Friday, March 20, 2015

Port Cabrillo Light Station and Fort Bragg in CA?

Location: Redwood River Resort (el 850 ft); Leggett, California

(click pictures to enlarge)

Today's exploration was to the Pacific Coast north of Fort Bragg and the Point Cabrillo Light Station. 

This was the view out my door as I was heading for the coast. Those are two very tall Redwoods. The one on the right has a burn scar. With some of these living to be 2,000 years old, it is anyone's guess as to when the fire happened. It is surprising how many have those types of fire scars. Also notice the smaller trees growing around the big one. Those are the offsprings of the big ones. Life begetting life. Nice.
I left the campground and had to drive over two mountains on curvy roads to reach the coast. One minute you're in dense trees and then all of sudden you shoot out into the bright sunlight to see the ocean. It is definitely one of those 'wow' moments. The contrast in scenery between the trees and coast is shocking. You go from being able to see only 20 feet or so to being about to see all the way to the horizon. 

This part of the coast has steep cliffs with very little, if any, beaches. 

The things in the water is remnants of the land many centuries ago. The cliffs are constantly eroding and sliding down into the ocean. The softer material dissolves easily but the hard stuff stays around a long time like what is in this picture.

This is looking north. To the right, outside of the picture, is where Highway 1 leaves the coast and goes inland to intersect U.S. 101 near my campground. The coast road ends here and doesn't begin again until the city of Eureka about 100 miles north. I will be passing through Eureka tomorrow on my way to the next campground.

The triangular rock has a hole in the middle with waves crashing through it.

Looking south, there was a light fog or haze hanging over the land giving it a somewhat eerie look.

Pretty views from many of the turnouts along the road.

This was close to being called a beach but you had to climb down to get to it. Notice the RV's boondocking in the roadside park.

The clouds added a special something to this picture. This is looking south so you can still see the haze/fog.

Pretty view

More waves.

Before getting to the town of Fort Bragg you drive through these coastal trees. (I still haven't found their name)

Fort Bragg in California really isn't a fort and it never was a fort. It started back in 1857 as a place to garrison soldiers to aid in the creation of a nearby Indian Reservation. It is named after the same person as is the real Army base in North Carolina. The man was Braxton Bragg and he held military positions in both the Union and Confederate Armies. Although rising to the rank of General in the Confederate Army, he had a very lackluster career and lost more battles then he won. 

Fort Bragg in California was named after him when he was still a Captain in the Union Army. The Lieutenant that was sent to establish the garrison decided to call the place Fort Bragg after his former commanding officer. The name sort of stuck, even without it being a true fort. Some years later, the Army abandoned the fort as well as the indian reservation. The land on which the reservation sat was subdivided and sold for $1.25 per acre. Although several individuals bought some of the land, most was bought by timber companies to harvest the pine and redwoods. Ships full of the trees were sent south to be used to build San Francisco. On the return trip, the ships were needing ballast to keep from riding too high in the water, so they would bring bricks back to Fort Bragg to be used to help build it's city. This went on for many years. 

Now-a-days, Fort Bragg is a tourist destination with many shops and motels. The tourists come to see the coast and visit the redwoods. It is a pretty nice little town, even though they don't have a Taco Bell. :)

About 6 miles south of Fort Bragg is the Point Cabrillo Light Station. It was built to warn ships about the reefs immediately in front of the point. The ships during that time would hug the coast as close as possible to avoid storms and strong currents. Many wrecked on the reefs and rocks prior to the building of the lighthouse. The "first light" for the lighthouse was in 1909 and it is still being used today to warn ships away from the reefs. It is located on a bluff that is about 60 to 80 feet high. One of the good things about having a lighthouse is the lighthouse keepers logs. They kept very good records about the weather and such. On at least 2 occasions the keepers noted waves crashing over the bluffs and going through the first floor of the lighthouse. Along with the waves, there were 200 pounds boulders thrown around like dice landing near the lighthouse and further inland. It is unknown what caused these very large waves. They did not seem to coincide with any earthquakes or other natural disasters that are known to cause large waves.

Today, you have to park 1/2 miles away and walk to the lighthouse. It isn't too bad going to the lighthouse since it is downhill, but dang, coming back uphill wasn't fun for a fat old man. I'm kidding, it really wasn't too bad at all. I enjoyed the walk, even after getting winded on the return trip. The weather cooperated with temperatures in the lower 60's. 

I found this "thinking bench" on the way. That is the lighthouse in the middle. 

A cove like the one on the right is also on the left. Sooner or later the lighthouse will be cut off from the mainland.

A view from in front of the lighthouse.

Wide view

The clouds and the waves put on a great show. It was spectacular.

There weren't any benches close to the bluff but this picnic table did the trick for me. I sat for a while, hoping to see a migrating whale, but alas, no luck.

Although I didn't see any whales at sea, I did see this seal in the cove next to the lighthouse. That is him laying on the rock, sunning himself in the left side of the picture. I thought he was dead for a while until he moved some.

The last look back as I began the walk back to Freedom.
It was a good day. 

I emptied my tanks when I got back to Liberty and I will be moving tomorrow to Crescent City. Maybe they will have a Taco Bell.

Ya'll take care of each other. I'll Cya down the road.


  1. eucalyptus trees. I think they are none native to our area, planted by early setters.

    1. Thanks Bob, I kept forgetting to look them up until I would see them again.

  2. Really enjoyed the photos on this post. Photography has been a hobby for me for some years and your photos are excellent in my opinion. Martin

    1. Thanks for those kind words Martin. My cell phone is one of the best purchases I made before hitting the road. It is so convenient to carry and take pictures with it.

  3. there are three campground ( two of them are on the waterfront) on the south end of Crescent city
    None to the north
    If you like to Dry camp there's a Walmart at the north end of town

    1. Hello Mister Ed. I checked out all three on my campground sources and I think I chose the best one. Sunset Harbor RV Park.

  4. Replies
    1. There will be some good eating then. LOL. Thanks

  5. Beautful pictures Darrell........I traveled in that area about 20 years ago . It is very beautiful part of the country. I loved the Redwoods as well plus te area north of Sacramento left an impression on me as well. Enjoy retirement and travel on seeker!!!

    1. Hello Anonymous. Thanks for your comment. I hope my pictures brought back some good memories for you. It is a very pretty place with different landscapes around the state.

  6. Great pictures, Darrell. I look forward to going to the west coast this summer.

    1. Thanks Shawn. You will like the area. It is very pretty with changes in scenery every 100 miles or so.