View Full Version : Northern CA (Redwoods NP, Humboldt SP, Lost Coast, etc) Trip Planning Advice

17-Mar-2010, 10:56
I'm considering a trip to the Northern CA coast in mid- to late-May (probably the week before Memorial day). Focus would be on the redwoods and the coast, including Redwood NP, Prairie Creek SP, Humboldt Redwoods SP, and the Lost Coast. Photography and hiking are the main activities (day-hikes only, no backpacking).

Lodging suggestions would be appreciated; no camping, but nothing fancy either. Clean, reasonably-priced motels or VRBO rentals are good. Location is important as I don't want to spend all our time driving back and forth. This seems like too large of an area to cover from a single base of operations, so I was thinking we could spend a few days closer to the northern parks, and then a few days further south by Humboldt SP and King Range NCA. I was thinking about Fendale or Fortuna in the south, and Trinidad or Crescent City to the north, but would be open to suggestions.

About the King Range NCA and Silkyone Wilderness SP, are there some good day-hiking options there? Does trail-head access require serious 4WD?

Any other tips/suggestions would be welcome, such as time-of-day advice for specific locations, weather considerations, etc.


17-Mar-2010, 12:33
Well, that is all my stomping grounds. So sorry, but I have already taken all the good photos in this area, so you might want to go somewhere else.:p

http://rv4fun.com/ This is an RV Park that has cabins -- beautiful spot that has an elk herd, meadow and just about on Stone Lagoon. A short drive north to Redwood National Park and Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park (about 10 minutes). I helped out with a photo workshop last month that stayed here (camping and cabins). good reports -- or at least no complaints from anyone in the cabins. (I camped)

http://redwoodadventures.com/ This is a little further north (2 or 3 miles north of Orick) -- very central to Redwood NP and Prairie Creek. Brand new place with six 2 or 3 bedroom houses they rent. Might be more than what you want in size -- don't know cost.

There is one motel in Orick -- avoid it...and the one cafe is questionable. If it is open, the Snack Shack on the main drag of Orick (and only drag) has the best burgers in the county -- old fashion American artery-clogging type! Avoid the "Paul Bunyon" though unless you have good health insurance -- big chunk of hamburger meat, cheese, bacon and ham!

On the way up to Crescent City, you will pass Trees of Mystery (with huge statues of Paul Bunyun and Babe the Blue Ox) -- a tourist trap to be sure, but the gift store is free -- and it has a pretty amazing collection of Native American artifacts. Worth the stop if you are into such things (also the Clark Museum in Eureka).

Any reasonable motel in Cresent City (lots of them) would do well as a jumping off point for Jed Smith Redwoods State Park. Howland Hill Road out of Crescent City is an incredible 1 to 1.5 car width dirt road through the redwoods!

Hiking on the Lost Coast might be more than you want to handle (distance to trailheads, hiking distance and steepness). The Southern Redwoods (Humboldt Redwoods State Park) are great -- watch out for the poison oak, though. The redwoods on the Eel River flood plain are amazing -- different feel than the redwoods to the north. Anywhere along the Avenue of the Giants is great, but check out Bull Creek Flat.

Redwood National Park -- consider stopping off at the Visitor Center and getting the combo for the gate down to the Tall Trees Grove. They only let a small number of cars to go down there per day.

I am at work, and I better get back to work! If you have specific questions, let me know!


PS...the image below was taken from the side of Howland Hill Road

17-Mar-2010, 12:36
I've been up there several times and my wife went to school up there for a bit. We also have friends in the area, so when we go, we just follow them out on hikes. It's pretty easy to get "out there" without having to walk too far. You're basically in the forest, right out of town. I can't comment on the locations you mentioned specifically, but my best advice would be to have a trail map and a good idea of where you are heading. A lot of land out there is used by pot growers and while the property lines on the roadways are blocked typically with razor or barbed wire and cyclone fencing, the backside property lines are often not. You can find yourself on a very unhappy land owner's lot quickly, and you will probably be the one lesser armed. I'm not kidding. Just plan and know where you are, and it's a beautiful area.

