The Summer of Love, in the ’67, was the beginning of the end for hippies in San Francisco. By 1970 all the major heads (including the Grateful Dead) had left or moved across the Golden Gate into Marin County.
The Back to the Land movement was in full swing by 1971-ish and people were leaving the fast-moving vibes and pumping pop scene of “San Fran” (never call it that of you are from there) for the quiescent and idyllic hillside (and seaside) towns in NorCal and southern Oregon. (They were buying defunct timberland after clear cuts, mostly left by the 1950s Timber industry boom).
Before the early 70s, hippies were an almost uniquely urban phenomena. This is where the modern, outdoorsy, dirt-worshiping hippies we know and love today proliferated (winks a brown eye at Rainbow Family). In their current incarnation, The Back to the Landers, the hippies had come full circle and finally resembled the “Proto hippies” from the southern California desert in the 1930s (more on the Life Reform Movement another time…).
The hippies weren’t alone; the revolutionaries and anarchists came with them. Humboldt County didn’t know what to make of it. The community members that remember it still are in shock to this day, as are still many of the members of various rural communities the hippies migrated to across the United States, from West Virginia to Oregon. Many of these communes have since faded into obscurity, but some remain, like Black Bear Ranch near Forks of Salmon, deep in the marble mountains of Northern California.
In the intervening years the civil unrest that birthed the counterculture morphed into the decadence of the mid-to-late 70s and 80s (which then launched the nihilistic age we mire in to this day). It is now, as Nixon called it, “a kinder, gentler nation” (sic). We have since learned from visionaries like MLK that nonviolent resistance is the way to promote social progress. Marin has since become some of the most peaceful, diverse, and valuable tracts of land in the world.
This is also how the hippies made in to Humboldt. It was a mass migration to get back to the land and escape the ills of society before the atomic horrors of the day destroyed it. But, shit, they still needed to make a living…
The rest, as they say, is history.