North of Gold Beach, OR

We headed north to check out Cape Blanco State Park and campground thinking that we might stay there.  It was a nice campground with lots of large sites.  The size is usually our problem with staying in state parks, but this one has several sites that will accommodate us.  I hate to admit that our reason for not staying here is my addiction to TV.  Oregon’s coast has had -0- over the air tv channels!!!  We can usually make do with just a few, but -0-???  That plus the fact that it was only slightly cheaper than a commercial park about 25 miles further north and no laundry facilities we decided to go with the commercial park.

Cape Blanco is the western most point if Oregon, and is named for the white cliffs on the southern side of cape.  The distant picture is from Port Orford.

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They also have a light house opened in 1870 and although no longer in service, still has the original lens in the light.

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This is Port Orford from Cape Blanco with a view of the wide beach between and Humbug Mountain in the distance.  Notice how calm the water is compared to other pictures.  I believe I have mentioned how windy it is here.  Has been blowing at least 20 mph since we arrived in Oregon.  This beach is on the south – non windy side of the cape and would probably be pleasant to visit.

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Port Orford head has a historic lifeboat station and some nice trails to these view points.

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There is a more protected cove where they launched the lifeboats when needed.  Understand that the lifeboats were usually needed during stormy conditions so not the most pleasant boating conditions.  We had to visit the cove because it was “Nellie’s Cove”!!!  You can still see the concrete rails used in launching the lifeboats.

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Port Orford is a very small town of about 1,100 people.  Guess you need an attraction to make sure people stop on their way by, thought this was a creative method.  Heading south on Hwy 101 at a left turn you see… It worked on us, and was a nice view.

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Heading further south you pass several nice rock formations including “Sisters Rock”, and we agree SISTERS ROCK.  Yeah Brothers rock too!!!

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We also passed Humbug Mountain, the highest peak on the coast of Oregon at 1,700 ft.  It was predominant on the views for several miles.

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Peace Love and thankful for Blue Skies!!!

Samuel H Boardman State Scenic Corridor, OR

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The Oregon coast as far as we have been has been dotted with lots of small state park areas, very small communities and loads of beauty!!!!  The park areas have all been free usually with just a small parking area but several times with picnic facilities, bathrooms, boat ramps, campgrounds, attractions etc. At least that is how OR starts down south, will have to see what comes.

Between Brookings the first town on 101 as you enter Oregon, and Pistol River there is the Samuel H Boardman State Scenic Corridor.    About 15 miles of scenic pull offs, with short or long hikes depending on your ability or initiative.  You could hike the whole way via the Oregon Coastal Trail, but of course we did not!!

We visited the arch rock.

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Natural Bridge, and we say bridges because there are at least two and I think three?

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We crossed the Thomas Creek Bridge the highest bridge in Oregon and were promised a view from a parking area on either side.  Well the view was from the beach below 340 feet below and the trail had warnings about eroded trail dangerous sections ahead so we did not venture any further.  If you make the trek send us a picture.

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We stopped at Lone Ranch for our picnic and a nice walk for Nellie and us.  Nice sandy beach with very large rocks.

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On the way back north, we stopped at Myers Beach where they were having a wind surf, kite surf, etc. contest.  This is apparently a very famous beach for these activities and attract athletes from all around.  Actually, got some decent pictures of windsurfers…

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Nice day.   Peace love and justice for all!!!

 

Klamath, CA

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We have found as we move further north the coast really changes.  Although there are still rocks on the shore, there are lots of large sandy beaches.  Only problem is that in June it is a little chilly!!! Really think that is is about the same year around highs 60-70 lows 40-50, really not so bad, but would need a wet suit for sure!!!

We stayed on the Klamath River right on the route for the National Park scenic beach loop.  Little did we know it was one way and we started out our first day the wrong way so if you come take the route south to north – one way.  But we did get a nice view of the inlet from an overlook 600 ft up and north of the river.  Interesting that many bays/river outlets in this area have a large bar (sand bar) that diverts the major flow to one area.  I wonder if it is under water rainy season?

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In this picture of the same inlet/outlet looking north from the south side you can see the seals/sea lions lounging on the shore.  We have not been close enough to tell if they are seals or sea lions.