My favorite area is a little further north around Trinidad.

17-Mar-2010, 13:03
I wanna go...

- Wil

Steve Feldman
17-Mar-2010, 15:26
I wanna go . . .


Steve Feldman
17-Mar-2010, 15:34
A vote for Ferndale. For color shoot the Victorian homes and B & B's. The cemetery is very picturesque.

JR Steel
17-Mar-2010, 15:40
Hi Jeff, I lived in Crescent City for 14 years and it is a reasonably priced place to hang out. As Vaughn suggested don't miss Howland Hill Road, the Smith River and the beach at CC has a great view of a 13 acre island called Castle Rock that is a wildlife preserve where 50,000 Aleutian Geese migrate through. There is a lighthouse too at the harbor where some of the motels are. Also from CC your just a hop skip and jump from Bandon Beach in Oregon, can't miss. Have a great time.


17-Mar-2010, 15:48
Usal Beach and the dirt road is a great trip. Late in the summer there are more blackberries the size of your thumb than you can count. Good times.

18-Mar-2010, 18:20
Thanks for the replies everybody, lots of great info. I'll check out those lodging options. It seems like there's a bit more to do/see in the northern parts around the NP, I think we'll spend the bulk of our time up there and just save a couple of days for Humboldt Redwoods SP.

Jon Wilson
18-Mar-2010, 20:39
We have found the Raven Wood Motel which is located near Klamath, CA as a nice central place to stay along the N. CA coast.

It is a beautiful area.....enjoy. Jon

19-Mar-2010, 23:03
You're going to some of the most beautiful places in California. I stayed in the area for a week in January of 2009 and am dying to go back. First, check out this website for very detailed hiking information:

Don't always listen too much to their rating system as it's primarily based on how impressive the old growth redwoods are - however I found the site to be pretty accurate.

For lodging, I highly recommend Ocean Suites Motel in Brookings, OR, which is about 30 minutes north of Crescent City, right across the border:

The rates are very reasonable for what you get: no more than $100 a night for a full suite (bed, sofa, recliner, kitchen area, two tvs, etc.), nice owners, and high speed internet. I decided to only try it for a few days and ended up spending a whole week there I liked it so much. Definitely worth the extra 30 minute drive down across the border into California to stay here, IMO. Brookings seems to be a nicer place than Crescent City. Gas is also a fair amount cheaper in Oregon - just remember it's not self-serve! Within 5 minutes of the motel is a fish/chips place called "the Hungry Clam" that is also very good after a long day's hike.

There are a few locations and hiking paths you must know about. I never got around to the Del Norte SP or the National Redwood parks, so others will have to fill in for those.

Jedediah State Park
First, get to Howland Hill Road. Read information in the above link for instructions. As someone mentioned earlier, it's one of the best short drives you'll ever experience in your life. It's like visiting another place and time. In the park there are two important places to visit:
1. Stout Grove - This is the first turnoff you'll find if you're approaching the park from the North. It's a short circular hike, but it's got some very impressive old growth trees and has a nice river running right by it.
2. The Boy Scout Tree Trail - This is a five mile out and back hike that features a wide variety of old growth trees, and a very nice waterfall at the end that you can climb up. The trailhead has some parking space along the side of Howland Hill Road. Keep an eye out for the trailhead sign and you can't miss it.

Prairie Creek Park
To drive through the park, you must take the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway exit off of 101N/101S. You will come to a large meadow area where you can park your car and also camp. This is where the trailhead for the below hike (and numerous others) begins.

Two important places:
1. The James Irvine Trail (http://www.redwoodhikes.com/Prairie%20Creek/Miners.html)
This is a 12 mile hike that loops from the center of the park, out to the coastline, goes through Fern Canyon (see below), and heads back to the trailhead. The geography is very diverse, and you MUST do this trail if you're serious about redwood hiking. MUST!
2. Fern Canyon - To get to Fern Canyon, take Davison Road exit from Highway 101N/101S and drive 8 miles to the end of the gravel road. Beware that there are streams of water your car will have to drive through to get to the parking area. Unless your car is a real low rider, you shouldn't have any problems. Beware they probably charge a day use fee ($5). Star Wars and a few other famous movies were supposedly shot in Fern Canyon - it's that good. You've got 50 foot canyon walls just covered with beautiful ferns and a nice stream heading through the center - bring your boots. The aforementioned James Irvine Trail loop also heads through this canyon and climbs up out of it at the end, so you can avoid driving out to the canyon and combine it with the hike if you prefer.

