Wednesday August 31Our intention today was to travel the short distance to Glass Beach for a walk along the bluffs and shoreline. We were loading up the car with cameras and food, but the car was parked a little close to the front of the rig, making it a little difficult to navigate around the rearview mirror of the RV that sticks out. I grabbed the arm of the mirror to fold it in as it is made to do, when suddenly I hear a SPRONG sound. Now, I am holding the mirror and arm assembly in my hands, and the innards of the mirror folding mechanism are scattered on the ground. It just plain dropped out of its housing. I’ve never seen or heard of this happening before, but that’s the ways things happen in RVing.
The prospect of driving the rig without the passenger side mirror was a little scary to contemplate, so repairing or replacing was the new order of the day. Inspecting the aftermath, I could see how the mirror was put together. It looked like a welded piece that holds the whole thing together had sheared off. When I folded the mirror in, the increased pressure of the thick spring inside the housing, forced the flimsy lock washer that should have been welded, off the post and shot everything out the bottom. This is not repairable. In fact, the plastic cover on the bottom of the mirror housing says right on it, “Do not remove. No serviceable parts inside”.
Replacing will take days as we are approaching the Labor Day weekend and this is a part that must be ordered, so I had to figure a way to repair till I can get a new one. Very happy the glass didn’t break. Looking up inside the housing that is attached to the door, I could see there was a cylinder the mirror fits up into. The mirror arm itself has a larger cylinder inside it that fits around the other and the spring fits around that. First I tried drilling holes on either side of the housing in hopes of using bailing wire (the other duct tape) to tie it back on, but realized quickly it would not hold. I finally decided to just drill a hole clean through the cylinders and slip a long heavy machine screw through the whole thing – kind of like a cotter pin. This turned out to be a great fix. It won’t fall off either. It is quite strong and will hold for a long time. I still wrapped wire around the whole mess just in case the screw shears off I won’t lose the mirror. It no longer will fold, but at least it is useable. I had to rent a drill at the local tool rental shop, but for 20 bucks, not a bad price to pay.
We did eventually get out to Glass Beach. This place got it’s name from the tons of sea glass that can be found among the sand a gravel on the beach. It largely came from a glass bottle factory that was positioned near the shore. Apparently, they would dump defective glass over the ledge where it continually was pounded by surf. The pictures we’ve seen, seem to show mounds and mounds of the stuff. It may have been like that at one time, but today, one is a little more hard pressed to find much.There is still glass to be found however, but it is mostly very tiny chips and mostly clear. People are asked not to remove it, but judging by those we saw, it is not observed. We’ve had great sunny weather during the days, with just a bit of fog mornings and evenings. Tomorrow, we are headed to Del Norte State Park. Somehow, Mary’s geezer pass gets us a nearly 50% discount on camping. Still not cheap at $18/ night, but better than the $35 everyone else is paying.
Del Norte State Park
Friday, September 2It was a long windy trip to Del Norte State Park. Usually, we try to keep our long drives to no more than 200 miles. Todays was 240. We didn’t see much traffic, and between the two of us switching out driving a couple of times, made it into the park by 4:30 in pretty good shape. My fix for the mirror worked better than I could have hopped for and I don’t see a rush to replace it.
This park is down a canyon 750 feet in a dense rain forest right off highway 101. We have a tight partial sun site, but I am not encouraged about getting much light to the panels. I think enough for lights at least will be present and if we run the generator for 30 minutes we can watch something recorded on the DVR. I didn’t expect better for this park and we are prepared for the 5 nights through Labor Day we will be here.
Fern Canyon at Prairie Creek SP
Our first order in the morning was hiking. We had to drive 35 miles back south, then another 6 miles on a gravel road to get to Fern Canyon where our hike was to start. We’ve done this one before. The canyon itself is just a half mile, but it is pretty great. A stream runs through a canyon who’s shear walls are covered in ferns with feathery trees and other plant life hanging everywhere.
