Sunshine, more spectacular Redwoods and into Oregon
Our departure day from Humboldt Redwoods State Park brought much desired sunshine. We saw some of the oldest redwoods so far on the northern portion of the Avenue of the Giants, then re-joined 101. Once beyond Eureka and Arcata, we entered another very remote area, where the communities were so incredibly poor it was difficult to understand how they survive at all. We learned the region is way more sparsely populated today than it was prior to the white man coming. This area is so rich with life that it’s easy to see how a culture that co-exists with nature can thrive. Not so much if your culture is based on "use it until it's gone".
Our destination was Elk Prairie Campground which is located within the Redwoods National and State Parks. It’s a park that is somehow run as both federal and state parks, which may explain why we were able to book a trailer site that could never, ever, ever fit a trailer. The friendly camp host helped us out so that we were able to spend one night amongst more huge redwoods and some stunning moss and lichen covered trees followed by another day/night out on the prairie where we had full sun and a herd of Elk made a daily appearance. We took a drive down the coast, checked out the little beach town of Trinidad and took a small hike down to a beautiful cove where Lola enjoyed some stick throwing, but no swimming.
The next day we headed to Sunset Bay State Park, which is just a little south of Coos Bay, Oregon. Just before we crossed into Oregon, we went over a bridge which had these large Golden Bears on both the southern and northern ends. The bears on the northern end are facing north, so that their backsides are to you as you leave Cali. It felt a bit like they had turned their backs on us for daring to leave the Golden State. What was even funnier, was the Welcome to Oregon sign, which was the biggest wreck of a welcome sign we have ever seen.
The most southern portion of the Oregon coastline is very similar to the Northern California one, mountains meet the sea with grand and majestic views. But it didn’t take long before we started to see more waterways just inland as well. Rivers, estuaries, and lakes abound in this region and with them, a lot more communities. Some flat-out touristy beach towns interspersed with fishing, crabbing, and logging based working towns. Coos Bay was one of the later, with lots of farmed oysters available, a huge lumber mill and the beginnings of a touristy waterfront boardwalk being developed.
We were able to walk from our campground to a lovely little cove and from there took a short hike up on the bluffs, rounding a couple of headlands for even more fantastic views of this coast. So many times, as we stand admiring all the magnificence of nature, we are cognizant of how fortunate we are to be able to take this journey and enjoy so much of it every day.