Hopefully that gives you a few ideas. PLEASE check out that redwood hikes page, as it really helped me in planning my trip. You've chosen a great place to go, and I always tell people about it with great enthusiasm when they ask. Here are a few casual images from the trip (digital only at the time, sorry!): http://www.flickr.com/photos/13574854@N02/

Bruce Watson
3-May-2010, 18:52
I lucked out and managed to find myself in northern California for a few days. Followed some of the advice from this thread. Y'all know your stuff!

I'll add my voice to those advocating the Howland Hill Road. It's full of pot holes this time of year, some of them big (they grade in summer), but just drive slowly and watch what you are doing and you should be fine even in a small sedan. Wouldn't advise trailers or campers on this road though -- it's a small one lane wide in spots.

I've sampled Del Norte, Jedediah Smith, and Prairie Creek so far. My favorite is Prairie Creek. Hard to find a bad trail here -- awsome trees and trails abound.

Prairie Creek contains the James Irvine Trail -- one of the best trails I've ever been on (in 35+ years of hiking). Amazing views of the trees and their forest. At each and every turn. From valley floor to ridge line. And some nice footing (mostly dirt and redwood duff, hardly any rocks or roots). Trails along Prairie Creek are all good too. For example Brown Creek trail off of South Fork trailhead -- amazing easy hike along a creek that will knock your socks off at just about every turn in the path.

Heading to Humbolt next! LF photography heaven, this is.

3-May-2010, 21:45
Another good hike in Prairie Creek is the West Ridge Trail, but like you said, there are no bad ones.


4-May-2010, 03:24
Thank you all for this useful information .

4-May-2010, 12:34
Thank you all for this useful information .
Yes I agree, lots of good info here. Looking forward to putting it to use later this month when we visit. I ended up booking two nights in Fortuna, and five nights in Klamath. Seems like there's just more to do farther north.

Any can't-miss sunset spots on the coast for when it's not fogged in?

4-May-2010, 13:45
Fortuna is sort of an inbetween place -- not a whole lot there (except a great brewpub), but not too far north of the Humboldt Redwoods State Park to make it a quick trip down to the redwoods there (the Ave of the Giants starts about 20 miles south of there). It is also a good place to base an all-day drive and exploration of the Lost Coast -- to ("the Victorian village of") Ferndale, then the Wildcat Road to the coast, then to Petrolia (site of the first oil well in California), along the Mattole River to Honeydew, then over the hill and through some great redwoods to HWY 101 and then back north to Fortuna. A slow drive with lots of photo opportunities. About 100 miles and about 4 hours driving time.

Sunset spots -- anywhere between Westhaven and Trinidad on Scenic Road (not HWY 101). Get off at the Westhaven exit, go under the highway and turn right.


7-May-2010, 17:20
Yes, Humboldt Redwoods SP was the main reason for spending a couple nights in Fortuna, along with maybe checking out Ferndale. Thanks for the tip on Wildcat Rd/Petrolia/Honeydew/etc

Bruce Watson
9-May-2010, 13:49
Yes, Humboldt Redwoods SP was the main reason for spending a couple nights in Fortuna, along with maybe checking out Ferndale. Thanks for the tip on Wildcat Rd/Petrolia/Honeydew/etc

Best place to stay for Humbolt Redwoods SP might just be in Miranda -- the Miranda Gardens (http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g32720-d532550-Reviews-Miranda_Gardens-Miranda_California.html). Excellent location just south of the park right on the Avenue of the Giants. I've stayed there twice now (once eight years ago, once last week) and both my wife and I really like it.

