Monday, October 27, 2014

Northern California's Coastal Wonders

           Mention the California Coast and images of surfer-dudes, beach volleyball players and Santa Monica Pier sightseers come to mind.
           Fill your mind instead with starfish, seabirds, seals and sea lions, with surf crashing upon rocks and untamed shorelines.  How?  By visiting the Northern California coastline during September.

          Replace those rusty SoCal images with these shiny NoCal scenes.  Enjoy the following snapshots from the uncrowded seascapes between Point Arena and Crescent City.

Point Arena Lighthouse.
For a fee you can access this remote area
and walk the 145 steps to the Lighthouse Tower.

Walking the beach as the tide rolls in.
Manchester State Park,  Point Arena, CA.

A Harbor Seal watches us as we watch it swim and dive in
MacKerricher State Park near Fort Bragg.

A stormy day near Ferndale,  CA.

Pelagic Cormorants congregate on this surf-scoured rock
near Cape Mendocino, the westernmost point in
the contiguous United States.

Giant Green Sea Anemones on the beach near Crescent City.

Starfish cling to the rocks on a beach near Crescent City.
Unfortunately west coast starfish are experiencing massive die-offs.
Scientists don't know the cause but human activities are
suspected to be a factor.

If you want your footprints to be the only ones
on the beach, head to the Northern California
Coast during autumn.


  1. The word "Wow" seems like such an understated reaction to your stunning photos! You images would be worthy of being framed and mounted, and/or entered into a photo contest, especially the ones captioned as "Point Arena Lighthouse", and "A stormy day near Ferndale, CA", as well as the one of the Pelagic Cormorants congregating on a scoured rock.

    Thanks for inserting that tidbit about Mendocino Point being the westernmost point in the contiguous United States. I was unaware of that!

    Very enjoyable posting, Rita!


    1. Thanks for your kind words about the photographs, John. Again, I would have to say that the location has as much to do with the quality of these pictures as the photographer does!

      I didn't know that geographical fact about Cape Mendocino either. (Actually the official name of the point is Cape Mendocino and I've corrected it on the blog.) We thought there might be a small town on the point, but Cape Mendocino is only a marker on the ground, describing the lighthouse that used to be there.

      On this trip we were surprised, and also delighted, by how wild and undeveloped the northern California coast is. I highly recommend a visit!

  2. Hi Rita,

    Wow - you really got to see the best of Northern California when you were there. What beautiful images! I love the tide pool photos - such strange creatures whose whole lives are spent clinging to a small area of rocks.

    And, speaking of "strange creatures," it's lovely to see your Halloween Jack O'lanterns photo again!! Spooky and fabulous. :)

    Did you get to do much hiking near the shore?

    1. Hi Vicki,

      Tim and I took several long walks on the beach, but not on any official trails. One trail which we heard about, but didn't get the chance to hike, is in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. It's a seven mile trail that passes through a Redwood Grove then descends to the ocean and back. Supposedly that Redwood Grove is the closest one to the ocean on the entire California Coast. Maybe next time!
      Even though we didn't hike that trail, we certainly saw a lot of gorgeous coastal scenery—all worthy of a "Best of Northern California" anthology!

      Thanks for mentioning the Halloween header. That composite photo of our jack-o-lantern pumpkins (most of which we grew ourselves) is one of my favorites! Happy Halloween!

  3. Rita, your words wonderfully capture one of my favorite places in the world. During the many years I lived in Carson City, NV, I visited NoCal often. Your words and photographs brought it all back to me this morning. Thank you so much.

    1. How wonderful to have lived so close to the NoCal coast—and to have taken advantage of your location. I'm envious, Janet!

      This was my first time to the northern California coast and, now that I've been there in autumn, I'd like to return to visit its wonders in every season.

      I'm happy to hear that this post brightened your morning!

  4. Beautiful pictures Rita, but that actually leaves one wanting for more, because I think there are a lot more picture possibilities there.

    And that Halloween Header!

    1. Yes, there were definitely more photo opportunities to be had, both of the coast and of the Pacific Ocean—it just means we'll have to go back there sometime! As I mentioned in my reply (above) I would love to experience every season in Northern California.

      As for the Halloween Header, we just love growing and carving pumpkins!

      Thanks for your comments!