Behind The Redwood Curtain

[A redwood grove.]  
Walking among the immense and majestic redwoods is an awe-inspiring experience.  

Just what is the redwood curtain, and how do you get behind it? To find out, we'll have to travel to northern California.

I have visited California several times, and I always thought San Francisco was northern California. But looking at a map, San Francisco is really closer to central California. There's a lot more to California as you head north from San Franciso—in fact, it's another 300 miles to the Oregon border! (That's "as the crow flies", the driving distance is even greater.)

Having been re-educated, I now understand that San Francisco is NOT northern California. As you head well north of the bay area on Route 101, the land becomes very rural, with farms and forests and widely-spaced small towns. After a while, you might notice signs saying that Route 101 is called the Redwood Highway, a hint of things to come.

As you travel into northern Mendocino County, Route 101 jogs westward, closer to the cool, moist, coastline, and begins following the south fork of the Eel River. You're now entering a completely different world, and have passed behind the redwood curtain. You're now fully screened from the fast pace of big, crowded cities, and are infinitely far from the high-tech wizards of Silicon Valley. The trees, mountains, and rivers repeatedly remind you of the majesty of nature.

Heading further north into Humboldt County, you enter the heart of redwood country. At one point, Route 101 narrows and winds its way through a dense grove of giant redwoods, magnificent trees that have been living for centuries. Even at high noon, the road darkens as you enter the dim, cathedral-like serenity of the redwood grove.

Northern California is full of such natural splendors—redwood groves, rivers and creeks, ocean beaches, rugged hills and mountains. In August 2003, I traveled with friends to Eureka, Fortuna, and Orleans in Northern California for two weeks of work and play, and got to enjoy some of the natural splendors. Even after two weeks, though, I had only a tantalizing taste of what the region has to offer.

I took several hundred pictures—way too much to upload to this web site! Therefore, I picked out 78 of my favorites which I organized into several categories, listed below. Feel free to browse. Since I only visited for two weeks, there's a lot I didn't see or photograph. For example, some of the towns had rather charming old houses, but I concentrated on nature photography during this trip. Also, I got to visit most places only once and had to accept the weather as it was—even if it wasn't ideal for picture-taking. I hope you enjoy looking at the pictures as much as I enjoyed taking them

Pictures of Northern California

Click on a link to go to a page of pictures. There are usually four to six pictures per page.

[Redwood grove]

Redwoods - No visit to Northern California would be complete without visiting the redwoods. This is the best place in the world to see them, and we saw lots of them.

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[Fern Canyon]

Fern Canyon - We also got to visit Fern Canyon, a unique natural feature along the seacoast in northern Humboldt County.

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[Orleans homesite]

Orleans homesite - We visited friends in Orleans, a rural hamlet in the wooded mountains near the eastern boundary of Humboldt County. They had a lovely secluded home overlooking the Klamath River.

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[Klamath River scenic view]

Klamath River - Soon after we arrived at the Orleans homesite, we all hiked down to the river to go swimming (or for me, wading and picture-taking).

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[Salmon River]

Salmon River - The next afternoon, we went to a swimming hole on the Salmon River, up in the mountains northeast of Orleans.

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[South jetty sunset]

South Jetty sunset - After returning to the coast, one evening, we watched the sunset from the South Jetty at the entrance to Humboldt Bay. In addition to sunset views, this location also provides access to a beach/dune ecosystem.

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[Moonstone Beach sunset]

Moonstone Beach - Another afternoon, we went to Moonstone Beach to look for moonstones. I didn't find any moonstones, but I found beautiful scenery, which is no surprise in Northern California.

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[Beach sunset]

Clam Beach sunset - Another evening, we watched the sunset from Clam Beach, which is south of Trinidad and Moonstone Beach. Moody and gray due to clouds, the sunset was beautiful nevertheless.

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[Beach scene]

Patricks Point - This state park, north of Trinidad, is the location of Agate Beach, where you can find wave-polished agates. Even if you don't find agates, you'll find beautiful scenery.

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[Garden rose]

Flowers and plants - I like taking flower pictures, and have gathered all the flower pictures here.

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[Dinosaur-bird sculpture]

Miscellaneous pictures - Here are a few odds and ends that didn't fit in any other category.

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Internet Links

State of California

State of California - official site of State of California

Local Counties

Humboldt County - official site of Humboldt County
Humboldt County - the county Convention and Visitor's Bureau
Humboldt County - local visitor's guide to Humboldt County
Humboldt County - general collection of internet links for Humboldt County
Mendocino County - official site of Mendocino County
Mendocino County - Alliance site, similar to a Chamber of Commerce
Mendocino County - Fort Bragg / Mendocino Coast Chamber of Commerce
Del Norte County - Chamber of Commerce, for the county north of Humboldt County
Trinity County - official site of Trinity County, east of Humboldt County
Trinity County - the county Chamber of Commerce
Siskiyou County - official site of Siskiyou County, northeast of Humboldt County
Siskiyou County - the county Visitors' Bureau

Local Cities (in alphabetical order)

Arcata - official site of City of Arcata
Arcata - "All Things Arcata"
Arcata - Chamber of Commerce
Eureka - official site of City of Eureka, which is the county seat of Humboldt County
Eureka - Chamber of Commerce
Ferndale - official site of City of Ferndale
Ferndale - Chamber of Commerce
Fortuna - general site about Fortuna
Fortuna - Chamber of Commerce
Garberville - Garberville/Redway Chamber of Commerce
McKinleyville - Chamber of Commerce
Orick - Chamber of Commerce
Orleans & Somes Bar - Chamber of Commerce
Trinidad - Chamber of Commerce and visitor's guide
Willits - Chamber of Commerce
Willow Creek - Chamber of Commerce