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North of Klamath is Crescent City, here you will find lots of local information and one of the visitor centers for the National Park.   Decent grocery shopping for the area.  It is really amazing how isolated this part of California is.  Beautiful temperate weather and a million miles from anywhere.  We really love it, but wonder what winter rainy season is like.  They must have a lot of land slides and roads undermined based solely on the number of lanes closed on main and back roads.

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Here is crescent city and their lovely Battery Point Lighthouse…

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Coming out of the National Park north section’s scenic drive we ran across this beautiful little river, the North Fork of the Smith River.  Wish we were able to see more, but a couple of nice shots from the road and down by the river from a National Forest access point.

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Peace Love and Understanding!!!

 

Lost Coast, CA

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There is not really a good way to see any part of the Lost Coast most is only accessible hiking for days, but there is a nice “drive around the block.”  This route is about 100 miles not including our trip north from Benbow, but if you are going to the shore in this area, (and want a loop not an out and back) this is your only choice.  What we read said allow 3-4 hours for the trip without stopping it took us closer to 7 but we love to stop and look around.  Yea Haw here we go.

The first part of the drive was thru the Rockefeller forest with beautiful redwoods and then a steep climb up the mountains similar to the trip to Shelter Cove.  We did get a nice view of the King Range towering above the cattle ranches.

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The other side of the road was scenic as well.  Lots of cattle ranches and the towns listed on the map – Honeydew, Bull Creek, Petrolia and Cape Town were little more than a crossroad on the highway.  We actually missed Cape Town, don’ think that there was even a sign??  Not at all the California I thought of…

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This road was not in very nice shape, the switch backs were daunting and the grade pretty damn steep and then add in a huge bike ride.  So, on the uphill sometimes we were limited to uphill bike speed and on the down hills they were passing us sightseers.  No offense to bikers we love many, but to have so many on such a treacherous road, I think they should have blocked the road from sightseeing traffic???  Just saying, it was just one day…

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I have to say that any biker that can ride this 100 mile tour with such steep grades both up and down –kudos you rock.

After a lovely ride along the coast with cows and purple bushes in the meadows we approached the wall.  Look at this road straight up…

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About 75 miles into their 100 mile bike ride they had to climb this wall and then continue another several miles with a grade that was hard for the car.  Wow Just Wow, Gibby, Hansford, Lydia, Bennett, etc.  let me know how it went???

This is the view as it continues to rise, we estimate via cell phone data that we rose over 1,600 feet in less than 3 miles. OMG!!  As I said it was hard to drive.

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Pictures of the lost coast of CA so remote and so beautiful!!!

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Peace Love and Understanding!!!

Redwood Trees

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Sempervirens – the scientific species name for coastal redwoods means everlasting.   There is fossil evidence that redwoods were once found almost world wide, but currently they are only found on the California coast from the southwestern corner of Oregon to about Big Sur and only about 50 miles inland.  These are some of the oldest trees in the world with a life span up to 2,000 years and are the tallest “known” trees on earth.

Most of the trees you see now are between 500 and 1,000 years old on average.  And they easily reach over 300 ft tall with the tallest about 380 ft.  They are fast growing trees and may reach great heights in the first 50 years of growing.  After this their energy is spend adding girth so the height does not really speak to the trees age its circumference does.  Kind of hard to picture the height but these may give you an idea.

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In this picture (believe it or not) shows normal sized trees with the redwoods towering above.  Yes what looks like bushes along the river are normal full sized trees!!!

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The girth is easy to photograph, but with nothing to compare them to it is difficult to see exactly how big they are.

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But their canopy is the first thing you notice when you drive or walk into a grove.  Although their limbs don’t start until over 100 ft up, the canopy is very thick.  Almost like twilight under there where little sunlight comes thru.  There are large openings in the canopy created when a tree is lost, but these close up in just a few years.

These are very resilient trees, and they have to be here.  Although they produce thousands of cones which produce up to 200 seeds per cone – possibly 200,000 seeds per tree – seeds rarely produce another tree.  Most are reproduced directly from an existing tree.  Many of these trees have burls – massive clusters of bud material that grow into swollen bumpy knobs.

