Friday, June 3, 2016

Dry Lagoon and Redwood National Park, 5/30/2016

On our way to the northern part of Redwood National Park, we stopped first at Dry Lagoon to give our doggie, Sadie, some "playing on the beach" time. As with the other beaches we have seen along this part of the northern coast of California, it is rocky with pounding surf and gray sand. Here, though, there are lots of logs strewn along the beach that provide great seating.

Also, we learned that local folks come here looking for agates (and many are found, but you do have to look carefully for them). There is also jade, jasper, and other minerals of interest. We had lot of fun looking for our favorites and did find some agates, as well. 

There are piles of smooth stones all around these rocks. When the agates are wet they are easier to spot as they have a beautiful glow to them (and are translucent when held up to the light).

We drove north on CA 101 to Klamath. After crossing the bridge over the Klamath River, take the first exit. Turn right to find the entrance kiosk where you must pay a $5 fee the Tour-Thru Tree. This is a privately-owned land. part of the Yurok reservation, not the Redwood National Park. 

The Tour-Thru Tree is about 785 years old and was damaged previously by fire. The area was logged in the 1960s, but the largest redwoods were spared including this one. The tunnel is 7'4" wide and 9'6" high and was completed in 1976. It continues to grow at the top despite the carved opening at the base. There are other large redwoods in the area and, of course, lovely ferns.

While in Klamath, we stopped at the Yurok Visitor Center. The Yoruk tribe is the largest tribe in California with 6,000 members. 

There are interesting displays that provide insight into the history and current activities of the Yurok people. They were and continue to be great fishermen and built dugout canoes from huge redwood trees. The one in the visitor center is the size of ones used on rivers. Canoes for the ocean are twice the length and twice the width of the one shown here.

Continuing north on CA 101 we stopped an overlook of the Crescent City Harbor. The harbor has been an important port for the lumber industry for the last 150 years. The Battery Point Lighthouse was originally constructed in 1856.

We stopped at the Crescent City Visitor Center where we got information about Jedediah Smith State Park (also part of Redwood National Park) that is nearby. 

They also provided information about the local sites in Crescent City. We wanted to get a closer look at the Battery Point Lighthouse, so drove the short distance to a parking lot near it. It is a short walk on a narrow peninsula to the lighthouse.

In 1855 Congress appropriated $15,000 to build a lighthouse here. It was essential to the growth of the port due to the dangerous shoals in the area that caused numerous shipwrecks. The lighthouse was opened the following year and has been in operation since. Tours are provided (although we were too late in the day to go on one). This is a great location for whale watching during their migration from January to April.

Along Anchor Way in Crescent City, seals can be seen (and heard) lounging on docks there. 

There are shops to rent surfboards and boogie boards on Anchor Way as well as restaurants that overlook the beach. There were 21 flags on the beach commemorating Memorial Day...very patriotic and inspirational. 

The Redwood National Park Hiouchi Visitor Center is located about 10 miles from Crescent City on CA 199 east. Another dugout canoe (used by the Yurok people) carved from a redwood tree was on display here. The carvings in the canoe represent kidneys, heart, lungs, and nose as the Yurok included this in all of their canoes to signify their spiritual relationship with nature. 

We came to this northernmost part of the Redwood National and State Parks to see the Stout Memorial Grove. This 44-acre grove was donated by Clara Stout in 1929 to protect it from logging. Located in a flood plain next to the Smith River, there are no understory trees or bushes as seen in other groves. The .6-mile loop Stout Memorial Grove Loop Trail provides the opportunity to see this special grove. 

The ferns here are almost as tall as I am and just gorgeous. This was our favorite grove and it is in a remote location so never crowded. We were glad we took the time to wander once more among these majestic, huge trees.

There are no admission fees to the Redwood National and State Parks. Be sure to check out the park's newspaper for locations of interest and information on hiking trails. This is the source we use along with input from park rangers at the Visitor Centers to figure out what we will do in most national parks. Redwood NP is so spread out, that it was wonderful to to have several days to explore the area. 

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