Travel and Tourism

California tourism - official tourism site for California
California recreation - major site with numerous recreational activities in the entire state
Redwood Coast - Chamber of Commerce for towns along the coast on Route 1
Pacific 101 - site covers the Pacific Coast Highway, including Route 101 in Northern California
Redwoods - tourism site for visiting the redwoods
Behind the Redwood Curtain - a travel site with articles by the former travel editor of the San Francisco Examiner
Humboldt adventure - short article with a few highlights from the author's visit to Humboldt County
Lost Coast - take an auto tour of the so-called "Lost Coast"

Parks and Nature

Redwood National Park - official site from the National Park Service
Redwood National Park - guide to the park (not the official site but a very thorough private organization's site)
Redwood National Park - private individual's site with many pictures
California Dept. of Parks & Recreation - this is the top-level site for the whole state
Humboldt Redwoods State Park - official site (this park is along the Avenue Of The Giants near Weott)
Humboldt Redwoods State Park - a private organization's site with more information
Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park - official site (this park is north of Orick, and is where Fern Canyon is located)
Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park - official site (this park is southwest of Eureka near Carlotta on the Van Duzen River)
Richardson Grove State Park - official site (this park is south of Benbow, Route 101 goes right through it)
Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park - official site (this park is near Crescent City)
Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park - official site (this park is in Del Norte County near Crescent City)
Fort Humboldt State Historic Park - oficial site (this park is in Eureka)
Humboldt Lagoons State Park - official site (this park is near Trinidad)
Little River State Beach - official site (this park is near Trinidad, just north of Clam Beach County Park)
Trinidad State Beach - official site (this park is just north of Trinidad)
Patricks Point State Park - official site (this park is north of Trinidad, and is where Agate Beach is located)
Sinkyone Wilderness State Park - official site (this park is along the northern coast of Mendocino County, the region that's so inaccessible it's called the "lost coast")
Humboldt Bay Wildlife Refuge - official site from the Fish and Wildlife Service
Bureau of Land Management - official site of the Arcata office
Mendocino National Forest - official site
Six Rivers National Forest - official site
Klamath National Forest - official site
Shasta-Trinity National Forest - official site
Eel River - "Wild and Scenic River" site
Trinity River - "Wild and Scenic River" site
Klamath River and Salmon River - "Wild and Scenic River" site
Redwood forest ecosystems - article by the World Wildlife Fund
Redwood trees - good source of detailed technical information (habitat, life cycle, etc.)
Elk herds - private individual's site about Roosevelt elks, which are found in the area
Marine species - excellent site giving detailed info on all marine species in California (from Dept. of Fish & Game)
California coastal geography - coastal geography of the entire state (government site)
Coastal dunes - information about the dunes along the area's coast
Local fossils - from the HSU Natural History Museum
Geology field trip - geology and fossil info for Humboldt County, from a geology professor
Earthquakes - info on recent earthquakes in California, from the U.S. Geological Service
Eureka weather - National Weather Service Forecast Office in Eureka
Offshore weather - National Ocean Service site to observe real-time weather for any station
Coast Pilot - official site to download a PDF version of the Coast Pilot (nautical information for the West Coast)

Educational Institutions

College of the Redwoods - located between Eureka and Loleta
Humboldt State University - part of the California State University system, located in Arcata
Montessori - "Michael Olaf Montessori Materials", located in Arcata


Fortuna - Google map for the Fortuna neighborhood
Eureka - Google map for the Eureka neighborhood
Orleans - Google map for the Orleans neighborhood
Bridgeville - Google map for the Bridgeville bridges
Rockefeller Forest - Google map for the Rockefeller redwood forest in Humboldt Redwoods State Park
Fern Canyon - Google map showing the location of Fern Canyon
Patricks Point - Google map showing the location of Patricks Point (and Agate Beach)
Salmon River - Google map showing the location of the swimming hole

Regional Media

The Arcata Eye - print newspaper from Arcata
Northcoast Journal - weekly newspaper for Humboldt County
KEET - public television from Eureka
KVIQ - CBS television from Eureka
KIEM - NBC television from Eureka
TV-29 - Fox television from Eureka


Wiyot Tribe - the Wiyot Indian Tribe at Table Bluff Reservation
Wiyot Tribe - another site about the Wiyot Tribe
Hoopa Valley Tribe - official site of the Hoopa Valley Indian Tribe
Yurok Tribe - Yurok Tribal Watershed restoration site
Humboldt County history - eclectic history of Humboldt County area, collected and published by a teacher many years ago
Humboldt County history - part two of the history site
Humboldt County history - links to pictures, drawings, charts from the history site
California State Historical Landmarks - those located in Humboldt County
Save The Redwoods - "tree hugger" projects to protect old-growth redwood forests
Northcoast Environmental Center - pro-environment news and information (located in Arcata)
Humboldt Redwood Company - the main logging company in the area
Solar Living Institute - a non-profit alternative energy educational institution (located in Hopland, south of Ukiah)
Real Goods - solar and alternative enery products and information (located in Hopland)
Alternative energy - interesting design guide and product catalog
The Alternative Energy Store - product information
Klamath River gold mining - gold mining information
Klamath River gold mining - interesting early history of gold mining and formation of Humboldt County
Salmon River gold panning - recreational gold panning on the Salmon River near Orleans
Loleta Cheese Factory - official site
Humboldt Transit Authority - public transportation in Humboldt County
The Palette - the arts in Humboldt County

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