Ferndale, CA

Just a few pictures I took in Ferndale, a nice place to stop and stretch your legs after a long drive through the Lost Coast. Ferndale is 158 years old.

















Lost Coast, Part 2

After the ice cream sandwich in Honeydew (it wasn't a sandwich, it was a Nestle Crunch Ice Cream bar--a very, very strange choice for me because they had It's Its as well [my usual choice], but for whatever reason as soon as I saw it, that Nestle Crunch ice cream bar called out to me)...

After the ice cream bar in Honeydew, my next stop was the 15 miles and 40 minutes down the road at the Petrolia General Store where I got a turkey sandwich*, chocolate milk and piece of someone's amazing red velvet cake**. I took my iPhone out to take a picture of the gorgeous red velvet cake, and I thought, "Maybe I take enough pictures", and I put my iPhone away. I regret that decision now. In fact, whenever I respond to the thought "Maybe I take enough pictures" (because I've had it before) by putting my camera away, I have always, always regretted it later. So I hope that I will never, never do that again. The red velvet cake was amazing.

And what did I take a picture of in the Petrolia General Store, if not the red velvet cake? I took a picture of the rack of used paperbacks.


**Ice cream bar, chocolate milk, red velvet cake? Yep.

I drove down to Mattole Beach and ate my lunch in the car.


It was my dinner too. This whole trip I was only hungry about once a day, and I only ate once a day. At home, I eat much more often than that (I also don't eat ice cream bars, chocolate milk, and red velvet cake at home. At least not very often). I have to say it felt very liberating to feel not that hungry most of the day, and not very inclined to go look for food during the usual times. I have no explanation for it.

Mattole Beach is the starting point (or finishing point) of the three-day Lost Coast wilderness trail hike. Sections of the trail become impassable during high tide so you have to incorporate tide tables into your planning. I asked my friend/guru Emma if she's ever thought about doing it, and it turns out she's done it five times. Once, she even added five days by extending the trip into the Sinkyone Wilderness. She's hardcore.


The beach was very quiet. Again, I was alone. (If it seems remarkable to have a beach alone in California, it's not. It happened a lot when I lived in Santa Cruz, and even once or twice in Los Angeles County. However, I don't think I've ever had a beach alone in San Francisco.)


Leaving Mattole Beach, I headed north to Ferndale.

Wooded glens,


Cattle grazing,


and quiet country roads


give way to extended coastal vistas.


The roads everywhere in here are pretty rough. Lots of potholes, gravel, even just plain dirt.



After awhile the road starts to rise,


And turns inland, we don't see water again until Eureka.


I did not stop for any more pictures until I reached Ferndale, perhaps because I was overwhelmed (I started the day in Founders Grove), but also because it was getting late and I still had a ways to go to stay on target.

For what it's worth, I think it's kind of funny that epic Mattole Road ends smack in the middle of a residential neighborhood one block from downtown Ferndale.




Bull Creek Flats To Mattole Road

The best roadtrips involve as many stops as possible to take in the scenery, but ultimately you have to get somewhere. My goal on Monday was to reach Trinidad on the coast, 70 miles north of where I spent the night in Garberville. You can do it in a 90-minute shot driving straight up Highway 101, but where's the fun?

I took a 4-hour detour into the Lost Coast, a vast undeveloped section of the California coast with only a couple roads running through it. I took all these pictures from the drivers seat on the 22 mile drive from Founder's Grove to tiny Honeydew. Bull Creek Flats Road runs through Humboldt Redwoods SP before turning into Mattole Road.

Bull Creek Flats Road

There road leaves the redwoods behind for more open space and starts to ascend.


I was surprised to see snow again.


And more surprised when it actually started to snow as I kept going up, up, up...


I've never driven in snow before and I was a little bit alarmed to find myself doing it here. They always say you should check road conditions. I'm afraid if I had, I would not have come this way.
That would have been a shame; I think these are some of California's finest miles. The road is very rough in places; potholes, gravel, etc. In some stretches there is no road, just dirt.


Fortunately, it was late enough in the morning that the road had been plowed. And, also, it didn't last long. After a few miles, the skies cleared up and the road went on like this for several miles.

Ascending Matthole Road. This drive was epic. 20 of California's finest miles.

At last I reached Honeydew.


I got an ice cream bar at the general store


And kept going. Next stops: Petrolia, Mattole Beach, and the road to Ferndale.


Rockefeller Redwoods

This is another of the four redwood groves that I wandered through on Monday, after Founders Grove. I won't blog about all of them, but I think this one deserves special treatment because of the flooded landscape. Whether Rockefeller Redwoods floods every year or not I don't know, but I thought the water-soaked scenery evoked the ancient world these trees belonged to unlike any redwood forest I've ever seen.

The Coast Redwoods growing in California and Oregon are the last surviving members of the genus Sequoia, whose species were widespread on Earth during the time of the dinosaurs 200 MYA. I can just imagine a brontosaurus browsing the foliage being quite at home here...









Founders Grove

I made Founders Grove my first stop Monday morning. This is one of the most-visited places in Humboldt Redwoods SP, which is itself one of California's most visited parks, but during my visit I had the whole place to myself.



The light was going in and out behind clouds. I got pictures in the light, but a forest like this is otherwise too dark for my camera without using a flash. So I took several pictures of light coming through the trees.

One week ago at this very moment I was in Founders Grove looking at this.




Fallen redwood trees decompose slowly over hundreds of years and become gardens in themselves. I saw some some amazing examples Tuesday in Lost Man Creek. I hope some of those pictures came out. I haven't looked at them yet.







My rental car a little ways down the road to give you some sense of scale. And some sense of the roads I was driving on.