Salt Point State Park, California

Salt Point State Park and nearby areas

In late November we were back at one of our favorite places, the north coast of California.We drive thru Petaluma, CA and out to the coast on the Bodega Bay Highway until we connected with Highway 1.  After going north, we reached a beautiful spot where the Russian River meets the Pacific Ocean at Jenner, CA. The beach changes with the seasons and is not always open to the river.

During this trip while doing some work on our cabin, I had the opportunity to join some wonderful ladies that have an unusual hobby. Particularly considering that most of the group is past retirement age!

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Salt Point Visitors center sits above Gerstle Cove

Below, the view from the back of the visitors center looking at Gerstle Cove which is a Marine Reserve.

The women try to get together weekly to put on their wetsuits. Grab their fins and masks and hike down to the Salt Point State Park Gerstle Cove shore.  From there they swim out into the cove, snorkel, ‘bob’ around and spend an enjoyable time checking out the seals, fish and underwater views in this protected cove.  After their ‘bobbing’ the ‘Bobettes’ as they call themselves, hike up to the top of the hill to dry off, and have a cup of hot tea and snacks before heading off for their workday in the local area.  I find it quite amazing that they do this almost weekly all year.  They have no concerns that no one is on shore waiting for them to check if they are safe.  They say that they can all take care of themselves and each other.  How brave and empowering! Of course, they say, ‘it’s no big deal’.

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Final steps before heading out, note that one woman is already past the surf line

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Paddling out into the cove

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The small black dots are the ‘bobettes’ near the entrance to the cove

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The cove down at the water line

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Looking from the cove up to the Visitors Center

The Salt Point State Park area is quite large with various sections.  It includes two campgrounds, various small parking areas off Highway 1 and some lovely trails both along the shore and in the dense Redwood, Pine and Douglas Fir forest areas.

At the North end of Salt Point Park, the Kruse Rhododendron Trail is great anytime, but probably most lovely in May when the wild Rhododendrons and wild Azaleas are in bloom.  The short loop trail has lots to see.  If you have more time, there are also longer trails nearby.  During the raining season many types of mushrooms grow, some of which are deadly if eaten.

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Baby mushrooms just coming up

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Large mushrooms, some are up to 5 inches across

At Stump Beach, there is a parking lot, picnic tables and trails.  Our favorite trail is down to Stump Beach itself.  This is not an area to access the ocean but it is a beautiful place to look at the ocean.  Stump Beach has tremendous waves that can sneak onto the beautiful beach and quickly sweep you out to sea.  This is not a place to turn your back on the ocean!

From the beach is an easy trail to climb to the bluffs along the ocean.  In the spring this trail is filled with wild flowers.  In the fall and winter, it is filled with breathtaking ocean views of crashing waves. The last time we took this trail we were lucky enough to see a sea otter hauled out on the rocks below the bluffs. The trail can be followed back to the main parking areas at Salt Point State Park and down to Gerstle Cove which is often a great place to enter the ocean.

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Back at the outer edge of Gerstle Cove

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Walking trail from parking area near Gerstle Cove

It’s nice to think about these nice hikes and sunny days as I sit today watching another snow storm in Truckee.  This has been quite a winter. More snow in January 2017 than the average snowfall for a full season.  Unfortunately, we have not had an average snow season for over 5 years.  We have snow piled everywhere and they say to expect 1 foot to 3 feet more snow before the end of this weekend!  At least, for now, California is no longer in drought conditions. Yeah!  However, due to global climate change they say that we can expect more extreme weather patterns with long periods of drought followed by storms with erratic yearly patterns.  It has been over 10 years since we have had anything close to this much snow around the house.

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Digging our our friends car, late January 2017. Notice how high the snow is piled around the driveway! Still that high!

Until the next time – be adventurous and enjoy this short life! Vicki and Bob

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US National Parks blog to visit

If you haven’t already found this blog, please take a minute to look at the beautiful photos and information about United States National Parks.  The photos are exquisite and the writing about the visits is wonderful.  I highly recommend following it so you get their updates.  For now, here is a link to all the parks they plan to visit and each one with a photo instead of just a title is where they have already visited.  I usually go to the site and do one park a day when I want to ‘arm chair travel’.  I just started following this blog when they were at Glacier Bay National Park .   Hope you like this blog as much as I do!