10-May-2010, 10:58
Just be aware of the poison oak amongst the redwoods down in Humboldt Redwoods State Park (none up in Prairie Creek redwoods)!

Drew Wiley
10-May-2010, 12:16
I was out shooting in the redwoods a couple days ago, and some picknickers were letting their kids run around in shorts through the foliage, which contained quite a bit
of poision oak and nettles. The other thing to be constantly aware of is that lighting
ratios in the redwoods can often be extreme, so it helps to have a film with a very
long straight line. The wildflowers are just barely beginning on the coast, but it's certainly a very beautiful time of the year. Raining hard today, despite the weatherman's forecast it wouldn't. Those big redwood can be almost like an umbrella,
however, sheltering one from wind and rain. I really enjoy redwood forests in rainstorms, and the light can be simply magic.

10-May-2010, 14:32
I feel sorry for the folks that cruise through the redwoods region only in the summer -- and never get to see and smell the redwood forest in the rain.

Back when I printed mostly silver gelatin prints, the redwoods on windless overcast days were wonderful to photograph in -- especially between 10am and 2pm. Tons of easily controllable contrast. Sunny days (usually) mean windy days, but sometimes I get lucky.

Drew Wiley
10-May-2010, 18:53
Vaughn - I actually like to photog the redwds in open sun, at least with b&w. It's a lot like flyfishing I guess, because it takes a lot of anticipation as well as downright luck, and quite a few get away. The scintillating light is constantly changing, so just about the time the 8x10 is focused, the whole composition has already changed. Two out of three times I don't even take the shot. But when something does connect it's sure a thrill. I'll admit that complex lighting isn't everyone's cup of tea, and for color work, fog or misty rain make life a whole lot easier; and fortunately, we get a lot of that on the coast too (nature's softbox).

11-May-2010, 12:07
That is one of the reasons I have taken up carbon printing -- it eats the contrast under the Redwoods on sunny days for lunch! But the quickly shifting light does keep one on one's toes!


11-May-2010, 15:40
Well I'm hoping for a mix of clouds and sun to keep things interesting. My understanding is that morning fog/overcast is pretty common there in the late spring and summer months? Any idea when the rhododendrons will be blooming this year?

Drew Wiley
11-May-2010, 16:11
Jeff - due to the El Nino, things like flowers seem to be running about a month later
than typical. June should be wonderful, but hard to predict exactly which species will
be blooming where. Fog is a fact of life here on the coast. So you will most likely start with that, then move into mixed lighting effects later in the day as it breaks up. Each
phase of the fog cycle has its own appeal, but might require a selection of film (or zone options with b&w) to accommodate the varying circumstances. Remember to spend a little time crawling on your belly around beach dunes - those wild strawberries
are small but delicious!

11-May-2010, 17:09
I was afraid the flowers might be late out there, wildflowers were definitely a few weeks late in TX this year. Oh well, not like I can reschedule now. There still should be plenty too shoot.

(I'm not too worried about handling the changing contrast and light, I shoot digital :o )

Bruce Watson
11-May-2010, 19:31
Any idea when the rhododendrons will be blooming this year?

They were blooming last week in Miranda.

11-May-2010, 20:49
Well I'm hoping for a mix of clouds and sun to keep things interesting. My understanding is that morning fog/overcast is pretty common there in the late spring and summer months? Any idea when the rhododendrons will be blooming this year?

I saw rhodies blooming along the highway on the Oregon coast this past Sunday.

Summer on the northcoast -- foggy and still, or sunny and windy. Many times on the same day. It seems we get the nicest weather (sun with no wind) during the transition between Spring and Summer, and again when Summer transitions to Fall.


2-Jun-2011, 11:52
I had to revive this thread, just to acknowledge some of the great advice here. I just took a very (sadly) brief trip down to Redwoods over Memorial Day and I drew heavily from the advice on this thread.

I managed to hike the James Irvine/Miner's Ridge/Fern Canyon trail in Prairie Creek, and then drive the Howland Hill Road in Jedediah Smith SP the next day.

