafe in Trinity County, California!

I am so grateful to Glamping Hub for connecting me with yet another inspiring experience. Our itinerary with them has included a stay in a Treehouse in Yosemite national park, a traditional Tipi in the Californian Forest and of course, this magical Yurt. I cannot speak highly enough of their efforts to connect people to unique, privately owned lodgings in beautiful natural environments. Check them out on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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Unexpectedly Inspired on the Trinity River — 24 Comments

  1. Once again you made me cry. Tears streaming down my face as I sit at Ah Cacao in the AC, so not so conspicuous as I might be. Feeling blessed to know you and Thyrone and missing your sunny smile. I love following your journey and trust our paths will cross again soon.

  2. Don & Julia sound just fantastic! Thanks for sharing their story and wow, what a gorgeous yurt! I have come to believe exactly what you wrote, truly happy people are happy not because their life is easier than anyone else’s but because they are living a passion driven life spent working hard to achieve their individual dream. You only need to look around to see how many of the rich and famous are riddled with addictions and every type of social craziness (sorry.. your Kardashians are in that group!) and yet still completely unsatisfied, and many of those we’ve met around the world who have almost nothing, are grateful and satisfied for what they do have. Lovely post! XO
    Rhonda recently posted..The Scenic Route ~ Highway 395 Southward boundMy Profile

    • Yes Rhonda, it is such a gift to meet people who are living their dreams (and I look forward to meeting you two soon!). P.S I don’t love watching the Kardashians because they have it all together ūüėČ

  3. What an inspiring story! Brings back memories of our B&B in the Ejido. Can’t wait to open our next place El Jardin and receive guests and connect with them. That’s what Honza and I love to do and what makes us happy. Maybe one day we’ll receive you and Thyrone at our new place

  4. They sound like lovely people! I am so encouraged by the phenomenon of happiness after hardship. This roadtrip just gets better and better! I’m such a photo freak… I eat them up every time u post! Stunning!
    Holly recently posted..suicide momMy Profile

    • Yes, I am always so inspired to learn what people overcome too! It’s been a great trip, full of highs and lows like every good journey. This was definitely a high xoxoxo

    • Hi Katie, I used to live in London and I always wanted to stay on one of those!!! A tree-house would be pretty cool too. We decided we could definitely live in a yurt – this one had a closed bathroom in the center then an upper deck with a second bed under the skylight. So cool for moon gazing. Thanks so much for stopping by :-)

  5. Lovely story, lovely photos and‚Ķ a lovely yurt that I think I could live in myself! I’m so glad that you’ve been able to connect with so many wonderful people and see so many beautiful things during your time in the U.S.
    Kim recently posted..The Rain Washed the Heat AwayMy Profile

    • Thank you Kim! It has been a pretty amazing trip indeed. Full of highs and lows like any good journey, but we’ve discovered that the small towns and stunning natural landscapes are where it is at for us. Such amazing diversity, it’s like traveling to ten different countries in one! xoxo

  6. Gorgeous photos, stunning table … and now I know what a ‘yurt’ is! Wow, what a great place to stay! It’s all about the people who build these places with love – that’s what makes them so alluring and charming Enjoy

    • Hi Penny! I couldn’t get the whole table in, it was so long it almost took up the length of the restaurant! You would have absolutely love it there, but I am sure you discovered some great places on your recent trip. SO looking forward to seeing you in Bali next year! xoxoxo

  7. Beautiful Sarah! And lovely photos! One of my all-time favorite backpacking trips was in the Trinity Alps wilderness, right by where you were. This rekindles my interest in heading back up there next summer, with a stop at that cafe this time! So glad you guys had an inspiring time in California!
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  8. Having just spent the past 4 years owning/operating a B&B, I can definitely understand the long days your hosts/friends put in each day.

    You’re following a path of some of the country’s most beautiful places. Doesn’t it just bring about such a feeling of calm and serenity, to sit in a comfortable chair next to a river? There’s nothing quite like it.
    Patti recently posted..Honk! Honk! Beep! Beep!My Profile

    • I bet it is nice to have a break Patti, even though I am sure you are working hard to settle in to your new life. Yes, it was absolutely beautiful with the fall colours and the flowing river – so relaxing!
      Sarahsomewhere recently posted..Evolving in RecoveryMy Profile

  9. I would have planted myself in those chairs by the river too. :) How lovely would it be to curl up there with a good book, winter or summer.

    And I’m officially jealous of you for getting to stay in a yurt at all, let alone one that beautiful and fancy! I used to know a guy (yes, another one of my stories, sorry lol) who travelled round with a yurt teaching shamanism. There was a real connection with between him, his work and the yurt because of the meaning behind erecting one of these structures (is structure even the right word? It’s not but I can’t think what is. You could say home but it’s even grander than that. It’s like yurts go beyond words).

    My friend even used to put them up in the middle of gigantic rooms during expos and would invite people inside for workshops (and it was a lot nicer to meditate in there than in the swirling vortex of chaos going on outside, let me tell you). You must have slept well. :)
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