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These burls remain inactive until the tree is stressed either by low rainfall, fire or when the tree is toppled after this stress the burls sprout and grow new trees.  Many grow right out of the old stump or on the side of an existing tree.

Some redwoods also grow saplings around their base.  As the saplings grow only the hardy survive and eventually combine with the mother tree.  So many are two or more trucks with a single combined base.  When the oldest tree falls or dies, a ring of other maturing trees remains.  This one has a hollow and a smaller tree adjoining it notice the smaller trunk on the right.

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Winter rains can saturate the earth and the winds in turn may cause these trees and others to fall.  They have shallow roots that intertwine with their neighbors, this helps to stabilize the trees.  But when one breaks free it will usually lean on to others nearby.  The forests are dense and the extreme height does not let them fall freely.  In 1964 they had an extremely wet winter and several of the ancient trees in Humboldt Redwood State Park fell.  They say that one in particular created a seismic event detectable miles away.  Here are some of the root bases of these trees, the size is mind boggling.

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You don’t really see many of these root bases, but you do see a lot of trees that have been topped by the wind or burnt in a forest fire.  Amazingly most survive the fires.  The literature we read said that their protective bark can be as much as a foot thick, but we saw no evidence of that.  The many cross sections we saw the bark was more like 4-5 inches thick??  Either way, the bark helps protect them from insects and fires.  When one or many different fires over the years burns thru the bark it begins to burn the inner softer heart wood and creates a hollow.  These hollows can be small enough to shelter a small animal or large enough for several men to occupy.  Some are so burned that it amazed us that the tree was still growing.

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Many of the tops of the redwoods appear dead while the rest of the tree is thriving.  This can occur when there are multiple years of drought.  It is hard enough for the tree to get water up over 300 feet, but with a reduced supply it is even harder.  There are other factors also.

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This tree fell and landed across another trunk, amazing how it splintered.  Looks like part of a lumber yard.

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These are some amazing trees and are protected in various state and national parks.  Our first visit to the trees was in Humboldt Redwood State Park and the Avenue of the Giants.  This is a very impressive state park with no fee that protects around 50,000 acres.  The 31-mile scenic drive parallels Hwy 101 and is well worth the diversion.  There were also several short (or long your choice) hikes with informative signs and brochures.  Further north is the National and State Redwood Park several state parks were created in the 1920s and in 1968 the National park was dedicated by Lady Bird Johnson.  Currently the National and State park work in conjunction with each other providing protection for almost 40,000 acres.  We enjoyed both, but thought that Humboldt was our favorite possibly because it was our first??

One of the best things about the National Park was the abundance of rhododendron and they were in full bloom.  Just beautiful.

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Peace Love and Save the Trees!!!

 

Shelter Cove, CA

I mentioned that CA1 moved inland and joined 101 so there is not as much easy access to the coast.  It is called the Lost Coast because of the inaccessibility and lack of population.  The drive across from Benbow to Shelter Cove was less than 30 miles but took almost an hour to cross the mountain range.

The King Range (mountain range) skirts the coast here with 4,000-foot peaks less than three miles from the shore.   So, there is a large section of shore approximately 40 miles with little to no access except by foot and at hightide there are parts you can’t walk.  Some hardy souls hike the shore trail for fun, but you have to backpack it and allow at least 3-4 days.  Here is a picture of the ocean as we started our decent to shelter cove one of the only developed areas on the lost coast population ~700.

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The lighthouse in Shelter Cove was originally on Cape Mendocino, and I originally thought that they only relocated to top section.  Haha

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But no this is the entire lighthouse.  Being from the east coast (southern east coast, we did see the new England lighthouses) we thought this was quite small.  But one of the signs explained that this was perched atop a 400-foot cliff, making it actually much taller than the lights we are used to, who knew.

The best thing about Shelter Cove were the seals or sealions, not sure which.  From the lighthouse we could hear the honking/barking and were not sure what it was.  I thought seals, Randy thought Canadian Geese – of course I was right.  We watched several dozen seals play on the rocks for over an hour.  We have only seen seals that were laying on the beach looking like they were dead, but these guys were off and, on the rocks, playing in the water and even body surfing the waves.  So, wish I had gotten a picture of the one riding a wave, kind of looked like Mom…   Not easy to photograph because they were a little off shore and blend in well with the rocks, but we had a wonderful time and they seemed to as well.

