Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Trip to the Coast, Part 1

We got back yesterday from our week on the northern California and southern Oregon coast. We had a general idea of places we wanted to go, but aside from that we just made our decisions each day and let things happen.

After an overnight visit with hubby's father in Yreka, CA, we went to the Jedidiah Smith Redwoods. We camped that night in the redwoods, which is not something you can do at many redwood groves further south. Most of them are so small that space for campsites can't be spared, and so much foot traffic compacts the ground around the trees. Not good for the trees, and it kills off the undergrowth as well.

So it was a rare treat to actually camp in a redwood grove. I wish now that we'd stayed a second night. The Jedidiah Smith Redwoods Park is big, and there are lots of older trees. You can hike or drive for miles gasping at one huge tree after another, marching off into the distance.

The next day we moved on to Gold Bluffs Beach, a beach campground in the Prairie Creek redwoods park. It's a bit of a drive on a dirt road to get there, but worth it. We found a decent site behind the dunes. It was very windy. We had to weigh down the tarp under the tent with stones and make sure the tent was well-staked. The beach is amazing, it seemed to stretch on forever. The waves are huge there - nothing to slow them down between Hawaii and the coast. Landward is a prehistoric jungle of redwood forest. Isolated and wild. It was cold with the constant wind, so we didn't swim, but we did walk for a long ways up and down the beach. It was a cold night for me, in spite of a blanket over our sleeping bags. But it was great to hear the waves in the near distance whenever I woke up.

Fog rolled in that night, which got everything surprisingly wet. We packed up and drove two miles up the coast to Fern Canyon. It's a beautiful deep ravine in the redwoods, worn 30-40 feet deep by water action. Now there's just a little stream, so you can walk up three or four miles into the ravine. The walls are covered with five different kinds of fern and other plants. Very picturesque.

After our hike, we drove to Eureka. We spent the afternoon walking around the old town and the marina, and had dinner at Lost Coast Brew Pub. Hubby had a great dinner of sauteed oysters. I had a gorgonzola linguine. It was very nice, but I might have enjoyed the oysters more. On the other hand, the Lost Coast Apricot Hefeweise was amazing! Wonderful apricot aroma, but not sweet.

The next morning we drove up to Arcata to see Humboldt State University. Hubby's daughter is thinking about going there. So we picked up some info for her. Saw an Obama campaign office in town, which isn't too surprizing, considering. Then on to Trinidad, where we walked up the Trinidad rock for some great views up and down the coast. Trinidad is a very pretty little community on a small south-facing cove. Somewhere nice to retire to, it looks like.

On to Port Orford, OR, that day. We were lucky enough to get the last room at the Seacrest Motel, just south of town, overlooking the harbor and beach. Port Orford is pretty small town to live in, far away from everything, but a great place to visit. Amazingly, I saw an Obama campaign office there too! We remembered eating at the Port & Starboard restaurant last time, so we went there again. Hubby had another great oyster dinner with sauteed veggies and garlic mashed potatoes. I ordered a pesto-cream linguine with scallops. Sounded good on the menu, but when it arrived it was a huge pile of mint-green sauce and noodles, with six oysters buried in it. Tasted ok but the color was not attractive, and it had waaaay too much sauce. Way.

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