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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Into The Wilderness!


A Bit of Pacific coast

Tuesday morning, we left Ukiah bright and early. It's a great scenic drive, passing by fairly spectacular ocean views. We stopped on an overlook so I could scan the rocks and beaches below the freeway to look for shorebirds. There were little groups of Pigeon Guillemots floating on the ocean foam.


A Small Beach

Soon we were up the coast headed for our next destination, Fort Bragg.

There was no visiable agenda for Fort Bragg. We spent the first afternoon walking about, visiting the little shops and enjoying the small "downtown" area. Loved the walking, but that evening, after checking into the Beachcomber motel, it was time for my big thrill - I, like Snoopy, love Super time!

That first evening we ate at a place, uniquely called "Rest Au Rant". Get it? Rest-au-rant...? Nevermind. The menu was pricey so I stuck with a sample of clam chowder and a hamburger priced so I wouldn't need to take out a loan. Our second night at Fort Bragg we dined at the North Coast Brewing Company, famous for it's beer sampling.


Pick a beer! Any beer - Slurrrrp!

There were some awesomely tasty brews to sample. My favorite brewskys were Brother Thelonius Belgium style ale and Rasputin Ale, but we also tried Le Merle, Red Seal Ale and Scrimshaw. Each was unique and delish in its own right. What'd we eat? I forget! *hick*

Our second day at Fort Bragg we took a slow walking tour of Mendocino, a small coastal town, sort-of-famous for that 60s rock hit of the same name and that scenes from Hitchcock's "The Birds" was filmed in Mendocino. For me its fame lies in it was one of the places Diane's mother Eunice took me when I flew up for a visit with Diane and her sisters, back in the day, 1970 to be exact.


Mendocino Victorian house

These days Mendocino is a picturesque little town you can walk every street of in under an hour, if you don't succumb to visiting all the little tourist shops to buy toys, muffins or modern jewelry - you know, like Diane and I did.


This looks like any little shop in Anchorage Alaska

I love walking around Mendocino because it's like a trip down memory lane, the year, 1970, Diane, her Mom, sisters and I, having a walk around a neo-hippy town, giving the love hand sign to all and sundry. Peace man!

Soon enough the time in Mendocino, at the Mendocino Botanical Gardens (uh... gift shop & ice cream parlor only...) were over. We repacked our bags in Fort Bragg and were off to meet Diane's sister Aveeda & the gang. They were camping in Sinkyone Wilderness State Park. Getting to the campground meant driving north on Highway 101, then veering onto a tiny, westward dirt road, through coastal redwood forests where the fog hung like the lichens on redwood limbs.


Drive in to the Campsite at Sinkyou

The length of the the route was intermittently strewn with wildflowers. Me staring at wildflowers, while driving a few feet from a ledge leading down to the Pacific Ocean...


Lovely sharp cliffs below the road...

Isn't the safest situation to find one's self in - the sudden distraction of one new wildflower for me, might mean a speedy decent for Diane, down below to the salt watered wet rocks below.


Farewell-to-Spring wildflowers


Wild Foxgloves

After a slow, wildflower photography session, finally we could spot the end of the road; a safe decent to a valley inlet by the sea.


Below the fog lay a broad meadow and an estuary at the ocean's edge.


Same view, below the fog

We were finally down the mountain and checking the message board where the Paper Plate of Destiny gave us instructions to ferret out the Knutson/Mock party.


Our directions were straight and over 'The Bridge'...


Straight over the wooden bridge

Then a sharp left past a winsome grave marker on the roadside...


Here Lies Katherine Rose...

A slightly wrong turn and a left, and we were soon at home & chatting with the Knutson/Mock Clan.


Some of the Knutson/Mock Band

And once we found the Knutson/Mock band I becamse reaquainted with Diane's sister Aveeda, who also went to high school with me, Aveeda's daughter, Anestezia and boyfriend Geoff, , sister Heidi and hubby Drew. Last but certainly not least, Diane's little niecelette 5 year old Ivy.

Aveeda has a wonderfully HUMONGOUS family tent, so all I had to do was put up my camp bed and I was in like a wilderness Flint. Soon I had my camera & binocs in hand and was off exploring the nearby meadow at the sea.
On reflection, I was a little shocked by just how primative the campground was - only one outhouse on the horizon - but then concluded, it was time for this woman to get back to her roots, surviving in a semi-domesticated wilderness area.


Nearby, in the Meadow - Elk were shrouded in drizzly fog


A Bull, Vacuuming up the yummy grasses and forage


Bird's Foot Trefoil


In the Meadow by the Sea

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