A new “feature” to this trail were the boardwalk bridges that make for easy stream traverses. Easy yes, but I really didn’t like them in my pictures. Kind of spoils the illusion. Perhaps that is necessary now, but I really dislike when human impact starts requiring leaving this kind of evidence.The light was really terrific for this walk. We were there early enough so that we had the place to ourselves for a good hour before the first groups started showing up and passing us. This place is too great to just move through quickly. It took us a good 2 hours to finish the 1/2 mile canyon, and another 1/2 to circle back on the loop trail up in the forest proper.We planned on tacking on another several miles by continuing on some other attached trails. Mary wanted to dump her tripod first though, so we took the half-mile loop trail back to the parking lot. This part of the trail rose up just a little bit, but enough to change the scenery dramatically. Now we were in pure coastal rain forest.After dumping the tripods, we tried back to the week and found the coast trail. It started off with a nice walk through a birch? forest sprouting out of fern beds. Soon we were out of the forest and walking along the very edge of forest and coastal grassland.It is quite remarkable how defined the edge of the forest is with the grassland. On one side, open, hot and bright.On the other, dark, cool rainforest.It was a long feeling 2 1/4 mile walk along this portion, and we were spent after walking back. A total of only 5 or 6 miles, but felt longer. On the way in this morning, we noticed how dusty all the ferns along the dirt road had gotten. On the way back out, we stopped to photograph at one spot along the road.Nearly all the green of the ferns was now a very light grey, making the image seem almost black and white. I loved the look of it and made a few images.While we were hanging around, we began to hear some subtle cracking sounds, as in brush crackling underneath. Looking around, we noticed a huge elk buck with an impressive rack. He was only visible for a few seconds. Just a few steps and we could no longer see a trace of him. You just never know what is right next to you in the forest.
Sunday, September 4
Saturday was spent sleeping in, lazing around the campground, and chores later in Crescent City where got some blog uploading and shopping done. Unlike the calm breezes here in camp, the wind in Crescent City was blowing cold and strong and it changed our minds about checking out the local Labor Day festivities down at the ocean park. Back in camp, I expected it to be crazy busy with kids and dogs and rookie campers, but it remained quiet with the exception of our new neighbors who thought it was a great idea to boom their soul crushing music at 9 am. It was off by 9:20 – not to be heard again all weekend.Sunday we were ready for another hike. Desperation Creek is a 2.5 mile hike down and out to the coast. It starts at about 1100’ in the redwoods and drops to sea level over that distance. We were warned that a vital bridge near the end was closed, and told that if we tried to cross anyway, we would break a leg. I read several recent reviews of the hike on a new app I downloaded called All Trails. I just got the free version, but it has an amazing number of hikes outlined and reviewed. It can be used as a GPS locator, and it actually works quite well at showing you exactly where on the trail you are – as long as you have a cell signal that is. The review stated that yes the bridge is unsafe, but not the danger it is cracked up to be. Advised to not jump on it while crossing. So we were off.I wanted to do this trail because it was said to be among the best for photographing sunbeams streaming through a fog hazy redwood forest. A key element is the fog of course. Unfortunately we’ve had none while we’ve been here. Nuttin’ but sun all day. We just had to make do with a thoroughly wonderful hike in a cool redwood forest.The trail starts just 4 miles south of the entrance to the park. We were up and out by 7:30, on the trail by 8. It started with a brief uphill rise before turning downhill. At this point it is quite wide to where we could nearly walk side by side. Eons of plant material layering up made for a soft walking path that was so easy on the feet.Originally, this trail was how the Yurok tribe got to the ocean. They were pretty smart the way they made this one. There are of steep inclines of course, but in between, plenty of near level sections made the trip down much easier on the knees and toes, and allowed for breath recovery on the way up.At the bottom, we finally came to the dangerous bridge. Actually the second bridge. The first was strong and sturdy. This one though spanned a 20 ft. creek bed, and was maybe 15 above the trickle of a stream. An impromptu trail had been created to avoid the bridge if desired, but we just gingerly stepped across the flimsy structure. A moment later, we were on the coast looking at sea stacks and brilliant coastal waters under a bright blue sky. We found a suitable log on the beach and lunched while watching the surf crash over rocks.
Just before we got up to leave, I noticed something that looked kind of out of place on a massive boulder next to us. Closer examination revealed a large green Dragonfly resting on a crevice. An even closer look revealed it was actually dead – it’s wings now just desiccated remnants of their past function. Who knows how long it had been there, still attached.It was a delightful hike both ways with the exception of absolutely no fog. Most would be happy with that, but it limited how I wanted photograph. Still, we were alone on the beach for more than an hour before the first of days other hikers broke out onto the beach. There were many many more we met coming down as we slowly moved back up, once again focusing on the rich variety of flora all around us.We will be leaving Del Norte on Tuesday, headed to the Eugene/Springfield area in Oregon. The 2 prints I have in a show at the Emerald Arts Center in Springfield opens Friday and we plan on attending the reception. I don’t get to go to most of the openings around the country so it is a treat to actually see the work on the walls.