The California Redwoods and the Coast

Panorama view of Agate Beach

We entered California from the Oregon border and immediately entered one of the recent fire zones.  It was sad to see the devastation and all the trees lost to the recent fire.  But after that we were fortunate to drive down the Redwood Highway through forests of shimmering light and fall colors.  At last we got to Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park.  Our camper was a bit too long to fit into the State Park campground so we had to set up camp just outside the park.

After a quick bite to eat we set out for the Stout Grove trail which was on the recommended list.  It was ethereal walking through these giant redwoods and the sunlight shimmering through the dense forest.  The vast height (300 plus feet), the width of the trunks mesmerizing and straightness of these trees is amazing.  .  It was a fantastic reminder of how insignificant we all are….we are just a speck on this earth.

After being awestruck by these trees we did the drive on Howland Hill Road which is a narrow dirt road that winds its way through the Redwood forest. 

We ended up in Crescent City which isn’t even worth mentioning except that it had a historic light house and a great jetty out into the Pacific Ocean.  We walked over to the light house which is one of the originals in California and built in 1856.  From there we walked the jetty and marveled at seeing the Ocean. Ross was pretty excited to see the Pacific Ocean and think about his connection to Australia on the other side. He looked to see his homeland but no luck! We could see a huge bank of fog rolling in which brought back memories of my childhood.

Day 2 at Jedediah State Park started off with a beautiful walk through some less traveled trails in the park.  We went there specifically because it is one of the few areas that allowed dogs.  What started off as a beautiful walk through lush forests of redwoods, ferns and moss-covered trees, turned into a nightmare for poor Buddy.  It turns out that the dried-out redwood pine needles that have dropped to the ground do not go well with Buddy’s fur (like burrs do at home).  Every time he tried to sit down to pull them out, he ended up with 10 more lodged into his fur.  Pretty soon he was distressed, and we ended up having to run back to the car, drive back to the campsite and cut them out of his coat.   A new lesson has been learned…..no more dog walks for Buddy in a Redwood Grove.  After the grooming session we decided to drive south and head to the Coastal Trail just South of Crescent City.  We were shocked when we got there because it was socked in with fog, whereas our campground was sunny and beautiful.  So we drove down the coast line and ended up doing one of the suggested scenic loop drives hoping for it to burn off.  No such luck…..we had a good laugh when we stopped at one of the view points and the sign started with: “Evidence of dramatic earth movement is visible all around you”  when we couldn’t see a thing as the picture below depicts. 

A foggy background with no view

The next stopping point was to see a World War 2 bunker that was disguised as a farm house.  I thought the “fake” houses were charming and if we could have stayed there, I would have.  

The fog never lifted so we headed back to our campground where it was still sunny and then decided to go back to the Stout Grove that we loved so much the day before.  I set up my easel and tried to capture the feel of the grove.  The trees were immense, the light filtered through the trees and the grove was amazingly quiet.  I was hoping for a bit more lighting shimmering light like the day before, but we got there later in the day and it was not as strong. 

Ethereal Trees

We packed up camp and headed South.  We needed a place to camp for one night until our next stay at Patrick’s Point State Park, so we ended up staying at a golf course in Mckinleyville, CA.  There isn’t much to report about McKinleyville.  The golf course conditions were lacking but the course was interesting and challenging.  We did stop and have a spectacular lunch on the coast. One of the many fantastic parts of traveling with your kitchen is being able to stop anywhere and have a healthy lunch with fantastic views.

The following two days we spent in and around Patrick’s Point State Park.  It is a beautiful campground on the high cliffs about the ocean.  Our first afternoon there we hiked down to Agate Beach and looked for Agates and enjoyed the waves crashing and watching Buddy run around.

The following morning was slightly foggy so we hiked the rim trail in the campground.  It was an awesome trail with several viewpoints overlooking the craggy coast.  Fortunately, the fog started to burn off. 

We then decided to hop back in the truck and do a few sites that we hadn’t done back in the redwoods.  We took one of the scenic drives through the trees and then went to the Lady Bird Johnson trail which is where she dedicated the National Park.  The mile or so walk was beautiful through both old and new redwood growth. 

My intention was to paint in the afternoon but the fog rolled in and was quite thick so there wasn’t much point to that. 

The perfect realistic looking painting of fog!

We headed over to the nearest small town Trinidad which had some charm and beaches which allowed dogs.  So we walked the beach with Buddy and then did a hike up Trinidad Head. 

It was a nice hike with views of fog 😊.  Rain is in the forecast which is great for California, so we will make it a travel day and head toward the wineries.

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