We had traveled for two days since our stop in Coos Bay, Oregon. There would be be more spectacular coastline, a second overnight in a lovely California town, Arcata (Ar-KAY-ta) and the giant beauties: the California Redwoods. Writing this days later, it's hard to put the memories in proper order. The photos are an aide as they're all dated help to reconstruct our route. But confusion reigns as well: "Where did we have that conversation with the lady selling tomatoes at a greenmarket? Where did we encounter the blanket of fog that appeared so suddenly and shrouded the Pacific from view?" As we go along, I try to remember to photograph sign posts at any particular stop that might give a clue as to where we were.
Just south of Coos Bay was the sweet little town of Bandon, Oregon with a beautiful lighthouse and harbor and an indoor farmer and crafts market. We stopped for a break and a walk around.
|Poor Henry the fish.|
|In Bandon, Oregon. A Coquille Indian totem along with a new recognition of the real history |
that talks about the European destruction of indigenous people and their lands. Sadly, quite late.
|The pretty little fishing village of Bandon, Oregon.|
Sign for a fish market on the harbor.
|An Indoor farmers and crafts market in Bandon.|
|The lighthouse at Bandon. Beyond the jetty, the endless Pacific, Inside, the town's sheltered harbor.|
|Is that smoke from a fire ahead? No, it was the famous and|
often-present Pacific fog rolling in from the sea.
|Rocky outcrops would jut up out of the thin layer of fog that covered the sea.|
|CLICK TO SEE THIS FULL SIZE.|
A panoramic photo of the fog-covered coast of Oregon, looking south.
We continued driving to our next night's stop: the pretty town of Arcata, California, said to be "the most enlightened city in California." I'm guessing that means it has a large collection of residents who have a progressive outlook on life. They care about the environment, the city is filled with bike lanes, the greenmarket, which we came upon on Saturday (the next morning after our stop) was big and thriving. A strong ethic of preservation was obvious from the lovely old restored buildings that lined the city's main square. The "square," as in Sonoma, was a very pretty park. Just a very nice scene all around. A quick walk around some back streets showed us a town with lovely houses, many 1930-era bungalows (in pristine condition) and other pretty and well-kept homes.
|Peppers anyone? At the Arcata greenmarket.|
|Peppers and more peppers.|
|Tomato farmer plying her produce.|
|We really dug this vendor!|
|Flowers for sale in Arcata.|
|Sweet onions and red ones too.|
|Peace be with you. Preserved building houses a peaceful law practice.|
|Cafes and nice shops line the town square.|
We drove on from Arcata and after a while we found ourselves on a loop road off the Pacific Coast Highway dubbed the Avenue of the Giants. The road here wended its way through Humboldt Redwood State Park, home of the beautiful Redwood trees, some of whom were many hundreds of years old. Once upon a time, these gentle giants covered vast sections of central California's coast lands. The Fortyniners, coming to seek their fortune in gold, soon found that there was greater money to be made in wood, particularly the amounts of wood provided by these enormous trees. So cut them they did, depleting huge sections of old growth redwood groves. What a crime! Money talked and the redwoods vanished from the California lands. Were it not for a handful of enlightened preservationist/activists (much like today's folk who fight valiantly fight climate change) these last few remainig groves would be gone today, just a memory like other species that have disappeared - the victims of humanity's greed.
It was very difficult, and I apologize to you, to do a proper job of photographing these beautiful trees with any clarity that can show just how magnificent they are. I'd need many days, which we didn't have, to be there at the right time with the right light and the right vantage and more skill to capture their grandeur and commanding presence.
Visiting them and walking through these groves is a very humbling experience. These are the tallest living things on earth and the idea that they were cut down for someone's profit without any thought of preservation is just horrible to contemplate.
|Entering Humboldt Redwood State Park.|
|Avenue Of The Giants - a loop road that runs through groves of old growth redwoods.|
|CLICK ON ANY PHOTO TO SEE IT LARGER.|
It's hard to depict in these "snapshots" the
beauty and grandeur of these tallest of living things.
|A woman, a dog, a redwood.|
|These giant trees die and then are allowed (in the park) to lie where they fall.|
They revert back to soil, other plants feed and grow on them and the cycle is repeated.
Redwoods can live over a thousand years!
|Nature's beautiful creation.|
|The tallest living things on earth.|
There are a few tiny towns along the The Avenue Of The Giants inside the park where you can stop, buy supplies or get something to eat. We drove on and late that afternoon arrived at our friends, Ann and Alex Frick's house in Glen Ellen - California wine country!
We unpacked, rested a bit and had dinner in a pretty little restaurant just down the road from their place. It had been a wonderful day. There was more to come on the coast but we'd spend a few days with out friends, enjoying their company, catching up on goings on, taking a hike, viewing the lunar eclipse and, yes, taking a break from driving.
When we left our friends in Glen Ellen we'd head further south. Next stop: San Simeon and the incredible wonder of Hearst Castle.
See you there! - Matt
|A stop for lunch in one of the tiny villages that are found|
along The Avenue Of The Giants
Hmmm...wonder what Biggie is looking at?
|We made it! In Glen Ellen at our friends' house.|
And out for a nice dinner at the Glenn Ellen Inn with Ann and Alex.
I know Ann for fifty years from our days at Brooklyn College -- a good friend.