Photo Essay: Northern California and Oregon

 

And so we drove. And drove, and drove. With long, tiring driving days and only a couple of nights for each stop, it was torture to not be on a time frame that allowed us to stay in some of these places for a week, two weeks…a lifetime.

The often mist-enshrouded Point Reyes National Seashore, just north of San Francisco was bright and sunny for our few days there and we were fortunate to have accommodation inside the park itself.

beach at Point Reyes National Park

© Quiet Wanderings. All photography by Cherina Hadley. Limantour Beach at Point Reyes National Seashore, California

 

Roosevelt Elk in Point Reyes National Park

© Quiet Wanderings. Tule Elk in Point Reyes National Seashore

 

A visit to Caspar in northern California turned out to be far to brief. We met Monica from Spirited Sisterhood and it was friendship at first sight! Or at least, at first creatively fueled conversation. As a fellow photographer, writer and traveler, she was a kindred spirit.

However brief, our stay was filled with delights: we hiked the Staircase Trail behind the Jug Handle Inn, gathered and devoured wild huckleberries by the handful, and wandered the cliffs above the Pacific photographing meadows and skies and waves in that magical light before the sun disappears.

 

Caspar, Northern California

© Quiet Wanderings. Caspar, northern California

 

Caspar, Northern California

© Quiet Wanderings. Caspar, Northern California

 

As we said our goodbyes, Monica suggested a couple of stops along the scenic drive up the California coast, one of which was a beach of glass.

What was once a dumping ground for the city of Fort Bragg’s rubbish is now, decades of pounding waves later, a beach of polished sea glass. Cars and household waste were dumped into the ocean – much of which included glass – now broken and worn down over time to become these small, smooth fragments of colour.

At low tide, layer upon layer of tiny pieces of coloured glass sparkle in the sunlight enticing a romantic like me to waste away the hours.

 

Glass Beach at Fort Bragg, Northern California

© Quiet Wanderings. Glass Beach at Fort Bragg, Northern California

 

 Glass Beach at Fort Bragg, northern California

© Quiet Wanderings. Glass Beach at Fort Bragg, northern California

 

Continuing further north…we meandered along the narrow and curvy Avenue of the Giants, a scenic highway through the giant old-growth Redwoods of Humboldt County, slowly making our way towards the tiny seaside town of Trinidad.

 

Northern California

© Quiet Wanderings. Northern California

 

Trinidad Memorial Lighthouse, northern California

© Quiet Wanderings. Trinidad Memorial Lighthouse, northern California

 

Trinidad, northern California

© Quiet Wanderings. Trinidad, northern California

 

Almost as soon as we crossed the indiscriminate border from California into Oregon the weather seemed to shift. A misty rain ensued and we drove through cloud and fog and sometimes both. There were times when the sea to our left was entirely invisible but, every now and then, it would appear.

 

Heceta Head Lighthouse, near Yachats, Oregon

© Quiet Wanderings. Heceta Head Lighthouse, near Yachats, Oregon.

 

We treated ourselves to some restful beach-side living in Cannon Beach on the northern Oregon coast. Of all the things to do in Oregon, exploring the miles of sandy beaches near Cannon Beach and the Ecola State Park has to be one of the most satisfying.

Being able to wake up and walk straight out onto the pristine beach at Haystack Rock in time for sunrise made for a pretty good start to the day.

An indoor Jacuzzi was an added bonus. Having avoided most of the larger towns and all cities on this trip, it was a nice change to wander through some of the art galleries and specialty stores in Cannon Beach.

 

 Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach, Oregon.

© Quiet Wanderings. Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach, Oregon.

 

Cannon Beach, Oregon.

© Quiet Wanderings. Cannon Beach, Oregon.

 

Our great American road trip has almost reached its end: from here we head to the final destination before my travel companion and I part ways and go on to different adventures.

Olympic National Park should be the perfect destination to end to what has been an amazing trip through the western states of the USA.

 

Highway 101

© Quiet Wanderings.

 

 

Have you done this drive along the Pacific Coast?

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About the Author
Author

Quiet Wanderings Cherina is the founder of the travel blog Quiet Wanderings and has been travelling the world off and on since 1998. She is a freelance travel writer and professional photographer who loves exploring new places and hopes to inspire others to travel through her writing and photography.

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