Coastal Loop – 12 Days (CA-OR)

Low tide view looking back at Shoreline RV Park

View of the bay at Shoreline RV Park of the south jetty

Tuesday as a getaway day happens only in the summer. We left heading for the coast in Crescent City with reservations at Shoreline RV Park. June 18, and site 18, with an ocean bay view was our spot for thee nights. We arrived about 4, set up and quickly realized an outside, relaxed moment was going to be chairs against the Airstream as the wind was very windy. Having a bbq was out of the question so time to find a spot to eat after a glass of wine and conversation. We drove around the pier area and the only place open was Fisherman’s Restaurant- typical fare for its busy size and a lot of food. Beautiful evening and clear skies to sleep by.

Tsunami Walking tour – 8 stations in downtown. The tsunami took less than 5 hour to reach the town.

Battery Point Lighthouse is active and a private residence. It opens depending on the tides.

Waking up to clear skies and a bit of wind, we decided after breakfast to ride our bikes to the lighthouse we could see from the Airstream called Battery Point. It was an easy ride and we found the bike path that allows one to bike around the coastal area. We also ride out to the north jetty pier and then back to the area where we had dinner on the south part of the jetty. After lunch we drove into town and visited the museum, drove the pebble beach drive to the end hoping to hike out to see the Point St. George Lighthouse but the wind was so strong it was impossible!

On the pier on the north side of the bay.

Looking at Shoreline RV from the bike path which makes access to the town fun and easy.

Del Norte Museum takes a lot of time to go through (massive collections)- highly recommend it.

First Order Fresnel Lens from the St. George Reef Lighthouse.

Thursday, we took the bikes to the Walker Road bike trial and rode the trail to the Smith River. The water is crazy clear and invites one to swim, but still the temp wasn’t warm enough. Back at our truck we locked up our bikes and took the Simpson-Reed trail to look at the Redwoods. After that we drove up the coast for a late lunch at the Tolowa Lucky Seven Casino in Smith River, took in the mouth of the Smith River, drove to Tolowa Dunes SP and visited Lake Earl.

Walker Road is a 4 mile round trip ride and have great views of the river and old growth redwoods.

The Smith River has always captured my eye – it’s the prettiest in CA! Bird Box was filmed here last year.

The double-loop trail on Simpson Reed trail is very easy and more like a stroll.

Love that taking sky and tree top pictures is trending.

Mouth of the Smith River.

Lake Earl was crazy windy!

Friday we explored the low tide area of the beach outside our door, packed up and headed towards Panther Flat Campground to settle in for the next three days along the Smith River. Ran into water issues- as normally we can tap into the water faucet to load the tank, but unfortunately as we were filling, we were sternly told to stop and not fill our tank. No mention of where we could fill up so instead, we had to rely on the Rhino packs getting the same amount of water that way. Frustrating. Also frustrating were the mosquitoes as we were up from the river and naturally their favorite habitat. The campground has limited swimming areas and they are always packed.

Panther Flat # 10 – unfortunately there is a trail that comes right into the site – I wouldn’t recommend this one. Also get water before arriving.

One of two swimming holes at Panther Flat. This one you have to cross the river to get to.

Wanting to explore the area we went into Gasquet and found that the cute little visitor center was open and the volunteer told us numerous places to visit. We first took the Stony Creek Hike which was a great way to see the Smith River from a different perspective and see Stony Creek meet the Smith. After that we went to Jed Smith SP and hiked around the campground and walked the river trail. Driving back to camp we stopped at the Myrtle Creek turn out to look over the Slant Bridge at the river.

Cutest ranger station ever! And the volunteer that was there was super helpful. Going to copy the screen door for our house.

Stony Creek trail is one mile round trip and it runs into the north fork of the Smith.

On the Stony Creek trail were Pitcher plants right by the water tank.

Slant bridge looking up the Smith River.

On Sunday after breakfast we drove up to the Darlington Trail and walked around the little loop to take in the Pitcher Plants (Darlingtonia). We wanted to check out the lodge at Patrick Creek but it was closed, but we did check out the two campgrounds within the area, finding that Panther was the best of the three. Back at camp we had lunch and then drove back to the Myrtle Creek area and took the two mile Interpretative Trail. This trail is gorgeous and well worth the crossing of the highway to get to the trailhead. After that we drove across Slant Bridge parked at the boat ramp and took the trail to see where the south fork of the Smith diverges with the main fork.

Darlingtonia Trail – super great example of a bog and the Pitcher plant and Tiger Lily.

Myrtle Creek Trail had so many flowers on it – Columbines are one of my favorites.

