Friday, September 20, 2013

Klamath River

September 16 - 19, 2013;

Three Casino's in a row was enough for us (losers), but we easily could have gone on, they are lined up along the northern California coast.  So, for a break we booked a week at the Klamath River RV Park as they offer the 50% off Passport America rate every day.  

The drive there was uneventful, route 101 north from Blue Lake to Klamath was mostly 2 lane highway except for a couple of mountainous areas and was an easy scenic drive through heavily forested land.  We passed a herd of Elk in front of a roadside Motel along the way that was causing quite a traffic disturbance.  We arrived at the Klamath River RV Park around noon, got set up and then explored the area. The campground is right on the Klamath River and is pretty much full with fisherman. The Salmon are running now but they aren't coming up the Klamath River as heavy as normal due to a large sand bar built up at the mouth of the river.  We found a road to a viewpoint, the Klamath River Overlook, that is high up above the Ocean and the mouth of the Klamath River that is an amazing view.  There is a coastal hiking trail there that we will come back to for sure, it follows the coastline for miles and miles.  The town of Klamath is the stronghold of the Yorok Indian tribe, they have a Casino under construction, everything in the town seems to related to the tribe. There is not much to Klamath, a couple of small places to eat, a combination gas station, convenience store and Casino.  It's going to be another scenic, rocky, lush, foggy, Redwood forest, California coast week for us. 

We felt bad parked next to this little guy, since about six people were in it

View of the Klamath River from the campground

View from the Klamath Overlook

The Klamath River RV Park is located on Klamath Beach Road which leads to a vista observation point where you can park.  We parked there , then walked down the hill to a trail that leads to the Klamath Beach.  You can also park along the road near the trail if you have a normal sized truck.  The beach is where the Klamath River empties into the ocean and the fisherman are lined up along the river.  The Salmon are coming from the ocean going upstream into the river at this narrow point.  The fisherman have competition from really professional fisherman, the Sea Lions, the Sea Gulls and Pelicans.  It is a bit crazy, Salmon can be seen in the water, the Sea Lions are in a feeding frenzy and the Gulls and Pelicans are looking for leftovers along with buzzards circling overhead. The fisherman and fisherwomen are lined up along the sand banks catching a few, but far less than the wildlife.  These Salmon are huge though, what incredible fish they are.  We watched this wild show for a long time until it started to get depressing, it's sort of like watching a massacre.  It has not been considered a good year to this point, 12,000 Salmon have been harvested (as they say) to date out of a 40,000 fish quota.  

Walking out onto the Klamath beach

They are lined up trying to hook a Salmon

This Sea Lion has a nice one

Another Sea Lion tries to move in on the catch

Salmon getting netted

We then returned to the Klamath River Overlook, parked and took the "Coastal Trail" to a spur trail that switchbacks 1/2 mile steeply downhill to a observation deck.  The view was amazing, then we had to go the 1/2 mile back uphill (not so great) to the main trail and then we did about another mile north on the "Coastal Trail". 

View from the observation deck

Waves were pounding the rocks below

Wednesday was a trip north along Route 101 to Crescent City and then east on route 199 to Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park.  We stopped at the visitors Center, watched the inspirational film then drove to the "Stout Grove" trailhead for a 1/2 mile loop trail and then continued for another mile on the "River Trail".  The Stout Grove is beautiful and has some of the largest Redwoods in the park and as my mothers maiden name is Stout, I had to go there. Also of note, scenes from the movie Starwars: Return of the Jedi were filmed in the Stout Grove.  Afterwards we stopped at a cafe a couple miles away on route 199 for a late lunch.  The lunch was just OK, but then we split a homemade three berry cobbler desert that was  fantastic.  We then drove to a Smith River access area and went down to the river's edge, the water was so clear and aqua blue.  On the way back we stopped in Crescent City at the Battery Point Lighthouse and then drove along the scenic Crescent City beach area with its many rocks and tidal pools.  It was low tide and we walked out and searched the tidal pools finding many colorful starfish, snails and crabs.

Twinkles in front of a Redwood at Stout Grove

And another big tree

The crystal clear water of the Smith River

Starfish in tidal pool

Battery Point Lighthouse in Crescent City

Starfish in tidal pool at Crescent City beach

It occurred to us the other day that we have hardly used air conditioning this year.  Fall is now setting in, getting cold at night, the heating time is fast approaching, need to head south soon.  This campground's power grid is marginal at best, every morning and again in the evening our Surge Guard starts to shut off power to the RV due to low voltage, something around 105 Volts.  It starts to cycle power off and on over and over which I believe is very bad.  So, I have been switching the refrigerator over to gas and putting the Surge Guard into bypass.  I believe during these times people are cooking, using microwaves, coffee pots appliances.

Thursday is another solo (marriage saving) day for me and I'm off for the "Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park" 10 miles south.  It's another in a whole string of amazing State and Federal Redwood Parks along the California coast.  I went to the "Big Tree Trail" which is a very short trail that takes you to to a very big tree, as advertised.  Then I stopped at another short trail that takes you to the "Corkscrew Tree".  These busy, well worn trails are great for those short on time, but if you really want to get a feel for the forest, you need to go for a longer hike away from the crowds into a more remote area.  I ended up going to "Fern Canyon" which is a wondrous canyon with vertical rock walls covered with ferns dripping with water.  Interestingly, the canyon was partially formed by gold miners using hydraulic (high pressure water) methods to mine gold from the river sides.  You have to climb over fallen trees and slog through the cold stream to negotiate the trail and it was dark, mysterious and even a bit scary.  There are warning signs advising not to approach the Elk, the males are rutting and rather testy this time of year, can be aggressive.  The trailhead is adjacent to a beach area and I did see a couple of Bull Elk out there grazing, I left them alone. 

Lush Ferns along trail in Prairie Creek Redlands Park

Watch out for the Elk !

The lichen in the trees is amazingly thick

Big Diamond, the Elephant's final resting place

Fern Canyon Trail view

A big bull Elk near the beach

I feel that this place is sort of wasted on us as we aren't fishing, boating and we haven't even eaten any Salmon yet ? 

The voyage of enlightenment continues;
Twinkles and Slick

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