Geoff and Jenn's 1998 California Trip
Day 4: California Coast

Tuesday, September 29th, 1998

We awoke this morning underneath Emerson's crawling body telling us that we were much too old to be sleeping in. The redwoods around us had their tops fogged in, and upon seeing this, we elected for a rush pack job with the hopes of seeing the redwoods' height soften by the fog. We tried to revisit the Barrell road, but it was closed (some ranger evidently did not have a youngin' of his own to wake him up to open the gate to the road).

Two elk duking-it-out on the beach
While the fogged rolled out, we decided to take a morning stroll in Fern Canyon. To get there, we passed once again by the elk meadows where we heard them bugling last night. The field, to use Jenn's words, was "Stag Alley", giving us a glimpse of at least 10 bucks, and several more at a distance. We drove through to the coast on yet another beautiful drive, and glimpsed still more bulls out on the beach -- a first for us. At last, at Fern Canyon we hoped out for the short hike.


The canyon was spectacular -- it was about 70-100 feet straight walls that nestled a small stream just as it hit the Pacific ocean. The walls were completely covered with moss and ferns, reminding us slightly of our own Oneonta Gorge inside the Columbia Gorge. We criscrossed the stream a number of times, until, at the end, we were granted a sight of yet one more Roosevelt elk telling us to proceed no farther.
The entrance to Fern Canyon


A snapshot from the road south...
After admiring the grafitti inside the porta-poddies back at the parking lot (including hand carved multiplication tables), we headed back to Highway 101 to begin anew our trek southward.

Along the way, we decided to take the "Avenue of the Gods" scenic route and were granted still more beautiful views of the redwoods, and still differently named "groves" seemingly every few feet.


At one point we stopped at a tourist attraction to see the infamous "drive-thru" tree, but suddenly balked at discovering the price of 3 bucks to see it. Jenn commented "We are so stingy we will not even pay 3 lousy bucks for a cheezy tourist attraction!". Thus, we drove onward, eventually coming to the town of Leggett, where once again, we had yet another opportunity to drive through a tree (and not into a tree, like yesterday). This time we laid down our lousy, cheesy three dollars and ignored our sense of soul, and drove on through. Here's our classic cheesy, touristy picture of the momentous occasion.

From Leggett, we took highway 1 out to the coast. The first 25 miles of the Highway 1 are exceptionally difficult -- the turns are endless, and the desire to run them as fast as we could was strong. Within minutes Emerson was quite cranky and his parents were both quite woozy from the constant spinning. The winding turns of highway 1 along the coast actually were a relief in comparison!

The very last California poppy still in bloom! (I had to hike hard to get to it!)
We continued on south, passing through the beautiful scenery and some beautiful coastal towns. The coast line was significantly different than our Oregon coast -- these views had beautiful plains of grazz gently meeting the beaches through some beautiful final cliffs. Unfortunately we did not take too many pictures due to the failing light and the encroaching cloud bank. The fog accentuated the beauty, however.

We made our exhausted pit stop at Point Arena at a small motel.



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