The James Irvine trail was spectacular and a wonderful way to spend my one full day in the park.

The Howland Hill Road was beyond words - just extraordinary! I'm at a loss of words to describe it (and have few photos to look back to, due to a lack of time). I'd love to go back and spend days just on this road.

Thanks for those who posted all the great advice in this thread (even though it wasn't for me) - I benefited greatly!

douglas gove
3-Jun-2011, 12:10
Heading down to the southern Oregon coast and Redwoods tomorrow...Wonderful country...Can't wait

3-Jun-2011, 15:30
One addition I'd make to this thread is this: My first exposure to the redwoods came in the winter months when we were kayaking in the area (Smith River). My favorite way to see the redwoods in that area was to drive the Howland hill road in the Jedediah Smith redwoods.

Then one summer we took my in-laws down to see the same and I was sorely disappointed. The problem is that, along the Howland hill road at least, all the foliage gets covered with dust! I'm guessing that might not be as much of a problem if one gets off roads and onto some trails. And of course it is not a problem at all so far this spring!

douglas gove
7-Jun-2011, 14:22
Greetings from Jedediah Smith Redwoods...Light fog, no wind, no dust...And as of today no Howland Hill road...Closed for grading ( two weeks? ) Also, one of my favorite groves..Simpson-Reed the trailhead is closed, You can access the grove via a short hike from Walker Road...Other than that it's all good Doug

7-Jun-2011, 14:48
I had a day-hike down to the Tall Trees Grove (Redwood National Park) on Sunday, May 29th. Very nice -- too much sun and a bit of wind, so not the best photographic conditions for my 8x10. But hiking that camera back up the trail gave me plenty of reasons to stop and take in the views -- the Rhodies are blooming. met up with a friend and his grandkids camping down there, do I did get a couple of 8x10's of them in the redwoods -- hopefully I'll get around to developing those this week.

Carrying the 65 pounds or so down and back up the tail (only 1.5 miles each way) helped me get ready for the 5 day solo pack trip I just got back from. No view camera -- just the Rolleiflex and a Zeiss 6x9 folder. Lots of rain, but I was prepared. Lots of bear, too. In fact, getting back up to the trailhead I found I had a flat tire -- a bear had taken a couple of bites into the sidewall, and left some muddy paw prints on the back of the van.

Thankfully the bear only tasted one tire or I would still be up there (a bit remote).

Thanks for the news about Howland Road. I won't send anyone in that direction!


Drew Wiley
7-Jun-2011, 15:26
Apparently they don't properly enforce the law not to feed the bears!

7-Jun-2011, 16:05
Wow, I count myself lucky to have caught Howland Hill Road then when I did - it was probably the highlight of the trip for me.

We did a hike just south of Damnation Creek Trail (east side of 101, part of the coastal trail) as it was supposed to be notable for it's Rhododendrons. They were in fact everywhere, but most of the blooms appeared to have been past their prime already - it would have been spectacular just a week or two earlier.

Sorry to hear about the tire Vaughn, but at least he only ate the one. :)

7-Jun-2011, 16:25
Apparently they don't properly enforce the law not to feed the bears!

I may have met the culprit on the trail. He was in the process of knocking a tree down when I met him -- very large golden boy. Saw a lot of small trees snapped off about 6 or more feet up by this vandal. His territory might have included the trailhead -- it was only 5 miles or so away.

I certainly made sure my food was hung up nice and high each night! I think I was one of the first out in this area this year -- only other tracks on the trail were bear and deer.


9-Jun-2011, 18:13
Hopefully all the great information in this thread will be of use to me! I was wondering if the first part of July is a bad time to visit the northern Redwood parks? I am guessing traffic will be heavier but I'd rather not wait until September, unless it is that much better.

I was thinking of staying in Crescent City at one of the cheaper places for a little over a week. Then heading out to Jedediah, Prairie, and perhaps Redwood National.

9-Jun-2011, 18:35
Traffic is never a problem -- unless there is some sort of major event happening (such as the Redwood Ride -- this weekend the roads in Southern Humboldt will covered with thousands of Harleys...some of them up-right and running even).