Myrtle Creek Trail is 2 miles with 15 interpretative panels along the trail. One of the prettiest hikes to take here.

South fork gorge water coming into the main Smith River.

Monday was get away day and I had found that we were going to be close to Oregon Caves NM and that we could camp close and tour the area. We set out to find that Grayback Campground was within range and so after picking out a campsite (only four taken) and getting water, we explored the trails and had lunch. Driving up to the monument was narrow and scenic, and when we arrived we listened to a short q/a about the cave, purchased tickets and found that the lodge was closed until 2021! Our tour guide was dramatic and informative and come to find out had majored in theater, besides ecology. It was a 90-minute hike and when we finished we took the Cliff Nature Trail hike which had breathtaking views. Back at camp we walked around the campground (now about 40 campers), enjoyed listening to the creek and had dinner.

The Cedar Guard Station across the road from the campground.

Site 35 (well used) at Grayback Campground has a great view of the creek coming in.

A staircase on the Oregon Caves tour. 500 steps in all one must climb.

Drapery formation at the top of the stairs in one of the rooms.

At the end of the tour- Ranger Gracie

View from the Cliff Nature Trail.

Plants along the Cliff Nature trail i need to find the name of them.

So bummed the lodge was closed due to renovations which have not started.

Our next spot was Joseph P. Stewart Campground on Lost Creek Lake. We were also hoping for some better weather as the temps have been in the low 70’s the entire trip. Arriving at the campground we did some housekeeping, set up and took the bikes off to tour the campground. We found another Airstream and chatted with the owners from Moraga, CA. The campground is large, ridable and has a nice bike path that we took to the north. Our site was nice except we found ourselves in between a big party group that eventually used the back of our site as a walkway. I found that I was beginning to think about writing an article to send to the New York Times on Campground Etiquette.

Joseph H. Stewart SP – site # B22. The campground has 4 large loops.

Great sun in the site for our solar setup. Also water and electric in most Oregon SP’s

By June 26, and it should be warm, but not so much this year. After a bit of thought though we decided to ride our bikes to the marina and rent a boat to tour the lake as it wasn’t a kayaking type lake. The rental was 95 for the day and we drove the entire lake – taking about three hours. We looked at the dam area, the red rocks, went up the Rogue as far as we dared and made a mad dash back to the marina when the wind came up and our boat was hit by a sneaker wave from another boat. We rode back to camp, ate lunch and rode the trail to the north again.

We have found that if we can not kayak the lake then maybe we can rent a boat and tour it. Best thing was selling our boat and renting when needed.

The lake is 10 miles in length and the Rogue River flows into it.

Bike trail going towards the Peyton Bridge

Sunset from the campsite. 8:26 pm

Thursday, after breakfast we headed north to Diamond Lake, north east of Crater Lake NP. The drive is gorgeous and as we climbed it became cooler as Diamond Lake is at 5100 feet. The campground is large and all along the east side of the lake. After getting water and parking we had lunch, walked around the campground then set up the Cloud. The next morning we looked at riding the John Dellenback Trail around the lake as its 11 miles and all paved relatively flat.  Leaving at 11 we did the path in easily 2 hours and saw, for a Friday, only two other sets of bike riders. It’s a beautiful trail and the views are breathtaking. The weather was perfect, although windy and cool, but the sunset was clear and the reflection on the lake was majestic.

Diamond Lake – site # F1

Good views – but there are better ones that are more exposed.

Bike trail off-shoot to Teal Lake

Inlet to Diamond Lake along the bike path

Views along the bike path are gorgeous – Mt. Thielsen

Outlet of Diamond Lake

Saturday and the campground is packed, its cloudy and there is sporadic drops of rain but nothing in the forecast I can remember for today. We have decide to do the lake ride again and this time there are numerous groups of riders on the path. The weather holds out and the ride again is perfect. Later that afternoon we ride over to the lodge to check it out and notice the fish caught, all the boats on the lake, and all the campers in the campground for the 4th of July week. We decide early evening that we will drive all the way home the next day, so we hook up the trailer and get it all ready for a quick getaway in the morning.  Saturday night is crazy loud and around 5 am I awake to a car hon alarm going off. We are out of the campground by 6:15 am! I do manage a awesome sunrise shot of Mount Bailey.

Diamond Lake Resort.

Just another sunset. 8:32 pm

Sunrise without a cloud to be seen at 5:36 am.

We are home by 1:30 and that’s after eating lunch in the Airstream at Trinity Lake Campground. Now to get ready for the adventure to Rocky Mountain NP!