Amongst the California giants

Amongst the California giants

As part of our adventures here in the banana belt we decided to take a quick day-trip south of the border to see the sights in Crescent City. I was in two minds about this trip, not because I didn’t think it would be great, but because we were crossing into CA which means the beginning of CA-crazy dog restrictions. Having just spent 3 months on the inviting OR coast where I can take my dog everywhere and on every trail, it crushed me to hear that none of the three State Parks in Crescent City allow dogs on any of their trails. NONE! You can drive your car through the woods, bike & hike and even take your horse (!) there, but there’s not a single darn paw-friendly trail in the entire place. Seriously? Bah, humbug!

But there was light at the end of the island, so to speak. Battery Point Lighthouse is only open week-ends this time of year, but I called ahead and was able to snag a private tour at low tide mid-week. Score! So, with that juicy little treat to spur us on we left Polly at home and headed into the kingdom of California.

Battery Point Lighthouse

Lovely Battery Point Lighthouse

Lovely Battery Point Lighthouse

Paul poses by the funky 5th order lens

Paul poses by the funky 5th order lens

Battery Point Lighthouse is one of the older lights on the West Coast. She sprung into life in 1856 spurred by the gold rush, as many things were out here. Erected on a tiny islet right off the coast she was built for a mere $15,000 and can only be reached at low tide. Her pretty little Cape Cod Style house and cute tower-top light are now county-owned, but she still beams out to sea and (probably the coolest part of the lot) she still has lighthouse keepers! They are volunteers who live IN the historic lighthouse and give tours throughout the summer. What a sweet job, eh? Sadly no pets allowed otherwise Paul and I would be all over that job like cats on nepeta cataria (Google it, baby). The interior of the building is still in period style and the lens tower requires a tight squeeze through a little hatch (fun stuff). Our private tour was excellent and well worth the $3 to go. A must see, folks!

P.S. Dogs are allowed on the pebble beach by the parking lot, but are not allowed on the lighthouse island.

The Northern Redwoods

The towering red giants of Jedadiah Smith Redwoods State Park

The towering red giants of Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park

They are fine, old giants. Some of them reach 2,000 years old and 360 feet in height. Their delicate roots thrive in the moist, coastal climate between southern Oregon & San Francisco where they form lines of dense forests. They are the coastal redwoods (sequoia sempervirens), towering red beings, heavy in forest scent. Going into these places is like entering another world…silent, meditative and awe-inspiring. The trees envelop you, filtering out the light and drawing you into their lonely presence. Oh, what a place! Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park covers the northern-most of the CA redwoods and is probably the least developed giving visitors the chance to see old-growth forest without too many people. We took the most popular driving tour through the park, stopping for a short hike at Stout Grove (home of the Ewoks no less). A fine trip, but we sure wish Polly could have been with us.

P.S. Dogs are allowed on park roads, but not on any of the trails. They may not be left unattended in cars.

That wraps up our stay on the Coast. It’s been a wonderful summer, but we’ve seen our last sunset and we’re ready for the mountains. Fall colors, here we come…

Goodbye Oregon Coast...we'll see you soon

“Look, Polly, it’s our very last Oregon coast sunset”…at least until next year

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58 Responses to A Walk Amongst Lighthouses & Giants – Crescent City, CA

  1. Rowanova says:

    What an amazing four months it’s been for you! Vicariously I’ve been there too, thanks to your blogging. Autumn is my favorite season so I’ll continue hitching a ride long your journey.

    • libertatemamo says:

      We’re hoping we get to see some good colors. It’s always tough to time it right. Some seasons the colors peak earlier than others.

      • Rowanova says:

        The fall colors are just now starting to look quite amazing in the mountains here in WA state. A bit later than usual this year. So I’ll hope its similar where you’ll be tesvelling so you can hit prine time. Of course, that means I, and numerous others, will be hitting vicarious prime time.

