From Crescent City to the Damnation Trail Trailhead: 12 miles

After meeting our guide for the morning,  Beverly Noll, we first walked the 2 miles or so along the waterfront in Crescent City.  Inland and across a street was a large park; a gift it seems to the City from the tsunami of 1964.  Looking several blocks inland we could see the Surf Hotel, a tsunami survivor.  Our trail first took us beside a silted in portion of the harbor  where man made changes to the natural ebb and flow of the tides and currents caused a build up of sand behind the breakwater.  Further on we passed the berthing area for Crescent City’s fishing fleet.

Leaving the city behind, we walked along the firm sands of Crescent Beach at low tide.  The wind and water had etched intricate patterns in the sand, disrupted occasionally by the stray pebble or crab shell.  After perhaps two miles, the trail leaves the beach and ascends through meadow and alder thicket and then fir forest to the Crescent Beach Overlook, where we could look back upon our entire morning.  On the way the trail passed a bear-shredded pine, the first three feet or bark strewn on the ground and deep claw marks on the newly exposed wood.  From the overlook we soon began the rise out of Nickel Creek known as Raggedy Ass Hill.  By our lunch break at the summit, the name fit well. 

Although at first you would never know it, the next section of the coast trail now follows the old Redwood Highway; soon patches of asphalt appeared, sometimes accompanied by remnants of the center line stripe.  The trail continues on a gentle descent through magnificent redwoods.  We reached the new US 101 and our day’s end at milepost 15.60.

Most of the crew quickly showered and returned to Crescent City in time to listen to the Del Norte High Spring Choral Concert.  Participating and also soloing was Katie Seward, our first day’s hike leader.

You might wonder how all of this information is getting posted.  Approaching midnight, we are writing and editing digital photos at the Redwood Hostel.  Last night we camped at Florence Keller County Park.  Power was supplied by a receptacle on the outside wall of a restroom.  I typed while sitting cross-legged in a parking lot; Linda Hanes edited photos with a second laptop perched upon a garbage can which was disguised as a redwood stump. (Jon)