Ep. 313: California's Redwood Coast | RV travel camping kayaking hiking

Ep. 313: California's Redwood Coast | RV travel camping kayaking hiking

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Hey friends, welcome back to Grand Adventure!  I'm your host Marc Guido, and we are on Northern California's  beautiful Redwood Coast! This is of course home to  Redwood National and State Parks, but there's a whole lot more to  see here than just giant trees. We're going to do some hiking along the shoreline. We'll do some kayaking. We'll check out some historical features, and even have an unplanned encounter  with a black bear that quite frankly, was more than a little  uncomfortable. So stay tuned! Most folks visit the Redwood Coast to  see the giant coastal redwood trees,   the tallest trees on Earth. They grow as high as 300 feet and some  are estimated to be over 1,500 years old.

Following extensive logging that nearly  deforested this area in the 19th century, remaining old growth groves are now preserved  as Redwood National and State Parks. We were last here five years ago  to film our early episode 53,   which we'll link to right here on the screen. While we spent most of our  2018 visit touring the parks, this time we wanted to see other things this  area has to offer -- and we found plenty! We're staying this time at Golden Bear  RV Park, right along the Klamath River a mile from where it empties into the Pacific. Nineteen waterfront full-hookup sites  like ours cost $65 per night in season, and $55 for the other 32 sites.

Good Sam and Passport America  discounts are available, as are weekly and monthly rates. Many guests are seasonal  fishermen, who we found to be friendly, helpful and sociable even  with transient visitors like us. Floating docks provide easy  access to the Klamath River.

This is a beautiful stretch of  northern California coastline, with many recreational opportunities to enjoy. Some 30 minutes north of our  campground, Crescent City -- the only incorporated town  within Del Norte County -- is home to a large commercial fishing fleet. Large jetties protect both the city and its  harbor from its susceptibility to tsunamis, which destroyed much of the town  following the Alaskan earthquakes of 1964. We had hoped to find sea lions and harbor  seals here in Crescent City Harbor, but we only spotted a few  at a considerable distance. The multiple units of Redwood  National & State Parks provide   extensive opportunities to go take a hike. Not all, however, are focused  on the parks' namesake trees.

I'm going to strike out today alone on a trail   leading to the aptly named  Hidden Beach at low tide, in search of sea life trapped in tidal pools. I would have loved to have brought Zoe along, but like most National Parks dogs  are not allowed on trails here, so Zoe is staying back at camp with Patricia. Well-worn driftwood lines much  of the shoreline in this area. The humid environment along  the Redwood Coast means that moss grows on all sides of the trees  around here, not just the north side. The brush, too, is impenetrably thick.

In summer, on most days the onshore flow  also leads to what's known as a marine layer, which envelops these hillsides in low clouds  and fog until early afternoon each day. I've  arrived  at Hidden Beach. The beauty of Hidden Beach is accentuated  today by the fact that I'm entirely alone here.

I've only passed two groups of two  hikers each heading the other way, and there's no one else at the  beach for my entire time here. Let's head off to these tidal pools at the  south end of the beach in search of sea life. I've found snails, anemones,  colorful barnacles and more. See if you can spot the well-camouflaged shrimp. It's hard to believe that the trail  I followed to get here is actually buried beneath that wall of green above the beach.

As enjoyable as my visit to Hidden Beach  has been, it's time to return to the truck. When we come back following a quick ad break,   we'll enjoy another unique  hike through famed Fern Canyon, one of the filming locations for  The Lost World: Jurassic Park. We'll also explore a uniquely disguised  World War II radar installation, do some kayaking along the Klamath River, and have an unnerving encounter with a  couple of black bears, so stay tuned! We've been joined in Klamath by our  Salt Lake City friends Dale and Pat, who are accompanying me today on a trip  to Fern Canyon and Gold Bluffs Beach. Both are located within the Prairie Creek Redwoods  State Park unit of Redwood National & State Parks. Fern Canyon is named for the extensive  ferns growing on its 50-foot walls, through which runs Home Creek.

Fern Canyon is recognized as a World Heritage  Site and an International Biosphere Reserve. The prehistoric ambience here was used as a   filming location for not only  the Jurassic Park franchise, but also BBC's Walking with Dinosaurs  and the IMAX film Dinosaurs Alive! The short one-mile loop trail heads straight  up the creek in the floor of the canyon before climbing its walls and returning to  the trailhead through the surrounding forest. Tiny Home Creek is the last  place I expected to spot fish, but we spied this tiny guy only about an  inch long keeping pace with the current.