Early July and September is a bit of a toss-up, with July having a chance of being a little better if we get a good marine layer (fog)...much better for photographing in the redwoods than the sunshine (sun is usually accompied by wind). This fog layer can burn off as the day progresses (and the wind picks up), so early morning until noonish can be nice.

Late October and November are my favorite months for photographing in the redwoods.

9-Jun-2011, 18:43
Thank you for the response! Fog is definitely something I would hope for, also helps simplify the scene through atmospheric perspective, in my opinion. Perhaps October would be the best. I just don't like waiting!

9-Jun-2011, 21:05
Thank you for the response! Fog is definitely something I would hope for, also helps simplify the scene through atmospheric perspective, in my opinion. Perhaps October would be the best. I just don't like waiting!

In the redwoods, there is usually little atmospheric perspective -- that is one of the reasons I like the late fall and winters -- when the berries and alders drop their leaves, one can finally get some sense of distance in the lush redwood growth! LOL!

Also late October and somewhat into November one has the yellow leaves of the maples, buckthorn and berries to work with -- great in B&W with a yellow filter! The Big Leaf maples lose their leaves first, then the vine maples really shine.

For B&W enlargements on silver gelatin paper, the fog makes photographing so much easier -- tons of controllable contrast (best from 10am to 2pm, generally). In fact, that was one of the reasons I tried carbon printing -- to be able to capture the light in the redwoods on sunny days with the 7 to 10 zone range one finds then.

But always beautiful!


douglas gove
12-Jun-2011, 17:14
If your oohing and aahing while motoring...Keep an eye on your rearview mirror...Some people have no sense of humor

Drew Wiley
12-Jun-2011, 17:21
There tends to be an ongoing bloom from May thru midsummer on much of our coast. Although this has been an exceptionally cold and wet year, the June bloom is
certainly on schedule around here, as are our predicatable winds which make LF
photography an exercise in patience unless you're in the shelter of the redwoods per
se. But a word of warning - the ticks are also in full bloom, so keep an eye on your
pants and preferably stay on wider trails where you aren't brushing up to the grass,
ferns, and chamise.

13-Jun-2011, 17:23
Hmmmm.... the campgrounds at Prairie Creek are full the week I want to go in early July. Which leads me to believe the place will be packed. Vaughn, I know you said traffic is never a problem. Will I be running into a lot of people if I am hiking the trails? I'd like to go early July as I will have time off and Wimbledon is over!

13-Jun-2011, 20:26
Well I am thinking about staying at DEL NORTE COAST REDWOODS campground for 10 days. I can then drive to Prairie Creek or wherever else. Does that sound like a good idea? They have the openings. Just unsure if July is a good time.

14-Jun-2011, 09:35
Good morning.

The campgrounds may be "packed", but the trails are not. I have never camped, or been to that particular campground, amazingly, seeing as I have been photographing in the area for 30+ years. Looks to be fairly central to all the areas.

You will be able to hike for miles without seeing anyone, once you get away from the visitor centers/campgrounds. Weather-wise it is hard to tell. Today is nice (photographically in the redwoods) -- overcast and not much wind. Slight chance of some rain over the next couple days. But July is a ways off. Lots of water, creeks are flowing nicely.

Climate is what one has, weather is what one gets, so even though I prefer the late fall and Winter, one can get a stretch of stormy weather that makes photography difficult. If July is the best time for you, then go for it. If the north winds pick up, photograph in the calmer mornings.

Consider hiking down to the Tall Trees Grove in Redwood Nat. Park -- you'll need to go to the visitor center south of Orick to get a pass for the gated road (and a steep 1.5 mile hike down to the grove.) They only let so many cars go down there per day.

July will be fine -- better than August and early September.