The Greatest Road Trip blog link.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!  We are blessed with health, friends and family and hope you have many blessings too.

Below are a couple of pictures to inspire your journeys to US National Parks:

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Grand Canyon National Park

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Mt. Lassen at Lassen Volcano National Park

Grand Canyon picture is from a 2015 trip that I should write up for you.  The Mt. Lassen picture is from the Highway 89 road trip posts.

Until the next time – be adventurous and enjoy this short life! Vicki and Bob

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Fall Roadtrip..Crater Lake, Klamath Falls and home

We slept in and then left Medford via Oregon Hyw 62 to Crater Lake.  The storm had brought in rains and winds but we decided to keep our plans to go to Crater Lake and then over to Klamath Falls for the night. Off we went towards Crater Lake with the big Pacific Northwest Storm making itself known.  But we had some beautiful trees on the way!

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The vibrant red just doesn’t show up with the rain

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Beautiful color contrasts

We stopped at a Rouge River trail and scenic overlook to see and hear the power of the flowing river.

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The beautiful river

As we were enjoying the beautiful autumn colors of all the trees, I spotted a car coming towards us with snow on the roof.  The outside temperature was about 48 so we assumed it must have snowed overnight at Crater Lake. As we continued on, snow was along side the road.  Then as we got to the Visitors Center it was snowing, heavily!  Snow was not a problem for our Subaru but surprised us. Luckily, the park service does plow part of the roads and will open up more roads after a storm has passed.

Most of the park roads were closed due to the snow. But they were plowing the road from the Steel Visitors Center to the Rim Village and Crater Lake Lodge which normally have spectacular views of Crater Lake.

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Our disappointing view at the Rim atop Crater Lake

We saw a flyer for this Historic Hotel and may give it a try next time we go to Crater Lake from Oregon. If you want to see some beautiful photos and information about Crater Lake check out this site.

We stopped into the Rim Visitors Center, Store and Cafe and drove past the Crater Lake Lodge which was open but very quiet. Luckily we had been to the lake in summer about 20 years ago, but we will be back! We drove out of the park and headed towards Klamath Falls, Oregon.

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Beautiful fall foliage

 

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Looking out at the beautiful sky & pasture land on the way to Klamath Falls

Klamath Falls was not nearly as busy as the town I remember from my Southern Pacific days visiting there for work.  But the Klamath upper and lower lakes are very pretty and we had a great dinner at the local pub, Klamath Basin Brewing Company.  Best fries I can remember and great Rib Platter and many good beers on tap.  Bob really liked their Notch Eight IPA, I was driving.

Leaving Klamath Falls until we reached I5, we had some rain, but also some beautiful views.

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Rainbows along Highway 62 heading toward I5

Our trip home was long with terrible weather from Weed, CA until we got down to Corning on I5.  The storm hit northern California and we had lots of wind and rain.  Three big rigs jack-knifed on the windy I5 it what seemed like 25 miles.  It was evident that some of the trucks were going way to fast for that weather.  Originally, we had thought about extending the trip from Klamath Falls either by staying in Shasta City or going over to the California coast but the weather deterred us, so we carried on home.

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So much rain!

Well, sadly all good trips must come to an end so you can take time to plan another one! Also, I need time to finish the Galapagos Island posts.

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Fall Roadtrip..Burney Falls, CA

A beautiful morning, had a quick breakfast at our motel. Then headed back to Hyw 89 North to Burney Falls State Park.  We heard about this from our good friends that passed thru this region as they completed the Pacific Crest Trail this year.
First, we drove out to Lake Britton which is part of the park. Beautiful tree lined lake, so quiet now.  But you could imagine it packed during summer. We loved the stillness and watching the fish jump in the lake.

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Lake Britton, large side

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Lake Britton, opposite the boat docks

Next, Burney Falls. ..Unbelievable; the beauty, full and powerful sound of the falls!

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Location Map

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Burney Falls details

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Bob and Vicki, picture from the overlook

We walked from the lookout point to the loop trail down to the falls.

Then, across the bridge to up above the falls where we saw some fisherman. What a gorgeous walk for an early morning.