This was a busy place during our  earlier visit five years ago. The parks, however,  have since instituted a limited parking permit system during the warmer months that has made visiting Fern Canyon  a much more pleasant experience. Immediately adjacent to Fern Canyon is the  delightfully natural Gold Bluffs Beach. The beach was named for gold  found here in the 1850s.

Fern Canyon and Gold Bluffs Beach  are reached via Davison Road, a narrow, twisting, dusty  seven-mile dirt and gravel road on which RVs over 24 feet and  trailers are justifiably prohibited. A National Parks Pass covers  the parking fee, otherwise $12. Tent campers, truck campers and  Class B camper vans may enjoy a   park campground right at Gold Bluffs Beach. On our way back to camp, we're going  to detour along the Coastal Loop, a short scenic drive located immediately  across the Klamath River from our campground. From the air, or even from here on the  road this apparent farmhouse and barn   alongside the Coastal Loop are not what they seem.

The concrete block walls are an indicator  of these buildings' true purpose. This was the Klamath River Radar Station B-71, a rare, surviving World War II  early-warning radar station. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor,   Japanese submarines shelled several  facilities along the U.S. West Coast, and a Japanese submarine-launched  aircraft dropped incendiary bombs   on Oregon forests roughly 40  miles north of the Klamath River.

This radar station was built in late 1942 and   early 1943 to protect the  northern California coast. The dormers are fake. If  you peer through the glass you'll see that there's nothing  in there but the roof shingles. The disguised farmhouse was the power station,  while the "barn" housed the facility's operations. They even integrated a fake hay hoist into the  barn's roof visible from the air or the road.

Buried in the brush surrounding  the structures were three .50   caliber machine guns on anti-aircraft  mounts, which protected the station. While exploring the station, we  heard some rustling in the brush. We've found ouselves in a bit of a predicament.

So I don't think we walked more than 50 yards to  get down here to check out these radar buildings and now we are separated from our truck trying to  get back by a mother black bear and her young cub. The cub has gone up a tree right alongside  the trail, and the sow is guarding that tree, growling and snarling at us to stay away. The brush is far too thick to exit this  area and return to our truck any other way. After waiting for 15 tense minutes or so, Mom  allowed her cub to climb down out of the tree, and the two sauntered down the trail towards  us before disappearing into the brush. Well that was exciting! It's always fun to go on a 100-yard walk  and have a bear cut you off from the trail. It was unbelievable! With her cub up the tree and  not gonna let us go past.

That stuff is so thick, there's  no other way back to the road. Nope, it was come back that way and  wait for her to get the cub down. And he came down and, and we gave her time. Apparently she was happy and let us not die. I was disappointed by the few sea lions  and harbor seals we found in Crescent City, but we've stumbled upon the mother lode at the  sand bar lining the mouth of the Klamath River. When we come back following another  quick ad break to pay the bills, we'll bring you along kayaking on  the Klamath River, so stay tuned! With our campsite right on the Klamath River, it's hard to resist the pull of the water.

But there's a decent current, so we've driven  five and a half miles upstream to Klamath Glen, where Dale, Pat and I are putting in the water  for an enjoyable paddle back to the campground. The entire Klamath area is  part of the Yurok Nation, the ancestral homelands of the largest  native reservation in California. The Klamath River is loaded with  Pacific salmon and steelhead, and the Yurok are permitted to continue their  traditional fishing methods using gill nets. Dale and Pat also bought the Advanced  Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible kayak that we picked up for ourselves this past spring,  and reviewed in Grand Adventure Episode 309. We'll put a link to that episode  right here on the screen if you'd   like to learn more about this capable inflatable, although Dale needs to pay  a bit more attention to the   pump's pressure gauge to achieve  adequate inflation next time.

<groan>  Thank you. So we truly hope that you've enjoyed visiting  the Redwood Coast of Northern California with us! If you liked this episode, please be sure  to give us a big "thumbs up" down below! And while you're down below that's  where you'll find the comments section, where we love to hear from you after each Grand  Adventure which we air every Wednesday evening. So if you're not yet a Grand Adventurer  yourself, now is the perfect time for you to go smash that little "subscribe" button   right down there in the lower  right-hand corner of your screen, and ring that notification bell to be sure  that you never miss a Grand Adventure. Coming up next week we're going to be  working our way further north along the coast to a marina right along the Oregon shoreline. We'd be truly honored if you shared the channel  with your friends, family, and on social media.

And until next Wednesday please remember, life is nothing but a Grand  Adventure! We'll see you then.

2023-07-06 01:17

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