Fern Canyon & The Lost Coast

After Death Valley my cousin and I returned Niagara, our faithful camper van, and hopped on planes to San Francisco. After just a couple of days there we got in another rental car and headed up to Northern California. This was our second road trip together up there and I doubt it will be our last. Our first destination on this outing was a place called Fern Canyon up in the Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park which is famous for its lush woodland and the Roosevelt Elk, the largest subspecies of elk in North America. We spent an entire evening in the car (for the first time in my life I dozed off in the passenger seat nearly the whole time) and ended upĀ in the small city of Arcata. We had stopped for breakfast at an amazing bakery there last year and returned – twice – on this trip (Cafe Brio, definitely worth it!).

After a decadent breakfast (we each bought two plates!) we headed further north and into the Redwood parks. After a few streamcrossings we made it to the trailhead and were mesmerized by this place.

IMG_7719 IMG_7750 IMG_7742 Processed with VSCOcam with m5 presetI wish we could see it in spring when everything is bright new green! After hiking the loop through and then above the Canyon we decided to head to the beach, which reputedly had a minor gold rush at one time. We didn’t make it. This big guy was waiting around a bend in the trail and he was not going to budge to let us by.

IMG_8491After taking about 100 photos of him we headed back out to the road, where we saw a big herd grazing in the dusk.

IMG_7829On our drive back to Arcata we stopped at a state park on the coast and caught the sunset out at Patrick’s Point, which was the perfect way to wrap up this lovely day.

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The next morning we decided to head through an area called “The Lost Coast,” so named because due to the terrain it is the only section of coastline without a road along it, so it has truly remained deep wilderness area. I hope to hike along its beach one week soon. It was a long beautiful drive out to the Punta Gorda Recreation Area where we could get beach access, past Cape Mendocino and Sugarloaf Island.

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(I admit I cropped Ellen out-it was an awkward picture and she would not have approved)

(I admit I cropped Ellen out-it was an awkward picture and she would not have approved)

Then a long pretty drive up through the interior hills until we could get out to the coast again at Shelter Cove. We were actually very disappointed with the town of Shelter Cove. It felt like a weird touristy version of Cap Cod, all rental houses and property managers and hot dog stands. We went to the cove to see the mountains climbing out of the water, but couldn’t stand to be there more than 30 minutes as teenagers parked the beach and blasted bad rap music from their Chevy Blazer, and stumbledĀ around awkwardly in their pajamas. At 2 pm.

IMG_7895IMG_7894That afternoon as we were looking for a place to spend the night we drove through a tree:


And then pulled off on a shoulder for a quick picnic and to watch the sunset over the water again. It never gets old.


We ate dinner at a brewpub where everyone was watching the superbowl. Then in the morning drove the rest of the way back to SF, stopping at a few random beaches, and being deterred by high tides.

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From there I popped up to visit some wonderful friends in Oregon, which I probably won’t post about, and then headed down to Mexico. Coming soon.




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