North Route 1 to Humboldt Redwoods SP
We completed the remainder of route 1 in California today, all the way from Bodega to where the road cuts inland after Fort Braggs. The road reminded me a lot of Big Sur but with more towns and of course an easier drive. Jenner was adorable right on the Russian River and we stopped at a small general store along the way for great sandwiches. Point Arena is the kind of town I would love t o live in some day. Of course it was bustling with fourth of July picnics and yard sales but the town had real character with older, funky homes and uniquely California stores like surf yoga. We drove out to the Point Arena Lighthouse. Originally built in 1870 the lighthouse fell in the 1908 earthquake. It has since been rebuilt and they give tours. It was so foggy and cold by the time we got out there that we decided not to go, but really enjoyed the scenery and seeing the lighthouse. Fort Bragg was surprisingly scenic with a really cute historic downtown, not necessarily what we were expecting from an army base.
After route 1 we connected to the 101 and soon after stopped at one of the first road side attractions in America, Confusion Hill. This place was quintessential Americana and it was shady enough for us to leave the dogs in the car for 45 minutes to explore.
Humboldt Redwoods State Parks is amazing with a great campsite, Hidden Spring. I always really enjoy being in a tent only section and most of the sites including ours are walk-in, which creates even more privacy. The forest here is so soft and cushy, it make you want to nap all the time in the darkness of the trees. So unlike the dry forests of Southern California where everything is either poisonous or prickly.
The next day we drove the remainder of the Avenue of the Giants and ended up at Matollo road, a similar route through the redwoods but on a smaller very quiet road. California State Parks totally suck in their dog-friendliness and as a result this was one of the only roads we could hike with the dogs. Not too bad for a road in terms of wildlife and trees, but it was annoying to have to clear off to the side every once in a while when a car came through. After about a 3 mile walk we ventured over to the Eel River. A nice volunteer ranger told us that the easiest rule for dogs in Cal State Parks was if you can drive your car there, then you can walk your dog there. So we drove onto a bank of the Eel river, where we took a quick but cold dip in the river, had lunch and skipped stones.
In general most of the rangers I have met in the Cal State Parks tend to look the other way with dogs as long as you are respectful and not blatant. There is something really wrong when you can’t have dogs on a trail but you pass cars from Arizona dumping trash out of their car into the redwoods.