UPDATING: Best and Worst Smells of Humboldt

Mike Dronkers / Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013 @ 10:39 a.m. / Humboldt

What KHUM is  doing: live-cataloging Humboldt’s smells, from best to worst. 

What KHUM is looking for: Your suggestion for best/worst smells in Humboldt county. Specifically, current smells that are unique to our fair county. [I.e. Waffle cones smell great. But Arcata Scoop’s cones have a sublime palette of odoriferous emanations that only a local could discern.]

Methodology: Most of these have been crowdsourced by KHUM listeners, with spectral ranking loosely moderated by frequency of suggestion. We’ll adjust the list below periodically throughout the day.

Leave your best/worst smell in the comments. Extra credit for crisp descriptions. 

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BEST

  • First rain of the season in the redwoods (LoCO Commenter’s Choice award)
  • Old growth forest (“burnt blackberries, with a note of forest litter” - KHUM Listener ‘Macho Dan’)
  • Lost Coast cedar trees near Petrolia
  • Woodsmoke trapped under a fog layer 
  • Mad River Brewery: (“hops, barley, malt all stewing in the Blue Lake sun”)
  • Porter Street BBQ
  • Eureka Books: that rich, antiquarian musk
  • Waffle cones at Arcata Scoop (also nominated: Redwood Yogurt & Living The Dream)
  • Botchie’s Crab Stand in Field’s Landing
  • Pierson’s Garden shop at Christmas time
  • Blue Ox (“smells like the ghost of redwoods”, says Viviana)
  • Larrupin’s BBQ Brisket
  • Old Town during coffee roasting
  • Ocean

  • Freshly washed-up eel grass

  • Marijuana
  • Humboldt Bay during crab season
  • Arcata Marsh at low tide.
  • Your neighborhood grow house(s)
  • Dairy air of Ferndale
  • Samoa Drag Strip on race day
  • Oysterfest Portolet (because alcohol & oysters)
  • Reggae on the River Portolet (because heat)
  • Hammond Trail, north of Mad River footbridge, where excrement-enhanced water is sprayed o’er the pasture
  • Patchouli mixed with non-deodorized body odor smell on an HSU student
  • Fortuna’s wastewater treatment plant. (s/0 to Puff n’ Tuff)
  • Retail rabbit urine from the rabbiteer who sells rabbit-fur stuff at the Arcata Plaza Farmer’s Market
  • That fish guttery on the waterfront in Old Town (LoCO Commenter’s Choice award)
  • Solids-settling tank at Arcata Marsh on a hot day 
  • Pulp mill (extinct, honorable mention)
  • Eureka Tallow Company, once located by the mouth of the Elk River (extinct, honorable mention)

WORST

Update: WHY IS BAY MUD SO ODORIFEROUS?

Friends of the Dunes’ Suzie Fortner, mud advocate and tour guide, told KHUM exactly why. It’ll all make sense in under two minutes.  

Fortner

[Rain photo: Kym Kemp, all others courtesy Lance Drill]

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