After leaving Bandon, our next base camp was the California redwood coast near Crescent City and Redwoods National Park (which is actually a collection of California state parks that initially protected these wonderful trees). To get a sense of just how big these trees really are, I parked my Subaru next to one!
I planned my trip to occur just as the summer coastal foggy season was starting, but to also catch the last of the rhododendron blooms. I was hoping to get a shot of both together, but it was not to be. The fog rolled in briefly late one evening as I was walking Millie near the campground, but each day after that was sunny, dry and clear as a bell. Guess I should have spent this week in Oregon and the previous week in the Redwoods!
At least one benefit of the clear days were these crescent moonrise shots over the ocean south of Crescent City:
Crescent City itself isn't a particularly pretty town, but it does have this very neat lighthouse that sits on an island a few dozen feet offshore. You can walk to it at low tide, but I obviously arrived a bit too late! Since I was there during the photographically dreadful midday sun, I decided to put away my color point-and-shoot and pull out the infrared camera to make it more interesting:
Highway 191 takes you east of Crescent City on a twisty route through Jedediah Smith State Park
A very fun dirt road traverses the park called Howland Hill Road that takes you through some of the oldest redwood groves in the state (nope, trailers not allowed on this road, so the T@B had to stay home!)
As I headed back to my campsite that evening at dusk, driving along Highway 101, I saw something big and black leasurely crossing the road just in front of the car ahead of me...just a large black bear out for his evening stroll across 4 lanes of traffic! What a way to end the day!
My next California destination was Eureka, about 2 hours south of Crescent City, and getting there was most of the fun. Here was a quick stop along the scenic parkway in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park:
After getting the T@B parked at it's campsite, I headed back up to the Lady Bird Johnson Grove in Redwoods National Park. At the trailhead was a plaque and some photos of the day Richard Nixon and Lady Bird Johnson were there in 1969 when he dedicated the grove in her honor. Strange to think of walking in big-time politicians' footsteps along this trail (imagine if these grand old trees could talk!).
The most unusual redwood I saw on the trail, was this one. A huge section of the base of it's trunk had been completely burned out and hollowed...yet it continues to live on and thrive. Little wonder these trees have survived the last 1000 years. Lets hope they can survive the next 1000.
Eureka and the smaller town of Ferndale (about 10 miles south) have some remarkable examples of Victorian architecture (as well as a few nice art deco buildings as well):
After taking one last romp on the beach just north of Eureka, it was time for Millie and I to bid adieu to the Pacific and begin our journey east towards home. We drove one final, glorious scenic redwood drive along the famous "Avenue of the Giants" in the Humboldt Redwoods State Park.