Drew Wiley
14-Jun-2011, 10:16
There is nearly always slow traffic on the limited number of winding highways, but the northern Cal coast is relatively uncrowded even in midsummer compared to most other tourist destinations. Never a clogged-up nightmare like Yosemite Valley or Yellowstone; way less people than the central Oregon coast or So. Cal beaches. The whole area is slightly isolated. July would still be fairly lush and pleasant. A short walk into many places will give you solitude. Hard to predict the fog cycle, but its more common than not and really adds a lot of ambiance. We love our fog (well, except when we're trying to get the house paint to dry!) You should go. It's a really beautiful area in Summer.

14-Jun-2011, 14:11
The southern redwoods (southern part of Humboldt County, that is) do tend to be more crowded, and warmer, and windier than up north. In the south one basically has a ribbon of redwoods along Hwy 101. Up north they are spread out...whole watersheds, etc. Also lots of lovely poison oak in the south -- little to none up north. But all wonderful. But July will be a fine time. Take a good look around and come back in later October some year!

The classic walk is Fern Canyon (Prairie Cr Redwoods State Park) -- good anytime of the year, but particularily nice in the early summer. LF unfriendly, only because of the usual breeze, and perhaps the uneven footing. But I have been lucky in there.

Alex, Fern Canyon
Scanned Platinum print
8x10 neg, 210mm lens

and about a year later, all three boys, same location
Scanned carbon print (reversed)
8x10 neg, 300mm lens

Both about 30 second exposures

14-Jun-2011, 14:13
Thank you for the help and suggestions. I reserved my spot at the campground. Hopefully I get a bit lucky with the weather. Really looking forward to it. My favorite type of scenery and I've never seen it in person!

Jim Graves
14-Jun-2011, 17:31
If you get lucky, the central valley will shoot to 100+ which will pull in the fog ... hard to tell in July. With the coast foggy, the inland (3 miles from the coast) stays warm and bright ... great variety.

Do watch out for the poison oak, though ... even in the North ... I think about a quarter of my childhood up there was spent soaked in calamine lotion ... NOT a good memory. Make sure you find out what it looks like and watch out for bare vines ... one of my worst cases was swinging on bare vines.

Enjoy ... it is a great place to visit and photograph ... even in the rain ... and sometimes it's best in the rain.

15-Jun-2011, 15:09
Zaitz, I stayed at the Del Norte Coast "Mill Creek" campground over Memorial Day and it was great. We got randomly put in one of the two unreserved sites and it was probably the nicest I've ever stayed in (very private, great site - #94 I think). The camp host suggested just walking around the campground to take in some of the scenery.

We found the location to be pretty convenient (it's close to Crescent City should you need anything like groceries or cell phone reception).

15-Jun-2011, 15:14
Today's weather: clear but strong north wind. Everything is moving.

Drew Wiley
15-Jun-2011, 15:24
Down here we finally got our long awaited heat wave - which amounted to about four
hours of 70 degree calm before the wind and fog started kicking in again.

18-Jun-2011, 12:08
I am having a bit of trouble deciding what to do with a lens. I want to do more 8x10 on this trip. I don't really have an 8x10 landscape lens. But I've also never shot in the Redwood forests before. I have a 250mm Fujinon SF f5.6. It appears to cover 8x10 when looking at the ground glass. But I am not sure it is wide enough (or perhaps too wide?), or that it will have sharp corners. It also does not have stops marked at anything over f22. Any suggestions? I wouldn't be averse to trading it for something else more fitting. My Heliar may work well for b&w but I am not sure how it'd perform with color.

If I decide to keep the 250 I'll make a test shot on 8x10 to check for corner sharpness.

18-Jun-2011, 13:38
I rarely use anything over 300mm in the redwoods on my 8x10, though I usually carry my 19" -- just in case. And often I am reaching for the 210mm. Just got a Fuji 250/6.7 that I need to find/make a lensboard for, which should be a good lens for the redwoods.

The closeness of the forest does not often give one a lot of distance views that call for a long lens, but it does happen.

Good luck in your lens choice!

Drew Wiley
18-Jun-2011, 18:23
That 250/6.7 will give you some rise on 8X10 and I found mine very useful in the redwoods. It eventually got stolen and now I use either a 250 G-Claron or 240 Fuji A with similar results. The 6.7 a hard-sharp lens, not a vintage look. Absolutely dreamy weather down on our section of the coast today with gentle softbox light and fingers of fog teasing their way through the redwds.