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The falls thru the trees near the top of the loop trail

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The stream, just above the falls

We followed Hwy 89 North to Shasta City.

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Mt. Shasta from Hwy 89

We have driven Hwy 5 many times to Shasta Lake and beyond but had never stopped in the town of Shasta Lake. What a nice town, vibrant yet quaint.   We had even better views of Mt. Shasta which stands at 14,752 ft.

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Mt. Shasta from Town of Mt.Shasta

Finally,  had to get on Hyw 5 to make it to Oregon.  Very different landscape near Weed, CA. Reminds me of coming into Southern Spain thru the mountains towards Malagra.

We stopped in Ashland, OR to walk thru Lithia Park, around downtown and to peek into the Shakespeare Theater. We had attended a few performances there when our daughter was in High School.  Unfortunately, we had not made reservations ahead so we just enjoyed the town.

From there we drove the back roads to Jacksonville and Medford. Everywhere you looked, the trees were putting on a display of colors. Beautiful country with vineyards and small farms. We forgot to take pictures in Jacksonville,  but it is so cute and walking friendly that I recommend everyone plan a visit there.

Stayed in Medford, OR for two nights.  Tomorrow, off the visit our friends in Applegate Valley near Jacksonville.

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Fall Roadtrip..Hwy 89 North

Beautiful Highway 89 North from Truckee, CA.  We left Truckee searching for beautiful fall colors and new destinations for us.  Driving north towards Hobart Mills, thru the small cattle town of Sierraville, on to Graeale a golfers retreat, Quincy and Keddie. We had been this far in the past.

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Small creek from Lake Almanor heading to the Feather River along Hyw 89

 

We continued on to Lake Almanor. A large lake with many access points and looks like it will require a return visit for kayaking next spring.

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Lake Almanor near the dam.  A much larger lake than we expected.
Onward on Hwy 89, to the Scenic Volcano Legacy highway which leads into and out of Lassen Volcano National Park.

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First view of Mt. Lassen in the background

Starting at the Kohm Yah-mah-nee Visitors Center we oriented ourselves and set out to explore the park.

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First stop,  ‘Sulphur Works’ to see the boiling mud pots which were very close to the road. Prior to the 1952 purchase of this area from the Supan family it had been a bathhouse and dining hall since 1865.

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The Supan family operated a resort and dining hall

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A sulfuric mud pot

We had a picnic at Lake Helen which is at the base of Lassen Peak.

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Lake Helen

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Lake Helen with Mt. Lassen in the background

Next stop was the Bumpass Hell parking area, overlook and trailhead. The trail is about 1.5 miles down to a great boardwalk thru the geothermal area. Then, be prepared for 1.5 miles back up, but well worth the hike. You may notice the altitude as the trail starts at 8,000 feet.

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Trail view over Lassen Park

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Beautiful stream, looking down from the trail

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The mountains seem to go on forever

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Looking down to see Bumpass Hell boardwalks

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Making our way down to the boardwalks

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One of the boiling pots

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On the boardwalks

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A large hydro thermal pool

We stopped at various view points on the 32 mile road thru the park.

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Sun streaming in

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More views of the park

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Lassen Peak trail, see it?

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Traditional Mt. Lassen shot with the snow

Our last areas were called ‘Devastated Area’  and ‘Chaos Crags’ and ‘Jumbles’ which helped to show the power of the volcanic eruptions in the 1800’s and 1914!

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Moon over Chaos Craig Mountain area

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Jumbles Scenic pullout –  rocks piled up to 300 ft deep, rocks were blasted out of mountain at 100 MPH during the eruptions in 1914 and 1915

A beautiful park which definitely needs more exploration and hiking. We didn’t realize that we could have downloaded an audio guide to all the points of interest before we went to the park.  Most of the part did not have cell service.  Go here to download the audio guide to your phone before going to Lassen Volcano National Park.

We continued north on Hwy 89 along the beautiful Hat Creek and it’s watershed area.  We turned onto Hwy 299 to spend the night at Burney, CA before we will continue north on Hwy 89.

Mostly an RV town with a few hotels.  We stayed at the Charms Motor Lodge which was basic but clean, remodeled and good for the night. Tomorrow, we visit Burney Falls.