2017 Feb 15 – Day 44 – Eureka, CA to Crescent City, CA

We were to drive about 85 miles today.  Not very far at all because we wanted to check out Old Town in Eureka before we left and we were heading into the Redwoods National Forest on our way north.

Unfortunately we woke to overcast skies and drizzling rain.  It cleared up while we had breakfast and we had a nice walk around several of the blocks of the restored Victorian-era Old Town.  The buildings have been beautifully done and the entire city of Eureka is a State Historical Landmark.  I suspect the place is  bustling with tourists in the summer.img_8638 img_8642 img_8646img_8645img_8644 img_8649 img_8650 img_8651 img_8653 img_8655 img_8656 img_8657 img_8658 img_8663Eureka is a fishing seaport and is the largest coastal town between San Francisco, CA and Portland, OR.  It was a jump off point for the California goldrush – hence the name; ‘Eureka’ means ‘I found it,’ which is the California state motto.  But what really put Eureka on the map was timber.  When the frigate Frolic sunk off the northern California coast the redwood forests were ‘discovered’.  Of course the native peoples knew about the giant trees for thousands of years, but when Europeans saw the massive, tall, very straight trees logging operations and sawmills sprang up all along the coast.

A local artist single-handedly painted these lovely murals.  We were told there are more examples of his art around town as well.img_8659 img_8661 img_8665After we wandered past several blocks of beautiful buildings we headed north on Hwy 101.  We stopped for a walk to the ocean at Little River State Park.  With all the storms and slides there was tons of debris washed up on the beach. img_8667 img_8668 img_8671 img_8674And….the rain began.  We drove down a narrow road to see one of the three natural lagoons along this coast just north of Eureka.img_8682 img_8683 img_8686And….the rain got heavier.  We stopped at the Redwoods National Park Visitor’s Center to find out if we needed a pass to go off the highway and explore some of the overlooks or trails.  We didn’t, but we were told that the main scenic highway, the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway, through the park is closed due to a tree falling across the road.

We pulled into Elk Meadow to see some of the Roosevelt Elk that live in the park and there was one lone guy way in the back.  The zoom lens captured him not too badly.img_8687 img_8697And….the rain got heavier still.  We were told at the Visitor’s center to take the turn-off to the Newton B. Drury Parkway and drive as far as the Prairie Creek Visitor’s Center because there was a short trail behind the building that took you past some of the huge old growth Redwoods. Right beside the road on the way to the Visitor’s Center were these Elk, three on the left side of the road and one on the right.  They didn’t care that it was raining.img_8700 img_8701 img_8704Even though the rain was falling by the bucketful we decided to walk the short trail we had been told about by the Park Ranger.  With the high tree canopy protecting us it wasn’t very wet at all.img_8709 img_8711 img_8715img_8708Of course, we had to take a few more photos of the Elk on the way out.img_8719

img_8721 img_8723 img_8720And… the rain came down even harder, so the only other one of our planned routes or stops that we decided to do was the 4-mile Klamath Beach Road loop.  The views of the coast would be spectacular on a sunny day.  Today, not so much.img_8730 img_8735This was a WWII hidden radar tracking station.img_8731 img_8733On any other day we would have walked down the trail to inspect the fake house and barns, but we wimped out today.img_8738 img_8739 img_8741 img_8744Once we completed the loop we were 10 miles south of Crescent City; our stop for the night.  We bypassed all the scenic overlooks or trails we had planned to see and drove into town.  By 4:30 we were checked into our hotel and drying out and warming up in our room.  We had to plow through the puddles in the parking lot while getting drenched from above to go for dinner in the hotel restaurant but once we returned to our room it was time to turn up the heat and relax.

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