Monday, February 4, 2019

Salt Creek & Fort Ross - January 2019

please remember you can click on a photo to see a larger version & highlighted text are links to further information

The Old Salt Sea

What is it that keeps drawing us back to the rugged coast of Northern California?

It is the pulse like rhythm of the surf, a vital sign that our earth is alive - and we hope - still somewhat well. It is the vistas. It is the smell of salt water in the air and the cry of gulls. It is the story in the rocks and the remaining traces of history.

This was another quick spur of the moment trip. Thursday night we decided on a long weekend getaway. A check of campgrounds showed an available opening at Salt Point State Park's Gerstle Cove Campground.

We arrived Friday afternoon, set up in our reserved campsite, and headed for the cliffs and the late afternoon light.

The favorable weather forecast also influenced our decision to head for the coast. Although the campground was almost full. most groups were polite and very quiet. We walked down to the ocean after dark and had the place to ourselves. We listened to that pulse, the assurance that some things were still right with the world.

Our niece and her wife live close by and we hoped - even with little notice - they could spend Saturday with us and take a hike with a couple of old farts. Yes, and they suggested a brand new place that had just opened for public use.

The Jenner Headlands Preserve is another excellent example of efforts to protect what open space remains in our overcrowded world. Join and support the organizations that work so hard to make good things happen.

Besides the link above, here are a couple additional sources for information -

Jenner Headlands preserve takes hikers to breathtaking heights




The light was pretty "glary" throughout the day, not the best to showcase this spectacular area. Our first spot was Sentential Point.








The women gathered and worked out a loop hike for the day.








Their decision - we'd head down into and then up Russian Gulch ....................








We would climb out of the Gulch back to the ridge top and a late lunch......................








...................and enjoy the ridge top views as we made our loop back to the trailhead parking.













If you can, we highly recommend visiting and hiking in this newly opened preserve!



We said goodbye to our nieces and returned to our camp spot at Salt Point. We could hear the surf as we slept.  


I first heard about Fort Ross when I was a young school boy during the California History section of my elementary school education. It fascinated me, the idea that Russians had established an outpost on the Northern California coast to support their settlements in Alaska. How many of us remember that we - The United States - purchased Alaska from Russia in 1867 with a treaty negotiated by Secretary of State William Seward.The same William Seward that survived a brutal assassination attempt April 14, 1865 - the night Abraham Lincoln was shot.



I wasn't much different than other small boys when I was young. I loved forts. I still do. Sunday we visited Fort Ross.We parked and spent time in the Visitors Center, taking in the introductory video presented in the theater. We walked out the path to the restored fort, a route and view that took us from the present back into the past.








I won't elaborate on the history, cultures, and stories surrounding this wonderful place with words. I'll let the photos take you there, and, we hope, inspire you to visit.


















































































































I suggested the Lady reenact a lonely wife looking to the sea for her returning husband. She took the bait.








We had one more building to explore.




























We climbed down into Sandy Cove before returning to our truck.








We returned to Stump Beach Cove, a favorite spot of ours at Salt Point State Park.

















We hiked south from Stump Beach. The geology with the sandstone is impressive. In fact, a quarry was here in the 1800's that supplied the stone found in many of the iconic buildings in San Francisco. We were especially interested in tafoni, a complex weathering process we have seen in sandstone formations at Valley of Fire and Gold Butte.


















After hiking, along with a worthwhile and appropriate amount of lounging, nestled on highpoints out of the wind, we made our way back to the Stump Beach Cove.








The campground was almost empty Sunday night. The pounding surf - that pulse - again rocked us to sleep. We drove home Monday morning but included a stop in the small town of Occidental where we make it point to stop at Howards Station Cafe for breakfast.


It was a great way to finish off our quick trip to the Northern California coast.


  1. So nice to travel with you vicariously again. I will have to get to Jenner headlands, nice that more land is being protected. Thanks for documenting your travels.

    1. You are so welcome, Brenda. Thanks for the nice comment.

  2. Tafoni! I had always wondered what those odd honeycomb patterns were. Thanks!

  3. The usual excellent photos along wish interesting history I did not know. Also reminded me of long ago trips to the Oregon coast, as well as jade hunting outings on Whidbey Island.