Monday, April 10, 2006

Almost Finished Traveling

We're now on the final leg of our travels before settling into our summer job in Montana. Leaving Gilroy we managed to transit the San Francisco Bay area without incident and spend a forgettable night at an overpriced KOA campground in Willits. Heading north, we entered giant redwood country on highway 101; lots of hills, twists, turns, rivers, and beautiful scenery. We arrived in Klamath in the rain and pulled into an RV park on the river. The first thing we noticed in the office was the water mark three feet above the floor; it turns out the entire area was flooded in December and they were still rebuilding. We were one of only four RVs there, so we were led to a good spot on solid ground. From there we explored Klamath, which is a small town, mostly populated by Yurok Indians, where the people rely on commercial and sport salmon fishing. You may have read of the dispute between farmers of the Klamath Valley who need the water for agriculture and the Yurok tribe which needs the unrestricted flow of water to allow salmon to return to the streams and spawn. Due to a combination of factors, the commercial fishery will be pretty much closed this year, so a lot of the local economy will be affected. Economics aside, the area is beautiful and we enjoyed exploring both the coast and the redwood forests. An interesting discovery while driving a dirt road along the coast was a WWII coastal radar site disguised as a farm. The buildings have been restored to their original condition, although the radar and machine guns have been removed and the buildings sealed. The coastline here is noteworthy for its rocky coastline and numerous rivers that flow from the mountains. We enjoyed walking the beach and watched this fisherman working hard to get his bait out beyond the first line of breakers. Off in the distance, the mountains still were getting snow. Hiking the trails through the redwoods, surrounded by huge trees and dense ferns, with mist and rain, was an incredible, almost surreal experience. It's impossible to take a picture which accurately portrays the size of these huge trees; they're just too large. Although not quite as big as their giant sequoia cousins in girth, they are often taller. There are redwood "groves" designated throughout the area, and we especially enjoyed the Stout Grove outside of Crescent City.
We had an opportunity to see elk throughout the area, and one night were surprised to see a mountain lion feeding on an elk carcass in a field; unfortunately, I wasn't quick enough to get a picture before he ambled off into the woods. At Winchester Bay, another picturesque seaport, we watched Killer Whales play offshore and went to sleep to the crash of waves against the breakwall. Beautiful scenery, wildlife, huge trees, and great seafood make this an area we're sure to return to again. For now, we're in Spokane getting ready to leave for Montana. Thanks for checking on us & please stay in touch!

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