Northern California Coast

I drove up Highway 101 from San Francisco to Eureka where I stayed a few years ago. I wanted to hike through the Redwoods as well as enjoy the beautiful, rugged coastline. I took a slight detour and drove through Napa Valley because the weather was so nice. The two-lane roads were lined with vineyards and blossoms of all types. Everything was green and blooming. It was such a serene scene.

The Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California

A friend had told me about the beautiful beach at Trinidad, California so I stopped off to see what it looked like in the morning light. At first it was very cloudy and overcast but as I walked the beach scouting for locations to shoot some long exposures with the giant sea stacks it started to clear a bit. Trinidad State Beach is a stunning beach that is easily accessible. I spent three hours photographing the waves splashing the sea stacks and sea caves. I could have spent days here.

Sea Stacks on Trinidad State Beach in Humboldt County, California

The sky finally clears over the Sea Stacks on Trinidad State Beach in Humboldt County, California

Two miles south of Trinidad State Beach is an overlook to Luffenholtz Beach, another amazing beach covered with sea stacks. From the overlook you can see the beach below and the town of Trinidad off in the distance. I had lunch here and watched the waves crashing against the sea stacks. I met a young woman here who came over to the edge of the cliff to see what I was photographing. When I showed her the long exposure shots of the waves crashing she got very interested in watching how I was capturing the action. We talked while we waiting for perfect waves to crash into the sea stacks. It turns out that she had just returned to the States after living in Fiji for a number of years working at a resort. She was trying to figure out what to do next and we had a great talk about transitions and decisions. She was very bright and I’m sure she has a great future in store for her no matter what she decides to do. She was in Trinidad visiting a friend her sister was trying to fix her up with. It seemed an odd place to for her to come to make her life altering decisions but she said she found a lot of solace on beaches. I agreed.

Luffenholtz Beach in Humboldt County, Northern California

I’ve been enjoying listening to Robert Harris’ Cicero Trilogy on CD as I drive, especially on long drive days. The three books are Imperium, Conspirata and Dictator. Long trips are good for these sorts of novels. Robert Harris’ style reminds me of Mary Renault. My late husband and I always enjoyed her historical fiction especially her Alexander trilogy. The northern California coast reminds me of our drives along the Amalfi coast in Italy so at least there is some connection to the strange randomness of imagination conjuring up Italy.

Further north I pulled out to see Enderts Beach in the Redwood National Park. It is another beautiful beach.

Enderts Beach, Redwood National Park, California

I like photograph these northern California beaches with a neutral density filter and get long exposures. The contrast of the rocks and sea stacks against the smooth, white water is striking. I spent hours shooting waves and sea stacks using long exposures.

Northern California Coastline

I stopped for the night in Klamath, California and hiked along the beautiful Klamath river where the salmon used to be so plentiful. Klamath is a very small town but is surrounded by some fabulous scenery. As I drove up to the steep Klamath River Overlook to photograph the sunset I saw a California Condor. I wasn’t sure at first and then he flew directly overhead me and I saw his distinctive underneath. This was quite a thrill because it was totally unexpected. I had been looking for condors along Pacific Coast Highway where I had seen them last year but I only saw them circling overhead too far away to photograph. To see a condor this close was really something.

Because the weather didn’t cooperate and create a gorgeous sunset I had to settle with seeing two red foxes on the drive back down the overlook. That was a good trade off.

Sunset on High Bluff Beach near Klamath, California

Driving through the Redwoods National Park yielded a surprising sight. I didn’t know there were so many wild Roosevelt Elk here. I stopped to photograph this group of elk resting in a meadow and talked to a young student at nearby Humboldt State University in Arcata who was counting the elk and making notes for his work. He said there were quite a few in this northern California corridor and advised me to watch for them on the road.

Roosevelt Elk, Redwoods National Park, Northern California

Named after the former first lady, Lady Bird Johnson, these giant redwoods and Douglas fir trees are some of the most beautiful I have seen in Redwoods National Park. At the trailhead there is a photo of Lady Bird Johnson visiting the redwoods. I took this photo on the small wooden bridge over the road that leads to the trail.

Lady Bird Johnson Redwood Grove near Orick, California, Redwoods

Redwood tree trunk compared to the size of regular trees, Redwood National Park, Northern California

Father and son walking in the Lady Bird Johnson Redwood Grove, Northern California

There were so many beautiful wildflowers in bloom. I have to identify them all when I get home and have access to my plant books. But for now I’m calling the ones I don’t know the name of “wildflower.”

Pink Trillium (Trillium grandiflorum) in Lady Bird Johnson Redwood Grove, Redwood National Park, Northern California

Wildflowers, Redwood National Park, Northern California

Wildflowers, Redwood National Park, Northern California

Clover, Redwood National Park, Northern California

Wildflowers, Redwood National Park, Northern California

Wildflower, Redwood National Park, Northern California

Crescent City Battery Point Lighthouse, California

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2 Responses to Northern California Coast

  1. Teri Gray says:

    Diana, you constantly and consistently amaze me with you eye for catching God’s majestic creation on film. Always breathtaking, beautiful, and always touching my soul. Thank you!♡

    Teri Gray

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