"Could I have this dance for the rest of my life?" - Anne Murray

Friday, April 13, 2012

Crescent City: California One Last Time

This week we moved to Oregon and we're staying in the Valley of the Rogue State Park. It's a nice park, but nothing special. It's right on the Rogue River, which is a very popular fishing and rafting river, but there's not a lot of that going on right now - too early in the season.  I picked this park because it's inexpensive and centrally located for day trips to Crater Lake (tomorrow) and the northern California coast (yesterday).  I'd been looking forward to seeing the Redwoods, and though we did visit a grove south of San Francisco, the groves up here are supposed to be better in some ways. They sure get a lot more rain.

The day started out partly cloudy, but by the time we hit the road it was raining in earnest, and continued to do so for most of the day.  I'm learning how to take pictures in the rain and overcast skies.  Not having bright sun is OK, but hazy and serious rain are both challenges.

The first leg of the trip was on Rt. 199 from Grant's Pass, OR to Crescent City, CA.  You know how you see those signs about Falling Rocks? We saw our first real live fallen rocks along the road.

The road travels along the blue-green Smith River (named after Jedidiah Smith who shows up a lot in Califormia) and in some places skirts along its very steep gorge. We stopped in one turnout and got this picture of the river 

and some wildflowers that I haven't been able to identify.

199 passes right through Jedidiah Smith State Park, which is within or adjacent to Redwood National Park. It's a surprisingly quiet road and the environment seems less trampled than some areas. 

Route 199 ends in Crescent City, on the Pacific coast. We stopped and had our picnic lunch at Point St. George, overlooking Castle Rock.

Further south, we took a walk along Pebble Beach. It was really blustery, but the rain had eased up a bit. Kona got her swim, not in the ocean waves, but in the tide pools.

Parts of the beach really are composed of tiny pebbles rather than the big rocks that create the tide pools.

In Crescent City we viewed the Battery Point Lighthouse from a distance. I don't know if you can get closer, but we were heading south to Prairie Creek State Park, so we didn't explore further.  We caught site of a few shore birds: a busy little flock of sanderlings, and a few scattered black oystercatchers.

I wanted to get to Prairie Creek because I had read about one part of it called Fern Canyon, which is right off the beach, with high walls lined with ferns of many kinds. I had also read that there was a herd Roosevelt Elk in the park. We finally got to the visitors center and found out that Fern Canyon was inaccessible because of flooding on the road to the beach, and there was no sign of the elk. I guess they were in under the trees trying to shelter a bit from the wind and rain. Oh well.

Elk Meadow sans elk.

I did talk Rick into a short walk along one trail in the pouring rain. What a sport. 

Most of pictures I took were pretty much ruined by the raindrops on my lens. Oh well again.  For this one I got a little shelter from the redwoods, thank you very much.

It was a long day. Stopped on the way home in Grants Pass for a local specialty: McDonald's.

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