Thursday, November 2, 2017

American Beauty (Post #4)

Recapping our trip up the Northern California and Oregon Coasts. You can read Day 1 here, Day 2 here, and Day 3 here

Day 4-Eureka California to Brookings Oregon (141 miles)

Except I'm not going all the way to Brookings in this post because it got a little long (ha!). We'll pick up on the road where we end today in my next post. You're welcome.  

I'd always imagined the Redwoods were all located within the national park, a single area with trails to follow and a visitors center where you could buy postcards and ask questions and see taxidermied critters on display. While all that's true there are Redwoods growing in several places along the Northern California coast, and you need a bit of a game plan so you can narrow down where and when you want to stop. 

I definitely recommend the Avenue of the Giants which I wrote about in my last post (here), and I also recommend visiting Redwoods National Park. Of course the park is enormous and you can't see it all in a day, but thanks to my online source Josh at California Through My Lens, we did not miss what hubs and I both agree was our favorite stop out of all the many stops we made on this trip- Fern Canyon. Or Fern Gully as I like to call it (shout out to all you moms who watched movies with young children back in the early 90's!) More about that later. 

It was foggy when we left Eureka and we made a brief exit off the coast road into the town of McKinneyville to take a peek at the 'World's Tallest Totem Pole' which technically is no longer the worlds tallest, but is still really tall (160 feet). Also oddly located in a small parking lot behind a shopping center, but I like finding quirky things in our travels and this qualifies. 

We stopped next about 20 miles north of Eureka in the pretty coastal village of Trinidad for a peek at the lighthouse there. You can tell from my photos the weather was ever changing but thankfully the fog lifted as the morning progressed.

The cove below the lighthouse was calling our name so we walked on the beach for a bit, watched more brave surfers (Brrrr)-

...then ran to beat the incoming tide. The coastline is sprinkled with so very many pretty little spots all along the way, nothing fancy- 

...just nature being magnificent. 

Next up was Redwoods National Park. We made a stop in one of the Visitors Centers to get directions to Fern Canyon and were on our way. Josh had written an entire post on his blog about this special place and I was glad I'd read it because the way in is a little wonky. 

Also, he mentioned you would have to cross streams in several places, both by car and on foot, so bring appropriate footwear. As soon as hubs heard he got to drive the car through a stream he was all in. I had my wellies and hubs was in his duck boots and more than one person eyed us with great envy as they attempted to navigate the canyon in tennis shoes. 

To get to the canyon you travel eight miles on a dirt and gravel road that's rutted and winding and does indeed involve driving through three small streams. They weren't deep when we were there, but that isn't always the case so check before you go. We actually followed a couple in who were driving a convertible. A convertible! With the top down! We had the windows rolled up in our vehicle and there was still a lot of dust in the car, so I cannot imagine what theirs looked like. 

Once you reach the parking area (there's a restroom here) it's a short easy walk to the canyon. 

Which is spectacular. Like something out of another time and place. They filmed part of The Lost World here and it's easy to see why. The walls of the canyon are nearly fifty feet high and completely covered in lush green ferns. 

A stream runs through it and there are trees down in several places that you have to crawl over and around. Hubs loves walking the plank of a fallen tree trunk, especially if it's over water. 

He also loves taking pics like these-

The canyon was quiet and still and we had the place to ourselves for the most part. 

 I love wearing my rain boots and running through water like a five year old.

 Yes I splash. Isn't that the point of wearing rain boots? It was hard to leave the canyon but the great thing about driving the coast is you know there is more beauty just around the next bend in the road.

The parking area for the canyon is close to the beach and we did see a whole herd looking very chill and not at all aggressive.

Who knew elk liked to sunbathe?

As we made our way back to the main road we passed another smaller herd. They were close enough to touch if I rolled down my car window but I decided not to test the truth of that sign.

We spent a good part of the afternoon in another section of the National Park called Lady Bird Johnson Grove.

There's a lovely trail through this particular grove and it's a great place to really experience the grandeur and majesty of the trees. If you can't do a lot do this.

Hug a tree-

Stand inside a Redwood and think deep thoughts-

Look up and be amazed-

 Speaking of giants, we made one more stop before crossing the border and that was here-

The Trees of Mystery in Klamath California. It was late in the day so we weren't able to do the tree tour, but they also have a fantastic museum attached to their gift shop and we really enjoyed browsing there. It's called End of the Trail Museum and contains an absolutely wonderful collection of Native American artifacts donated primarily by a woman named Marylee Thompson. It's really impressive how much they have in this out of the way location, and we were so glad to have seen it.

As the day wound down we said farewell for now to California and hello to Oregon-

Stay tuned...she's a beauty!


  1. Wow. Thank you for sharing your amazing photos and your adventures!

  2. Awesome shots of Fern Canyon. I am so glad you guys got there!

  3. What beauty and I think Hubby and I need to hurry and make this treck. So enjoyed sharing in your adventure.

  4. Wow, the photos are so beautiful! You are seeing things I haven't seen but I must say that the West has a lot to see and one thing is more beautiful than the next.