  2. flyfishnevada says:

    Crescent City is great, isn’t it? We rented the red house just down the beach from the light house for a week a few years back. It was so much fun and on the 4th of July, half of Northern California was on that beach shooting off fireworks over the ocean. The parks (despite the no dog policy) were great. When we finally get the urchins out of the house and we embark on our own RV adventures, driving down the coast is on our to do list.

    Hope we can hook up on your way down 395 😉 Have fun and stay safe.

    • libertatemamo says:

      Just sent you an e-mail with our schedule. We may be going fast through Mammoth, but would love to meet you if the timing works out.

  3. Sue says:

    Ok, so now my NEW favorite picture is the last one of Paul and Polly…

    Keep on enjoying!

  4. Marilyn & Jim Cameron says:

    Nina, the last picture is the best! It truly says the most of what you…all three of you… have enjoyed and experienced.
    Stay safe and enjoy the next chapter down the road.
    Marilyn & Jim and, of course, Chester

  5. Ralph says:

    When I was stationed in the Eureka, CA area years ago….I spent many days hiking thru the Redwoods. No matter how many times I see them…I’m still in awe.. of their size and beauty!

    • libertatemamo says:

      When we were living in San Francisco we often did the same thing in the redwoods just north of the city. I totally agree that there is something magical about these trees. Makes for some unique hiking!

  6. Jil says:

    Bummer about the no dog policy…. Great photo of Paul and Polly…bummer we won’t be meeting up with you on 395:(

  7. Lu Ann says:

    Fantastic – my DH and I are living through your travels! We have only been to Oregon once, but FELL IN LOVE WITH IT! Travel safe and we look forward to each and every email!

    • libertatemamo says:

      I’m very happy to have you along for the ride on the blog. Hope to give you some good fall shots these next 2 weeks!

  8. I can appreciate your frustration in not being allowed to take your four-footed friend with you everywhere you go. However, unfortunately I suspect CA in particular has an especially high number of visitors who don’t think leash laws apply to them. As hikers, we get equally frustrated by dog owners who let their dog run loose on trails clearly posted “Dogs on Leash Only”. A family lost their dog this past summer when they let him off leash at Punchbowl Falls on the Eagle Creek Trail in the Columbia River Gorge, and it fell off the cliff to it’s death. That trail also has sheer drop offs along the way. Prohibiting dogs also protects the wildlife from being disturbed.

    • libertatemamo says:

      I’m all ok with leash laws, but don’t understand a park that allows horses on some of the trails yet has none (not a single one) that allows dogs. We humans interfere with the wildlife too. The trail restrictions are one of the main reasons we’ve never stayed at a CA State Park.

      To each their own. Thankfully there are other spots I can go with pooch including BLM and NFS :)


  9. Diana says:

    LOVE the last picture – adorable!

  10. Caroline says:

    As the above poster wrote, I think the no dogs allowed could be because their owners can’t follow the rules.

    • libertatemamo says:

      I tend to think it’s just CA. They have more restrictive dog rules than just about any state I’ve travelled, especially on the coast. It’s a shame IMHO. I find it funny that I can walk the beach with my dog in OR, cross the state line, still be on the exact same beach and yet not be allowed to continue.

      • We also lived in the SF Bay Area for many years. We had a Golden Retriever who would go nuts when she got a whiff of the salt air. We never found intrusive dog rules when we went to the beach (San Mateo Co.)
        I suspect that the reason long stretches of the OR coast are closed seasonally for Snowy Plover nesting is not to keep people out, so much as their dogs, and in some areas those dang ATVs.

        • libertatemamo says:

          The restrictions that bother me are not related to the Snowy Plover. Case in point San Diego and surrounding areas. There are (thankfully) many places you can take your dog in San Diego, if you know where to find them, but also large swathes of beach that are completely prohibited…all of Carlsbad, every single State Park/Beach (all of them), almost every single RV Park (except Mission Bay)…and these have nothing to do with nesting birds. It’s just the zany CA restrictions. You can work around them, but it’s figuring them out that’s the hard part.

