Sunday, March 3, 2013

California Coast Road Trip Pt.1

Before Stitches, my family and I went North for my Opa's funeral. The weather had closed in around our usual route home, so we opted for a two day trip down the coast instead. It seemed appropriate since my Opa was the one who would take the family on road trips. It was the Opa Memorial Road Trip.
On the first day, we saw a wide range of sights. I live in a bit of California that doesn't see much snow, if any, so this sight is quite unfamiliar to me. The weather had warmed up just enough that the trees were dumping their cold burden.

Everywhere we looked for a good hour or two, there was mist and crashing snow. This picture is probably the best one I've ever gotten while the car is moving.

As we edged out of the snow zone, we stopped to visit the Darlingtonias around Gasquet. It isn't often I am in that area, so I insist on stopping whenever we pass by. Dad had never seen these plants in the wild, so we did the short walk to have a look. I've never seen snow in this area before. I didn't even know these plants could survive such cold, but they seemed to be doing just fine.

Hours later we decided to stop to have a look at Fern Canyon. Roosevelt Elk like to hang out in the area, although we weren't sure we'd see any. Guess we were wrong. Mum calls this my "postcard shot." This guy must be used to cars slowing down, because as we did, he looked up and gave us his most photogenic look. His herd of ladies were down the road with their calves.
 Nice rack!

Fern Canyon is usually much greener and the path isn't usually so littered with dead trees. Although Dad was less than enthusiastic, Mum and I insisted on scrambling up the canyon to the hiking path. It was pretty tricky getting around everything. Dad was a little indignant that I didn't get my shoes wet. At some point he gave up on dry shoes and ran across the stream like one of those Jesus Lizards. Dad verified that he is unable to walk on water.
 This is close to the area where a part of The Lost World: Jurassic Park was filmed

Although it isn't an easy drive or an easy hike, Fern Canyon is one of my favorite places to visit. There is a recommendation for 4-wheel drive because you have to ford some streams. We don't have that. Mum almost got the car stuck in a stream and all Dad could think about was that he was going to have to get his feet wet again.

As night closed in, we moved off of Highway 101 and onto 1. We wound through the trees and mist. When the forest finally broke away, the Moon glowed above, illuminating the clouds and surf. With the heater on full blast, I opened the window and breathed in the salty air. It was quite late by the time we made it to Fort Bragg.

To be continued...


Unknown said...

What a lovely trip! I think I would adore Fern Canyon.

Pumpkin said...

These photos are magical! I really miss California, the parks are unforgettable. I will always have a love for Yosemite after camping there when I was little. And the redwoods! I cannot wait for part 2!

Alina Sayre said...

Gorgeous pictures!

Anonymous said...

I think that last picture of the forest is my favourite. That play of light and shade is magical. Thanks for sharing your trip. Looking forward to reading Pt. 2!

Jennifer said...

What a handsome elk! And stunning photos as usual. It sounds like such a wonderful road trip, thank you for sharing!

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