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Peace Love and Justice for all.

Benbow, CA

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Benbow is a very small town in northern California past the end of CA1 where it has combined with 101.  Coastal Highway 1 runs about 650 miles of the beautiful California Coast and turns east in Rockport where it merges with 101.  The coast from here to Ferndale does not have a “coastal highway,” and 101 has turned into the “redwood highway.”

We have traveled a good portion of CA1 since we hit the coast in Ventura, but missed a lot too.  Wanting to continue the adventure we drove south on 101 and joined 1 in Fort Bragg (California not NC).  From there we went a little further south to Mendocino and had a nice walk with wildflowers and stunning but relatively short cliffs.  Notice the jackets, must have been in 50 in June!!!  Little chilly??

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Loved the look vibe and walking trails on the point of Mendocino and the old windmills that have been reinvented into living-working-playing spaces.  Pretty nice and seems to be great weather year around except the rainy season and fire season earthquakes and land slides, maybe shouldn’t be so far from everything??? But really pretty…

We really liked this one rock “island.”  The pool I guess fills up from the waves and created its own waterfall.  You know how we love waterfalls.

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Most of the California coast so far has been rocky with either really tall or not so tall cliffs and some small sandy beaches scattered around.  Just north of Fort Bragg is MacKerricher State Park (a fee zone so we did not enter).  From the highway you could see big tall sand dunes.  Looked a lot like jockey’s ridge in NC.  As I said we did not go in, but saw dunes for several miles.  Found a beach just north of the Ten Mile river and got a view of the dunes across the river looking south.

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Interesting that just crossing this river the cliffs and rocks started again.  The way land changes is baffling, wish I had taken more geology!!!   Nellie enjoyed the sandy beach and we enjoyed the walk.  Another feature of the beaches here is driftwood, and I don’t mean a little bit of driftwood, I mean what looks like full trees.  Check out the beach.

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And one of my to date favorite cottages!!

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Peace Love and thank you for the beautiful blue skies!!!

 

Golden Gate Bridge

As much as we try to avoid big cities, we could not resist the opportunity to walk the Golden Gate Bridge.  We didn’t have to go into the city proper, just cross the bridge going south and park.  The only fee was the toll to cross the bridge (only charged one way going south).

As we left Santa Rosa, it was a beautiful clear day with stellar blue skies.  But as we all know it can get pretty foggy around the cold pacific waters.  Check out the fog banks rolling over the hills as we neared the bridge.

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The fog is interesting as it moves around.  Sometimes you could not see the city at all, and I don’t think that we ever got a look at the north tower.  The south tower was in and out of the fog during our visit.  I have to confess that we did not walk all the way across the bridge, we walked to the midway point and turned back.  You can walk the entire length and catch a bus back or walk back if you want.  IT was pretty crowded with bicycles and pedestrians.  Typically the western lane is for bicycles and the eastern is for pedestrains, but the west lane was closed so we all had to share!!!  The traffic also made it pretty noisy!!!

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When the bridge was built it was the longest suspension bridge in the world.  And although it is known as the Golden Gate, it is actually painted international orange, looks kind of red upclose.  From the bridge you get a very nice view of downtown and Alcatraz.  Not to mention the numerous water crafts from Coast Guard vessels, to large tankers, sightseeing tour boats and lots of private pleasure sailing and power boats.  Check out the tanker below the bridge for a perspective in size.

 

Also kinda nice to know you can’t throw a missile off the bridge just if-ing you were wondering.

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We drove the scenic route CA1 back up the coast to Point Reyes before heading back inland to home.  All in all a really nice day.  Peace Love and justice for all.

 

Bodega Bay, CA

Bodega Bay is best known as the place Alfred Hitchcock filmed “The Birds” back in 1962.  It is a quaint little town, that appears to be mostly vacation homes and state park camping.  The bay is bordered on the south side by a sandy peninsula which is Doran state park and campground.  We did not enter due to the fee, still trying to limit our entertainment budget.  There is so much to do and see for free!!!