  11. I’m not quite sure what the thinking is to allow horses and not dogs on a leash. Hiking on trails that allow horses is far more offensive. I can’t believe it is fine for horses to leave those huge loads behind but heaven forbid an owner doesn’t pick up after a dog! We’ve never seen an aggressive dog on any hike. As I said, not sure what the thinking is. Too bad Polly had to miss this adventure.

    Looked like a very nice private tour of the lighthouse. I am sure you two are quite the experts on lighthouse history at this point.

    Love the photo of Paul and Polly! Polly is listening so intently:)

    • libertatemamo says:

      I’m with you on this one. That was the thing that surprised me most. There were several nice long trails for horses in the redwoods, but not a single one for dogs. Very odd. Oh well, we enjoyed our trip anyway.

  12. The Best pic is of Polly and Paul, the models are so cute and the capture great!

  13. I’m sooo completely with you on the doggy discussion. I think the dog vs horse rule has to do with the fact that horses don’t eat meat. Love that picture of Paul and Polly! Wonderful capture. My favorite.

    • libertatemamo says:

      Could be I guess. Meat alters the poop. Still, nothing quite as appealing as big, steaming piles of horse poop on trails 😉 Even with that deterrent I’d be happy if I could walk my dog on the same trail. It would give me somewhere I could enjoy the area with my paws. ‘Twas not to be, I guess.

  14. I’m with you on the dog frustration too! We did find ONE trail where you can walk your dogs in the Redwoods – Cal Barrel Trail. We drove all the way there with the dogs, but then ended up leaving them in the car anyway because it was so muddy. Three sets of muddy dog feet was more than I cared to deal with!

    • libertatemamo says:

      Found it! Looks like that’s quite a bit further south in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. That’s in Humbolt County which was voted one of the 5 most dog-friendly spots in CA. I had read about that area and had it pinned on my map for the future, but hadn’t gotten around to doing any more research on it. If we ever do the coastal drive down 101 this will definitely be one of our stops. Cheers for the tip!

  15. Hmm, maybe we did that then once we moved parks – I’ve forgotten. That’s what I get for getting so behind on my blogging!

  16. Dave says:

    Oops, we left Bubba and Skruffy in the car as we did the Stout Grove stroll a little over a month ago. Weather was in the 70’s, they had water….don’t see what the big deal is, but it is California….they love to intrude. –Dave

    • libertatemamo says:

      Yeah, I saw the rule about no dogs in the car and it seemed a little extreme since the redwoods are typically quite shaded and cool. In the end it was easier for us to leave Polly at home.

  17. Dave says:

    Also….we went to the Redwoods in Oregon….no people, and no signs about no dogs from what I remember. You might want to check it out…the road up there makes you feel like you are “lost”, but once you get to the grove, it is pretty awesome. We could not go very far because Marcia’s GoGo Scooter wouldn’t have done very well along the trail. –Dave

    • libertatemamo says:

      Good point. One of my other blog commenters told me about a dog friendly hike on Oregon side of the redwoods. I’ve added it to “the list” for when we come back to the area. Seems like the OR side is much less visited which makes it the kind of place we like to go.

  18. Larry says:

    We had the opportunity to drive the northern CA coast about 15 years ago and I was in awe of the Redwoods. Having just traveled with four dogs, we experienced the same restrictions, especially in National Parks. I suspect the trail rules stem from hikers complaints about stepping in the deposits left by less responsible dog owners – it seems to only take a few to ruin it for others.

    • libertatemamo says:

      No doubt the actions of few affect the results of many. It’s often like that, sadly. I understand where some of the rules come from, but I still find it sad that there’s nowhere (at all) you can walk with your dog. It’s the same reason we rarely stay at National Parks. We love to do day-trips there, but we stay outside (usually in the National Forest) so that we have somewhere doggie can be and walk.

  19. Dave says:

    It is really too bad to have to say this,but the politics of California are what bring regulations to the banning of dogs. The more regulated the less freedom. It is quite a balancing act and I am afraid that Cali is way off kilter. Personally I won’t visit the place at all. It sure is a nice state too, but alas, there are many other great place to go and spend your money!

