Wednesday, June 6, 2012

KLAMATH, CA - BIG FOOT COUNTRY

After a somewhat tearful farewell to family, we headed west on CA 299… yeah, yeah…I know… it was supposed to be north per the last post… but geography dictated that we head west first. (Sheesh, give us a break here.)  The drive to the coast was absolutely stellar, blue skies, lush green landscape, fairly intact asphalt and virtually no traffic.  Once we got to the coast and Hwy 101 we headed NORTH! (Are you happy now?)

We arrived in Klamath, CA early afternoon and checked into the Klamath River RV Park. 
This park is a giant green resort situated right on the bank of the Klamath River.  Think lawns forever… beautiful landscaping and uber clean restrooms, laundry room and facilities.  Owners, Jack and Al were friendly and made us feel right at home.  Jack made sure we got the best river view spot in the park.  (Thanks Jack!) The camp hosts were also helpful and gracious. They have a list-o-rules that might put some folks off, like no large outdoor mats (harms the lawn) and they’ll eat your dog if you don’t clean up after it, (just kidding… they’ll actually eat the owner.) OK… truth… It’s a $75.00 fine for not picking up Fido’s do-do which is reasonable from our perspective.  They have Wi-Fi (albeit a tad slow) available at each site for a small fee.   It is also close to Hwy 101 and within a short distance to all of the sights of this northwestern corner of California. 

So for us with our short list of requirements:
1.     Clean facilities – check
2.     Friendly owners & staff – check
3.     Good location – check
Bonus:
1.     Gorgeous views - sweet
2.     Beautiful landscaping - sweet
3.     No dog shit to step in – extra sweet ;o)

So at this moment in time, this is perfect!

Just south of Klamath is the Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, 14,000 acres of coastal sanctuary for old-growth Coast Redwood trees.
The California Department of Parks and Recreation and the National Park Service jointly manage the Redwood National and State Parks. These parks (which includes Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park, Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park and Redwood National Park) have been collectively designated as a World Heritage Site and International Biosphere Reserve.  If you are constrained by time and finances, spend your time here!
The meadow along the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway, with its population of Roosevelt elk, is considered a centerpiece of the park, located near the information center and campground. Other popular sites in the park are Fern Canyon  and Gold Bluffs Beach.  Late spring brings a bounty of wildflowers, which we were fortunate to observe and photograph.  Click for photos.

Heading north toward Crescent City are numerous roadside attractions that must not be missed.  The Tour Thru Tree is one of three giant redwoods in California carved out  (some may say mutilated) to allow traffic to flow through.  Regardless, it was a kick (for a mere five bucks) to fold in Dave’s mirrors and slip through with bare millimeters to spare. Proof to the left- NOT PHOTOSHOPPED! Seriously, we are talking mini fractions of inches for those not versed in the metric system!

 You can’t miss the Trees of Mystery with the ginormous Paul Bunyan and his  anatomically correct blue ox Babe. This attraction is definitely worth a stop as it contains a number of unique tree formations, which instilled a fear of spirits in the early indigenous population- hence the name “Trees of Mystery.” Be sure to take the sky trail gondola (included with the admission price) that rises 571 feet to an observation deck for a spectacular view of the Pacific Ocean and surrounding forest. After spending a few hours basking in all this natural beauty, treat yourself to a bit (or a bunch) of the tasty fudge (OK,  it's not as good as Moni Vancamp's, but Moni only shares her fudge with friends, so if you are not a friend of Moni, this is the best fudge you can get.) in the gift shop.  And finally, allow enough time to explore The End of the Trail Museum, a large private collection of Native American art, crafts and tools. Click for photos.


 Be sure to stop by Paul’s Authentic Smoked Salmon shop and pick up some of the tastiest smoked salmon products on the west coast.  A half pound of the five-day smoked netted three meals for us – Breakfast: bagels with all the fixin’s, Light Supper: on crackers with soft cheeses and Dinner: tossed into Fettucini Alfredo with capers. YUM!
If time and budget allow, the Jet Boat Tour up the Klamath River is great.  The two-hour tour includes the estuary where seals lounge and seabirds do seabird stuff along the shore, and an occasional spout from a migrating whale can be seen past the breakwater. Up river we were treated to numerous blue heron, duck, geese, osprey and bald eagle sightings. Two highlights (which unfortunately we were unable to capture on film – you’ll just have to take our word for it) were: a normally nocturnal green heron quickly darting into the foliage and a young black bear running really fast away from the river. Of course the river, the backcountry and the high speed 360 degree turns are worth the price of admission.  One note, although we looked really hard, we did not see Bigfoot. (But I swear it felt like he or she was watching us.) Click for photos.
Crescent City is 20 miles north. Be sure to check out the Crescent lighthouse and Point St. George.  One pleasant surprise was some really tasty sushi at Sushi Kyu in the Safeway shopping center.  We understand that this is a relatively new addition to Crescent City's epicurean choices.  Other than waitstaff who have not been schooled in the unique flavors offered, we found, great ambiance, beautiful presentations, and creative "specials." The Dungeness roll and the Black Kitty roll are well worth the stop. 
Sushi Kyu on Urbanspoon

So now after a week in this slice of paradise, we will head farther north. (See still going north)


"How far North?"


"Just farther North."


"How does Gold Beach, OR Sound?"


"Works for me!"
k


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