Northwest by North, Day 7: The Call of the Redwoods, Part 1

Jack London heard the call of the wild.  I heard the whisper of nature’s giants, the coastal redwoods, throughout the day on Wednesday.  I have been to all parts of California, and have several favourite spots in each area- San Diego, Palm Springs, South Lake Tahoe, Telegraph Hill, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz.  The Redwood Country, though, speaks to me as a unit.  For my Tuesday night sleep-under-the tree canopy and stars experience, I chose Standish-Hickey State Recreation Area.  It is quiet and perhaps one of the area’s best kept secrets, being somewhat in the shadow of Humboldt Redwoods State Park and Richardson Grove, but certainly no less lovely than its bigger siblings.

The area even has its own gathering spot, run by some rather insular, but interesting characters.  It’s the Peg House, just across the road from the park.  The family does turn out some great sandwiches, including the Breakfast Burrito, which could probably have sustained me for the next week. Coffee is great as well, and they have Yerba Mate, for those who prefer.  There is a surprisingly good collection of books, on various subjects, for sale.  There is also “the sheriff”.

Heading north, I encountered the South Fork of the Eel River.

Then, the Redwood Show was on, throughout the Richardson Grove and Humboldt Redwoods, including the Avenue of the Giants, which I followed as far as the Honeydew turn-off.  Here are four shots; with the rest being saved in my Flickr account when I get back to Prescott:

This grove is just north of the little town of Miranda, at “Auto Stop # 2”.

Next is a loner, about four miles further north.

In Humboldt Redwoods State Park, on the Gould Grove Trail, lies this reminder that redwoods have shallow roots, but are durable, even in death.

Towards the west end of Humboldt, there rises the Rockefeller Forest.

Once out of the redwoods, one enters the King Range of the Coast Mountains.  This is the area often called The Lost Coast.  Much of it is accessible only on foot.  The towns are small, and don’t seem to get many visitors.  That’s a pity; this area has great beauty all its own.

This scene is east of the village of Honeydew.

Next is Mattole Beach, the north trailhead for a Lost Coast trek, which would last 3-6 days.

I enjoyed a cheeseburger made with local grass-fed beef, at the Yellow Rose, a bit up the road from Mattole Beach, in Petrolia.  Ironically, as I was driving out of Mattole Beach, I stopped as a large shape emerged from the roadside brush.  “It’s a boar!  It’s a bear! No, it’s an Angus!”  CaliMan behind me in a pickup, pulled out from the line and drove around me, yelling at the cow as he went on his way.  The RV driver approaching us gingerly made his way past the sizable beast.  Me?  I spoke words of farewell to Elsie, and went on to lunch.

After Petrolia, there is starkly exquisite Cape Mendocino.

The black rock beach speaks of ancient volcanic activity in the region.

The road from here leads back inland a bit, to Ferndale.  It is a steep route, with sheer drop-offs in a few places- so if you go, be alert for the cows, the CaliMen (they are still in a hurry, even on the curves) and the occasional slippery stretch of gravel.  I will write part 2 of this post tonight- concerning Eureka and Redwoods National Park.

2 thoughts on “Northwest by North, Day 7: The Call of the Redwoods, Part 1

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