The Emerald Triangle in Northern California is comprised of Humboldt, Mendocino and Trinity Counties. For nearly a half-century, some of the best cannabis in the country has flowed out of this region. Now, of course, every county in California is responsible for huge harvests annually. But the mystique of the Emerald Triangle lives on.
What defines the Triangle more than anything is the fact that the three counties depend upon marijuana to nourish the local economies. Vast segments of the population grow. The resulting earnings fund local governments and businesses. Without cannabis, income levels would drop precipitously.
This is rugged country with thousands of hills, many of which look as though they were architected by Dr. Seuss, peaks that seemingly go straight up and straight down. The topography isn’t designed for weekend hikers. Moreover, there are all kinds of critters in the forests that are none too friendly to nature lovers – wildcats, bears and snakes.
I’ve been lucky enough to do countless stories in the Emerald Triangle over the past 20 years. I’ve got thousands of pot shots in my archive documenting the local agriculture. Here’s a selection of some of the best ganja gardens I’ve documented.
In "The Pines" of Trinity County, this grower has covered his robust crop with plastic sheeting to shield it from the hot September sun.
Even in the dead of winter, Trinity County growers still harvest great ganja in compact greenhouses.
Sunset in Mendocino County provided this garden with late-afternoon rays.
Deep in the back-country of Humboldt, solar panels power drip-lines and the grower's home.
There's almost a military-type precision to this garden. The plants are standing in formation!
In Mendocino County, October sunshine nurtures crops to harvest.
This Trinity County garden is laid out in arcs with southern exposure.
A Mendo grower takes a sniff of Chronic.
Say good-bye to these Mendo buds. This plant was harvested right after it posed for my camera.
Just before sunset is my favorite time of day to shoot outdoor buds. Back-lighting provides exquisite silhouettes.