Our My Native Redwoods
On my way home, I made a point of doing two specific drives to visit the coast and the Redwoods. The 'Coastal Drive' where the Klamath River meets the ocean and the 'Lost Trail Drive' out of Ferndale, CA.
These drives are two of some of the most scenic drives I've even taken. And if I'm within 100 miles of one of the entrances, I always make a plan to revel in their beauty. Truly, there are few more scenic byways than these.
The Coastal Drive has spectacular sections where the Redwoods are on one side of the road going up the mountain while the other side of the road is a cliff edge with the ocean hundreds and hundreds of feet below. Some vista areas allow you to see miles and miles up or down the coastline.
The National Park Service Redwoods has just a small blurb about the 'Coastal Drive.' It is WAY more breathtaking than words could ever describe.
Coastal Drive (1-2 hours one way). Mostly gravel 8-mile (13-km) road offers magnificent views of the ocean and the Klamath River with its estuary. Whales, sea lions, and pelicans are often seen from overlooks. Offers access to the Coastal Trail, Flint Ridge section.
From the north, take Highway 101 to Klamath Beach Road, then follow the Coastal Drive signs.
From the south, travel Highway 101 to the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway, then drive nine miles (14½ km) to the Coastal Drive turnoff.
Trailers and motor-homes not advised.
NPS Redwood Map PDF
(Could someone tell my WHY the NPS has such great websites with all types of park info, but NO MAP LINKS unless you search for an hour??????? Wouldn't you think MAPS of the area that you want to get some information on would be one of the top 3 things a web visitor wants to see first????)
I entered the 'Coastal Drive' after crossing the Klamath River headed south. The exit is just south of the bridge. You'll go down towards the Klamath River, past a few campgrounds, and then out towards the coastline edge.
This drive is NOT for RV's or trailers. But all other cars are fine. My old Cadillac was the first to make this drive years ago. She was very low to the ground and while it was slow going and bumpy, she did OK.
Happily, in my Suzuki XL-7 of today, I never have an issue. This road would almost fall into the 'rarely maintained' category. Some sections are one-car-only. But it really is a drive of a life time. Bring lunch!
And this is the reason you should bring lunch. The picture below is taken from High Bluff Overlook, the best spot to stop and see the California coastline in all of its primitive glory. Split Rock is situated above a stretch of Del Norte Beach which you can see in the distance.
High Bluff Overlook has picnic tables, grills and a restroom. Plus this view. Really, it just doesn't get any better. There IS a very steep little drive down to the parking area. But there are NOT any cliff edges (that I remember) on either side of the road. So, harrowing it is not. Steep, yes. But most vehicles will have no problem.
High Bluff Overlook
After a thoughtful and breezy lunch, Luna and I continue on down the road. Thoughtful? Yes. Often we Americans think of our National Parks as 'our' National Parks.
I think that somewhat lets many of us of the hook thoughtfully and emotionally. How about we start thinking of them as 'MY' National Parks. Words, just words, but does it make you 'feel' any different? Did your heart move a little bit when you thought, my National Parks? Does that stir the desire for some previous untaken action because you/we/me thinks someone, that 'our' that we so often refer too, will DO it? Whatever IT is in relation to doing something besides just throwing a passing thought at IT?
So, back down the road we go.
Redwoods are everywhere.
Sometimes the views is very Hobbit-like.
Sunshine through the Redwoods.
Small car -- Big trees.
Patches of sunlight.
A red forest floor.
Uncia, I think it is Uncia.
You'll come out of the Coastal Drive onto the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway and into the redwoods at Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. I have often seen Roosevelt elk in the prairie here.
With the Coastal Drive behind me, I then continue driving down the coast, past Eureka, heading towards Ferndale, CA.
The pictures below were taken in January of 2005 when Charlotte and I were driving the coast of Highway 101 north to her new home in Washington.
We found Ferndale and the Lost Trail by 'accident.' It is still one of our most memorable side-trips ever!
The Ferndale Cemetery
When Charlotte and I came around the corner and saw these two cemeteries, our mouth's dropped open. I'm not kidding. Living in the desert most of my life, well, we don't bury people in concrete tombs because we don't have too. Now in wet places burials are different.
These two cemeteries were truly remarkable. Incredible to wander. Somewhat scary -- why I don't know. It was very gray and very foggy that day. This is also a must stop to view and feel. Humans have somewhat strange rituals me thinks.
Saint Mary's Cemetery
One of the many Victorian Houses in Ferndale, CA.
::Back to our regularly scheduled trip::
The Ferndale exit off of Highway 101 will take me to my next favorite coastal drive called the 'Lost Trail Drive.'
Here is what you're looking for mapwise: Mattole Road Map- The Lost Coast, Northern California. (No RV's or trailers advised on this one either. Though I have seen, with my own eyes, a few years ago, RV's CAMPED at the very bottom on the sand in some park. But I didn't see them this year.)
And this is what you'll see:
Very, very, very, very, very, curvy roads.
Dunes that must be barb wired in so as not to run off with some other beach.
Seaside Spa Cows.
Then away, back up into the CA hills.
More curvy roads.
Until you end up in the Humboldt Redwoods. This area of the Redwoods keeps the secrets of the Earth. You can feel the years that they have lived, that they breathe out.... you feel it in your bones.
When laying down, they are still taller than my car.
Then the Redwoods start to thin.
And you come back to Highway 101 and the world as we know it today.
But, for a while, it was very mystical. And deep. Earthy and beautiful.
Coastal Slide Show
Visit 'Save the Redwoods' to keep it going and share it with your children and grand-kids.
places to play in and pray in,
where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike."