June 8: Humboldt County
Gold Bluff Beach to RedwoodVisitor’s Center. 11.5 miles
This morning we got to meet Bert Taylor, Coastwalk’s Humboldt County coordinator, who has done so much to insure that our walk through this county will be pleasant and successful. With Bert was Rob Amerman, our hike leader for the day.
Soon we met Gene Logan of Orick and his partner Kim Thumler. Commercial fishermen, their license allows them to drive on the beach. Their pickup truck was parked at the surf line, and Gene was catching surf crabs with his surf net to be used as bait for surf perch. Gene’s license will die with him. The beaches in this area now being in park hands, he is allowed to continue fishing but he cannot sell or pass the license on to anyone else. One of his recent finds from this beach was a Chinese survey stake made of a plastic material. We have been told that the wind patterns which keep flotsam off shore are changing and that objects from out in the Pacific are now starting to wash ashore. Along with hockey gloves and Nike shoes from container ships and glass fishing floats from Japan, perhaps our beaches will be awash in Chinese property markers.
Within a mile of our fishermen, we left the beach and began the ascent to the ridge above. Cresting the ridge at 620 feet, we then descended into the Skunk Cabbage Creek drainage. For several miles, we passed through a previously logged area with the creek bottom filled with ferns – but nary a skunk cabbage. It was only as we reached the easterly end of the drainage that we encountered large numbers of the namesake plant.
Then it was time to meet what will occupy a small but rather intimidating part of our summer: U.S. 101 and Highway 1. Donning our orange safety vests, we went perhaps a mile before we could escape to the relative tranquility of the Redwood Creek levee. Coming down off the levee, we entered Orick, which must be the redwood burl and wooden wirlygig capitol of the world. Then it was back onto the levee for the final 3 miles or so to the Redwood Visitor’s Center.
At last we climbed into the van for the short trip to Prairie Creek State Park and our campsite for night. As at Gold Bluff Beach, we will again sleep with Roosevelt Elk close at hand. (Jon)