18-Jun-2011, 19:19
I'll save the digital work for the proctologists and the vintage work for the wine makers...;)

Drew Wiley
18-Jun-2011, 20:08
Your strange bear cuisine incident got me thinking if the animals are acting a little
peculiar this yr due to prolonged winter conditions. Up in the Sierras marmots are
sometimes known to chew up radiator hoses etc seeking some kind of salt they
cannot seem to get certain places early in the season. And I'm wondering if "early"
to their appetite will now extend all summer due to late snow melt. Some people
resort to wrapping the underides of their parked vehicles with chicken wire.

18-Jun-2011, 22:50
I came across one particularily large bruiser of a bear on the trail that seemed to take delight in taking 10 to 12 foot tall, 2 to 3 inch diameter conifer trees and snapping them off about 6 to 8 feet above the ground. Most were nice healthy trees -- no grubs. And many slightly smaller trees pushed over...right across the trail.

Oh, well -- just keeping the trail way clear I guess. Back when I was a wilderness ranger/packer, I appreciated the bears' work of digging up the yellowjacket ground nests along the trail. Much better than have a mule step on one --rodeo time!

I figured a nest of yellowjackets must a bear's equivilent to a hot mexican meal...tasty with a bit of a bite!

26-Jun-2011, 13:51
I came across one particularily large bruiser of a bear on the trail that seemed to take delight in taking 10 to 12 foot tall, 2 to 3 inch diameter conifer trees and snapping them off about 6 to 8 feet above the ground. Most were nice healthy trees -- no grubs. And many slightly smaller trees pushed over...right across the trail.

Oh, well -- just keeping the trail way clear I guess. Back when I was a wilderness ranger/packer, I appreciated the bears' work of digging up the yellowjacket ground nests along the trail. Much better than have a mule step on one --rodeo time!

I figured a nest of yellowjackets must a bear's equivilent to a hot mexican meal...tasty with a bit of a bite!

I spent a few years in my early 20's living in brookings Or. Working as firefighter with the forest service. Bears didn't scare me much but what always got me was the bald faced hornets! I've been stung repeatedly by those aggressive buggers! There was a bug that we used to run into on fires that everyone called a "stump f###er". It would come out and lay it's eggs in warm stumps, and rumor had it that it didn't mind to lay them in a warm body either! They could get huge! I've seen some almost twice the size of hummingbirds. You would have the whole crew swinging shovels, polaski's, hazel hoes or whatever was around. None of us ever looked up what they're real name was but all you have to do is ask anyone that has been out on fires from that area and they will tell you about them. Cave Junction seemed to be a hot bed for them.

Drew Wiley
27-Jun-2011, 13:55
I got it twice from the hornets as a teenager, once when stepping into a nest crossing
a rotten log in Tillamook. They were known to be fatal to some. But not as scary as the wild bees. A swarm of them blocked out the sun and had about twenty feet of
berry vines honeycombed in just a few days. My brat cousin pitched a rock at it, and
luckily for us there was a pond just a few feet away. We broke off sections of cattails
to act as breathing straws while swimming underwater across the pond.

18-Jul-2011, 17:01
Just wanted to thank those for all the help they gave. I had a great trip. I ended up leaving the Redwoods after a few days for Yosemite, Death Valley, and Grand Teton. I knew the redwoods would be hard to photograph in but it was even more tough than I thought. The lighting conditions are very tricky in any kind of sunlight.

18-Jul-2011, 17:56
Yesterday in the redwoods (Priarie Creek) was PERFECT! No wind, light cloud cover and an early morning light rain to clean things up. I took the new-to-me 11x14 out and made a couple images. You never know.

The joy of living here...

Glad the rest of your trip went well!


Jim Fitzgerald
18-Jul-2011, 18:30
I need to move!

18-Jul-2011, 18:53
Well, it was not absolutely perfect - the summer "crowds" were also there. I rarely go there on a summer weekend and forgot how many people do drive through there!