    • libertatemamo says:

      We lived in California for many years and still have a huge fondness for the place. So many beautiful spots, so much amazing nature. The coast has been heavily regulated (overly so in my opinion), but the more remote parts of the state (e.g. Eastern Sierras, SE desert) are still quite open and people/dog-friendly. I still love to visit, but it’s a bear to work and plan around many of the regulations.

      • Dave says:

        Correct, work is especially tough when you are a small business owner! I now am in a corporation but it still boggles the mind with the restrictions placed on those who actually make money and then put it back into the economy. I know your fondness for Cali but I will still stay in S.E Arizona on my travels and of course the midwest.

        • libertatemamo says:

          And I do understand too. Despite my fondness for nature in CA there’s a good reason we don’t live there anymore. It’s tough to make the finances work out. We love SE Arizona.

  20. Paul and Lorraine Hainsworth says:

    So how will the Government affect your travel plans now? We are leaving from Alberta in 2 weeks and had planned to boondock in Arizona, but I guess that is out of the question for the time being

    • libertatemamo says:

      We plan to boondock most of this coming month. The 14-day (free) boondocking areas are still open and you can disperse camp on undeveloped BLM and NFS land. You just can’t camp in developed campgrounds.

      In AZ, if you’re thinking of Quartzsite specifically the info I have is that the LTVA (long-term visitor) areas are currently closed, but the 14-day free areas are still open. So, most folks are camped out in the free areas until this shut-down ends. There are 5 of these free spots all around Q. If you plan on doing that you should be fine. This government shutdown can’t last forever :)


  21. Lacombe, Serge says:

    Thank for the notification… it finally worked. I have friends who are dog lovers and even if I do not share their passion I respect their choice.
    There is no valid reason to deprive animal lovers of their well behaved pets. Focusing legislation on dogs distracts attention from the real problem, which is irresponsible owners.
    However, dog owners should understand they must keep their four legged friends on leash at all time in order to respect others who do not share their passion for animals.

  22. Sue Malone says:

    So glad you had a chance to at least hang out in the redwoods for a bit, and sorry Polly couldn’t go. You have really educated me about lighthouses, and now I have to go tour them whenever I get back to the coast. So great to meet you, Nina, and Paul, and yes, I am getting a ton of hits! :) But none of these lovely comment conversations seem to be finding their way to my site. Loved having that conversation with you, it put it all in perspective!

    • libertatemamo says:

      It was a treat to meet you Sue, and I’ll be excited to follow your blog to FL this winter. Hope you get a couple more followers :)

  23. Sheila says:

    I can’ t believe they allow horses, but not dogs. That just stinks! Which animal would leave a bigger footprint?

    Beautiful photos; I love the last one of Polly and Paul. Enjoy your ride into the mountains!

  24. LuAnn says:

    Looking forward to your upcoming adventures in the Sierras. I absolutely adore that photo of Paul and Polly. :)

  25. Terry M in S FLA says:

    From a photography point of view, is it just me and my photo’s or is it just plain impossible to get a photo of the giant trees that do them justice. I’ve been trying for years and have been frustrated with the results. But I will keep trying. It gives me an excuse to hang out in the trees.

    • libertatemamo says:

      It’s really, really hard. I’m thinking a wide angle, a person or car for perspective plus multiple exposures (vertical panorama) may get you closer, but I wasn’t able to pull it off when we were there. Too much variance in the light and textures. I share your frustration!

  26. […] ← A Walk Amongst Lighthouses & Giants – Crescent City, CA […]

  27. Robert Nuttmann says:

    I volunteer at a CA State park in the mountains east of San Diego. Most of the trails allow horses and many allow bikes. Dogs are not allowed on any of the trails. I have asked a number of people to explain the logic and have not heard a good answer yet. Right next to our State Park is a very similar NFS park where dogs are allowed on all the trails.

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