Well blow me down

The weather forecast carried a warning for two days: large waves from a distant storm would begin to pound the shoreline in the early morning hours, and the highest…20 to 24 feet!…would coincide with high tide!

This we had to see!

Of course, at first light the area was buried in fog, as we’ve already showed you….

The waves, Doug, show us the waves…

Oh yeah, sorry.
DSC_1541_aThe waves were larger than usual, and the tide came up higher than anyone had seen in months, but there were no waves approaching 20-24 feet! Frankly, it was kind of a bust.
DSC_1291_aStill, the noise of those waves made it nearly impossible to talk on the beach. Robyn’s father lives about a mile and a half directly back from the shore, and we could hear their rumble from his porch!

The fog really interfered with photos, and yet in some areas it was dense from shore to sea but thin from earth to sky, so we could see blue sky above but barely see the waves and rocks offshore!
DSC_1643_aDSC_2201_aDSC_1820_aOf course, Robyn rose above it all…
DSC_2280_aAll in all, it was a great adventure. Even the sundown gave a wink through the remaining low-lying mist.

One foggy morning

About 10 miles north of where we’re parked in Arcata is a town called Trinidad.

I’ve read the description of its early settlement, but still can’t fathom the origin of the name.

Whatever, it’s an interesting little place. Several artsy shops immediately off Hwy 101, including a restaurant that serves mashed potato cones. They’re waffle cones made on a griddle up front by the cash register from a corn meal based batter, then stuffed with freshly mashed potatoes and cheese, mushrooms, onions, and bacon bits.

Novel and gooood!

The town sits on a hill overlooking two very large outcroppings that look like islands close to shore, but they have narrow connections to the land. There is a lovely, sturdy, shiny, and new aluminum pier that is owned by the local Indian tribe and used by the commercial crabbers (you can just barely see it in the second picture below). The crabbers pay a share of every load to the Indians for use of the dock.

Many of you have seen Robyn’s photos on Facebook from her morning forays to the town and its outcroppings.

One recent morning was scheduled for some fabulous waves due to a distant storm out in the Pacific, so we all got motivated before sunup to get going and see…

The waves were interesting, but will be the subject of another post.

I wanted to show you what we encountered before even reaching the shoreline and its waves. FOG. It really wasn’t too surprising. This area usually gets fog at some point every day. We might wake up to clear skies and sunshine, but move 2 miles up the coast and be met by a wall of fog coming in off the ocean.
DSC_1244_aThis lighthouse is merely the decorative top of an old lighthouse that has been moved to a scenic spot on the hillside. Turn to the right and this was the scene.
DSC_0861_aThe town has quite a fleet of active commercial crabbers. Because of the threatened waves, the crab boats stayed moored in their sheltered cove.
DSC_1495_aOur final picture for this post shows the remains of the track that the crabbers used before the fancy pier. It ran down into the water, and could both launch and recover boats. Now, the sea gulls rest on its tracks.

Just standin around

There’s something odd about this part of the country.

All makes, models, types, and species seem to want to be outside….just outside, not necessarily doing anything, just outside.

Just standin around.
DSC_1511_aOthers…well…see for yourself.
DSC_2283_aOkay, I suppose they’re not all just standing around.
DSC_0536_aSome seem uncertain…almost confused.
DSC_9354_aBut it’s the youth who seem to have their attention most clearly fixed on a distant goal…

Shore birds

We’re parked about 3 miles from the ocean, and 4 miles from Arcata Marsh & Wildlife Sanctuary…which is right next to the ocean.

The marsh is primarily salt water, and when the tide is out twice a day, the marsh is a large mudflat. However, there also are a number of fresh water lagoons…whose levels are constant and very near the height of the road & parking lots!

Our visit near low tide found a dearth of birds, but several of those present were foreign to our experience.
DSC_9980_aDSC_9958_aDSC_9985_aWe must return soon…at high tide!

As we traveled to the beach, we ran across this pair enjoying about a 7 mile stretch along the shore…we only paced them for about a mile.
DSC_0039_aTides are a novelty to me, having spent most of my time around inland lakes, and the nearby beaches surprise me with the distance the water moves up the sand from low tide to high tide. In the picture below, I hope you can see the damp sand half way to the camera from the waves. That was the high water mark. Then look how far out the waves are breaking. The gradual slope of the beach makes for a long sweep of those waves.

Oh, imagine my surprise to find a Robyn on the beach in California!

Walking among giants

Driving, really.

We decided to get an overview of Redwood National Park, a large park just north of our campground, by just a brief driving tour through part of it.

A scenic drive cuts through the upper half, so we had about 20 miles of redwood scenery.

We kept stopping to marvel at the trees….it’s just not possible to get used to the size of these trees!
DSC_0694_aThey are the tallest trees on earth, and their evergreen foliage is lush. They respond well to a particular environment, which seems to be found primarily in a long narrow swath a few miles inland from the Pacific Ocean running approximately 450 miles north to south.

In this environment, the trees are constantly swept by fog and low-hanging clouds, and so they grow and grow. They proliferate like weeds!

And they create a density that is almost impossible to photograph.
DSC_0693_aWell, I can photograph almost anything…you just might not be able to see the forest for the trees.


In the photo above, the mound of ferns in the foreground of the left third is actually a very large log of redwood with its end toward the camera. Beyond it in the background is a large, ragged stump from which it probably fell. It’s remarkable how much the trees help promote growth of so much greenery…while alive and after death. The darkness of the redwood forest, and the near-inability of wind to blow through it, creates such a moist environment: look at the carpet of ferns!

The redwood bark is nearly a separate living organism from the tree. Its surface is so heavily convoluted that it provides a haven for growth of many things….
DSC_0708_aAs we exited the park at its northern end, we found ourselves near the point where the Klamath River enters the ocean. With little time before dark, we really rushed the tour!

Look what we ran across: several structures in a traditional Yurok Indian ceremonial village!
DSC_0754_aThere was no parking close to the ocean shore, and the delta created by the river kept the road way back from the mouth of the river. We chose a walking path that turned out not to take us to the river’s mouth….

No pictures of that confluence….

As we headed back home, the setting sun provided the day’s final photographic distraction.

Uh oh, Petoskey, you have competition

We rolled out of Napa, headed to the coast, and turned north.
DSC_8948_aYep, Avenue of the Giants.

We were headed to see Robyn’s dad, but drove through this little stand of trees…okay, this incredible grove of towering timber…and were so taken by the beauty that we decided to stop for the night in a campground right in the midst! Dad had to wait another day….

The coastline and the topography near the shore has not changed much…other than the redwoods. Robyn’s dad lives a little north of Eureka, CA, in McKinleyville. His house is less than 3 miles from the ocean, 50 miles north of Avenue of the Giants and 30 miles south of Redwood National Park.
DSC_9007_aDSC_9086_aThese two photos were taken within a quarter mile of each other…the rocky shore will go around a corner and turn into a lovely sandy beach! On the day the boys were walking on the sand, the cool, damp wind was a remarkable force…

We’ve noticed the redwood forests seem to be more quiet than others, but our experience at a picnic lunch showed otherwise. Each of these birds repeatedly visited our table and nearby ground to scavenge our scraps…ooops, dropped another cracker…and brought numerous family members!
DSC_0321_aDSC_0344_aDSC_0464_aNot every hillside is covered with redwoods, and not every shoreline is saltwater, but the beauty around here just goes on and on and on.

We’re inclined to stay for awhile….