California

The World’s Tallest Trees


No trip to northern California would be complete without a chance to stand beneath the world’s tallest trees.  Our first stop was the Lady Bird Johnson Grove where we walked one of the most popular trails in Redwood National Park.  We arrived early, just as the fog was lifting…and parking was still available.

Coast Redwoods can live more than 2,000 years and reach 360 feet in height.

Our next stop was just up the road to Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park.  In addition to numerous hiking trails, herds of elk are a popular attraction and are often be seen grazing throughout the large meadows alongside the roadway.
We were not so lucky with the elk, but we saw plenty more majestic redwoods as we hiked through the forest.

Categories: California, U.S. National Parks | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Our Lost Coast Adventure

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Not knowing exactly what to expect, and having heard so much about it, we decided to check out the drive along the northern section of California’s Lost Coast in Humboldt County.
We moved to Humboldt County in 1986, and lived there for 4 years, so we were aware of how remote some areas can be.  We’ve always been just a bit intimidated to head into the unknown, especially in the forested areas of Humboldt.

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Our trip began in the Victorian village of Ferndale where the road led us up, up, up, out of the fog.  We would pass through the small communities of Petrolia and Honeydew on our way back towards Highway 101 just north of Weott.  A few isolated homes, ranches and herds of cattle dotted the landscape.  Eventually we caught a glimpse of the ocean and began to twist our way back down to sea level.

We discovered a beautiful rocky beach where we couldn’t resist stretching our legs.  Reg insisted I climb up on one of the larger rocks where I tried to create my best “Little Mermaid” pose.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the day was coming upon a herd of zebras!  “Stop,” I shouted.  I had to get a picture.   Who’d believe zebras roamed Humboldt County?

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Like an oasis, the town of Petrolia (small and pretty darn isolated) lay ahead as we came over a rise.  The town market was a bustling place where a woman was busy flipping hamburgers.  A UPS driver patiently awaited his lunch.  

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAStopping for our tailgate picnic, we had second thoughts about missing out on those burgers!

Eventually we arrived back at Highway 101, no worse for the wear.  We had envisioned long stretches of a dusty gravel road with steep drop offs and multiple washboards; a bit of a white knuckle ride. What we found was a well kept road, steep but newly paved in spots, scattered ranches and communities surrounded with breathtaking scenery.  Certainly nothing to be scared of!

 

 

 

 

 

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Patrick’s Point Escape

With our trailer following behind us, we were making good time as we headed down California’s North Coast.  And then, just a hop, skip and a jump from our destination, we came upon a traffic jam, causing Reg to hit the brakes.  Twenty minutes later we were on our way and saw no visible signs of a cause for delay.

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Our destination was a private campground across the road from Patrick’s Point State Park, the only place we could find when hunting for a last minute reservation.  We checked in and were given a sheet of rules listing all the offenses that would cause us to be required to leave.  A little over-the-top, but since our camping buddies weren’t joining us, we figured we could restrain ourselves from causing too much of a ruckus!

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Patrick’s Point State Park hugs the cliffs of Northern California, offering spectacular ocean views and a network of forested trails.  Had the weather been a little nicer, we may have spent more time exploring.  We did drive through the campground and the sites looked amazing.  Good incentive to reserve early for a return trip.

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Cold Spring Tavern

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Standing in front of Cold Spring Tavern, it’s easy to imagine the dust flying as a team of horses pull a creaky stagecoach ‘round the bend.
Back in 1865 the California tavern was established as a stop for the stagecoach providing mail delivery and passenger service along the route between Santa Barbara and Santa Ynez.  It was here, on what is now called Stagecoach Road, that tired horses were changed out and weary travelers enjoyed a meal and a break from what must have been a long and dusty, bumpy ride.

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Although the stagecoach ceased operation back in 1901, Cold Spring Tavern remains a popular spot where locals and tourists from all walks of life are welcomed and offered a hearty meal, a cold drink and a glimpse into the Old West.

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Discover Pismo Preserve

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Rising above Pismo Beach on California’s Central Coast, Pismo Preserve offers 880 acres of unspoiled beauty.  Opened to the public just last week, we were excited to be among the first to explore the 11 miles of hiking trails that weave up and down the hillside.

 

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We chose the Discovery Trail, a 5.2 mile path that led us up the grassy slopes and through groves of twisted oaks.  The views were stunning…we couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day.

We traveled the perimeter of the preserve, eventually arriving at Lover’s Point, 780 feet above the Pacific Ocean.  As luck would have it, there was a bench and it was lunchtime.

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The trail system is open to the public daily from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. with hours extended to 9:30 p.m. from March through October.  Best of all, it’s free!  Parking is competitive…the lot is on the small side, but you might get lucky.  We had to park about a quarter mile away and walk in.  There are restrooms and drinking water available at the parking lot.

Pismo Preserve is located at 80 Mattie Road, just off Highway 101 in Pismo Beach, California.

Categories: California | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

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