Friday, August 24, 2012

Rocks to Redwoods - 23 August 2012

We have thoroughly enjoyed the Oregon coast road and today was a particular highlight as we meandered from bay to bay. We began the day with breakfast at Port Orford overlooking Battle Rock, rather reminiscent of Lion Rock at Piha.  Port Orford is rather a grand name for what is essentially a wharf onto which they lift all the fishing fleet each night.
There is clearly not sufficient shelter available for the boats as southerly winds can reach 120mph and occur around three times per winter. There are apparently 5 other harbours in the world where all the boats are lifted from the sea each day.

Port Orford also has an interesting wetland boardwalk through a marsh area that has been enhanced and now functions as a filter for stormwater run-off before it feeds into a lake.  It is well done and an interesting diversion.

Hwy 101 provides viewpoint after viewpoint, some beside the road, others down short side roads. Otter Point was a wild wind-swept landscape with erosion eating away at the cliffs and another sea-stack well on the way to completion by the relentless waves.

Sea-stacks are a feature of this section of the coast, providing great habitats for the seabirds.  Although the wind got fairly brisk early on, we were still able to pick out the occasional whale spout.

We walked all the way down to the Natural Bridges, hoping for a better photo angle than was provided by the easily accessible boardwalk; only to find that the track took you to the top of the bridge allowing access to walk across the two, if you so desired, but we were still well above sea-level and obviously it is rather hard to take a picture looking out to sea through the natural arches when you are standing on top of them.

Just as we approached the state border we could see the sea-fog forming offshore and billowing in across the land, obliterating views ahead.  It is amazing how localised this effect is here and it is a significant factor in the presence of the Redwoods as we learnt in the introduction video that the sea-fog supplies 50% of the redwoods' moisture for the year, even though 100 inches of rain fall in the winter.

All to soon we were over the border into California, until we arrived at the first petrol station and saw the price. A quick u-turn and we retreated to Oregon for petrol that we had previously considered too expensive; it was now an absolute bargain.

With the tank full, we set off to enjoy a fabulous drive through the Redwood State Park and then an easy interpretative walk amongst these forest giants.  They really are most impressive and we look forward to seeing more further down the coast tomorrow.

151 miles today, total trip 6500.  States: Oregon, California

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