Our main goal for the day was getting Nellie out for a run on the beach.  First, we had to find a public beach and then one that was dog friendly.  The route north on CA1 had several public beaches and parking areas to take in the views.  School House Beach was the dog friendly one – we mistakenly thought it might be near the school house used in the Hitchcock movie.  Nellie had a blast running.

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The beach was small rocks not sand and was difficult to walk in, but it did not hinder Nellie.   There was a cute little waterfall (may have been from a storm drain) that just seeped into the ground.  And check out the colors on the cliffs, sooo beautiful.

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Here are some of the other views from this area.

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And Goat Rock where we had our picnic for the day with a view of the natural bridge.  Kinda looks like Morro rock with the top taken off…

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The highlight of the day was Bodega Point on the western side of the bay where we enjoyed a nice view and saw our first whale!!!  Sorry no pictures of the whale, we only saw it breach twice and both were just a blow and glimpse of its back as it rolled back under.  Heard one person talking about seeing about 20 here at one time, that would have been quite a sight, maybe somewhere else along the road!!!  This is the bay.

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Last but not least we drove by the school house used in the movie “The Birds.”  None of the other buildings remain and this one is a private residence so all we could do was a drive by.  The building Potters School was established in 1872 and housed a school on the first floor and a community center upstairs.  Not sure when the school was moved, but the condemned building was auctioned in 1961 to the highest bidder, was used in the movie in 1962 and the current owners purchased in 1966.  The property was restored and the 6,000 sq ft structure has been used as a private residence by the Taylors for three generations now.

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Peace love and Justice for all.

Point Reyes National Seashore, CA

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Point Reyes is geographically separated from the rest of Marin County by Tomales Bay creating a large peninsula in the northern portion of the park.  Pt Reyes is also separated from mainland Marin County by the San Andreas Fault which lies beneath Tomales Bay and puts the park on a different tectonic plate from the mainland.  Tectonic plates move in different directions and rub against each other as they move.  This movement and where they touch each other create fault lines like the San Andreas where volcanoes and earthquakes often occur.

The lighthouse at Pt. Reyes and the scenic drive and panoramic view from Mt. Vision were both closed for repairs during our visit.  There was also a lot of marine effect fog in the area so some of the views were not as spectacular as they could have been, but the wildflowers were so impressive that the other points of interest were not missed.

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Much of the park is commercially ranched with dairy cows.  Some of the ranches date back to the mid-1800s.  Also, the northern point of the peninsula is a preserve for tule elk.  All of the elk we saw were at a pretty good distance, but not the cows.

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The headlands where the lighthouse is and its fishhook of land creates Drakes Bay.  The afternoon was very windy, but on the bay the cliffs blocked much of the wind and we were able to take a very nice and enlightening walk.   You see warnings about not walking near the edge of cliffs since many are unstable and could give way at any time and about not walking below the cliffs for the same reason, but it became real on this walk.  Near the cliffs I heard a noise like it was raining almost, and after a closer look it became apparent that small rocks were constantly falling from the cliffs making the rain like noise.  You can see how they collect at the base between tides.

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We did not see any large rocks fall, but one about the size of a softball fell and the resulting slide of sand and smaller rocks lasted at least a minute or more.  Needless to say we walked closer to the water not up against the cliffs.

We have all heard of the plastic pollution in our waters and seen pictures on the news, but this was the first time we had witnessed first hand this large amount of small plastic pieces along the high-tide line.  Very sad and startling indeed!!  Protect our ocean and fish, not the plastic kind.

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Another sight that startled me was what I thought was a dead animal washed up on the beach.  But with a closer look, I realized that it was a seal, and not just one but a bunch of seals right there in front of us.  Nellie was not with us since many national park areas do not allow dogs, and I am glad, not sure how she would have reacted to the seals or them to her!!!  We turned back at this point not wanting to disturb the seals.

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I mentioned the wind that day and we were not the only ones using Drake Bay as a shelter, looking back from Chimney Rock to where we had been walking, we noticed several shrimp boats taking refuge in the bay.

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Our last stop in the park was at the tunnel of cypress trees.  Beautiful site and some very large cypresses!!

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Oh, and if you follow us you may remember the purple/blue cone shaped wildflowers from Morro Bay, well they have really grown.  Check these out…

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Peace and Love!!!