Sheltered seals

We’d read a little about a small town on the coast south of us, and thought we’d check it out in person.

Shelter Cove. Interesting name.

Tough to get there….high drama narrow road that snakes through some redwoods, then up one side of a small range of mountains, and then plunges down the other side…dumping you into town in the foothills. Stay on the brakes…that’s the ocean directly in front.

Off-season, so the place was nearly empty. High cliffs at the shore nearly everywhere, just a single black sand beach off to the side.

Most interesting to us were the two colonies of seals parked just off-shore. We could clamber down and across rocks to get near one.

DSC_0676_aDSC_0723_aThose faces!
DSC_0559_aDSC_0662_a

It seemed like this bunch were teenagers of varying age…who just couldn’t quite settle down!

DSC_0649_a

Sharing one area were a number of sea birds.

DSC_0625_aWe wondered if this was a good vantage point for whale watching….wonder no more!

DSC_0680_a

Rain forest

Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park…obviously home to many of the Tall Trees.

What is less obvious is the climate needed to support these monsters.

I’ve never been to a tropical rain forest, but this one has to come close to that level of humidity. No rain here for at least a week, but the ferns are dripping wet. The advantage here over a tropical rain forest is the temperature…mid 50s in the middle of the day.

The moisture comes from heavy fog virtually every night that lingers long into daylight. The trees create such shade from their high, dense canopy that the forest floor almost never sees sunlight. The dense growth also nearly eliminates any breeze that could evaporate moisture.

The trail we walked this day wandered through the forest beside Prairie Creek. We could hear the creek, and crossed it several times on foot bridges, but rarely could see it because of the dense undergrowth.

DSC_1455_a