A Travellerspoint blog

Day 199 - Redwoods, Ferndale and Agate Beach (Photo's Added)

We drove through Giant Redwoods, visited Victorian Buildings in Ferndale, bought Cheese in Lolita, and collected rocks at Agate Beach - not bad for a trip that's "winding down"?

rain 58 °F

This morning we drove the "Avenue of the Giants" through old growth Redwood Tree's in Humbolt State Park, CA. The last few miles were closed due to a washout, but we were able to drive through most of the 32 miles distance - quite spectacular.


There are several places you can pull over, the individual tree's aren't labeled at the ones I stopped at so I guess we didn't see any of the 'biggest' or 'tallest' trees, but each grove was named after somebody or other and the tree's were really big.


The redwoods form a very thick canopy, so the forest floor stays fairly dark. Mom read the park brochure while I was driving and learned that there are very few deer in the old growth forests. It's not that the deer mind the dark so much, but the plants they like to eat (grasses) don't grow very well in the dark. Here are a couple of shots looking up at the tops of the redwoods.


While grasses don't grow very well in the shade, a few other plants do. We saw a shade of Indian Paintbrush that was very unusual - more magenta (Indian Paintbrush is usually red). This sub-species is fairly common in the redwoods up here for some reason.


We also saw a fair amount of Trillium, which seems to grow well in the shade. In fact, I had to use my flash to take this - even though it was broad daylight (well, overcast broad daylight).


Some of the larger redwoods are quite old of course. At the Visitor's Center for the park headquarters, they had a cross section of a downed tree with this plaque (I figured you wouldn't really want to count the tree rings, so just took a closeup of the plaque):


Inside the visitor's center were a lot of displays and information about the history of the forest and how little of the old growth forest was left after white settlers started clearing it for wood products or land for orchards. About 1917 a man named Charles Kellogg decided to try to raise awareness of these majestic tree's and try to protect them. He was able to get a 22 foot long section from a large tree that had fallen down and carved it into a truck body by hand. He toured the country with this and was instrumental in helping get the remaining old growth forest set aside as a park. The vehicle, called the "Travel-log" is now on display in the museum.


There were very few people on "The Avenue of the Giants" today, probably due to the time of year and also the washout - maybe people had heard about it and just stayed away. But since most of the road was open, I'm glad we took the time. Of course, I probably stopped a little more than I should have, so we're not making too much progress heading north...

After we finally left the redwoods, Mom wanted to take a side trip through Ferndale. This is a small town just south of Eureka that is known for having a lot of Victorian architecture. We enjoyed being tourists and just strolling through the downtown area, it was quite nice.


And a couple of old Hotels, might be fun to stay in these some other time:


We also found some stores of interest (here is Mom at the Merchantile) and ate at a 1950's style ice cream parlor/hamburger joint.


Quite a few of the private homes are also in Victorian style and have been maintained very well (or nicely restored). The big yellow one is a Bed & Breakfast, but the rest are just nice homes.


...and one very impressive hedge (wouldn't you like to train this one? ...and I'm sorry I didn't get the light better...)


Once we finally left Ferndale, Mom also wanted to drive to Lolita where she'd heard they make really good cheese. I thought she had rocks in her head, when we got to Lolita there wasn't much of anything there. It did have a large brick food processing plant that looks like it had been closed down for decades, and when we turned up that street - lo and behold - right across the street was a small wood building for "Lolita Cheese". They had plenty of varieties and samples and we indulged (both in the samples and buying cheese).


Finally, we made it to Eureka about 4:30 PM.


Mom had picked out a State Park from the Atlas that looked like it had camping, called Fort Humbolt. It was established by the U.S. Army in 1853 to try to keep the peace between the local Native American's and white settlers. Once the Civil War broke out, the Army turned the Fort over to a volunteer CA militia - which promptly removed all the Native Americans to reservations.


She thought if we stayed there tonight, we could do some sightseeing around Eureka in the morning. However it wasn't quite in the cards as she'd hoped - there was no camping at Fort Humbolt and I was hesitant to stay in another RV park tonight. It was still early enough I thought we could make it to the next state park on the list (with camping) - which was 30 miles north of Eureka. We agreed to skip Eureka and just head to Patrick's Point.

At Patrick's Point State Park is a beach called Agate Beach where you can pick up agates (clever naming?)


We are camped here for the night nice and cozy. I made it to the beach (nasty walk & climb, bottom section washed out over the winter) with about 1 hour of daylight left. I'm not as picky as a couple of other rockhounds that were on the beach. They showed me what they were looking for and I tried to find some agates also, but I decided I wanted to pick up other rocks as well. My criteria is if I like it (or it looks pretty to me), pick it up. So I picked up a whole lot of quartz, some river rocks, and some agates. Too much fun, may try to spend a little more time out there in the morning. Don't know where we'll put the rocks, maybe on my bunk?

Surprisingly, there is a (slow) internet signal out here at the beach - which has not been the norm on the Northern CA Coast. Who knew CA had so many rural areas?


Miles Driven - 116, Cumulative - 18,751
Camped at Patriots Point State Park

Provisions Obtained - Gas $46.45 for 12.356 at 128,629

Posted by jl98584 20:39 Archived in USA Tagged family_travel

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents


Congratulations! But I still dread your arrival home--maybe you need to keep up the blog there; I'm sure you do interesting things around there, too.

by msj

This blog requires you to be a logged in member of Travellerspoint to place comments.