Friday, December 2, 2011

A reason for thanks....

Well not much of an adventure here, but the fact that Mary and were able to spend Thanksgiving together makes it more than memorable.  We don't typically spend Thanksgiving at home, the past 10 years or so we have spent it in Fort Bragg in our trailer, generally getting a pre-cooked turkey with all the trappings and cooking it over a campfire. This past months hand surgery meant not a whole lot of riding was going to happen either so a change of plans was in order
This year was a bit different as we did the whole deal here at home, just for us, no family or anyone to distract ourselves from each other. We agreed that if I did the shopping Mary would do the cooking, not a bad deal for either of us since I don't like to cook big meals and Mary hates shopping! We spent Thursday in a pretty lazy haze, cooking, drinking and just hanging out, it was a perfect day with my wife!
Perfect Turkey day feast!

What I'm very thankful for. (Not the gravy!)

The full spread!

We had decided that we would head up to the coast on Fri. and spend a few days in the Sinkyone Wilderness on the North Coast. It had been a few years since we had been in to the primitive camp at Usal but we were game for an adventure.
Actually we had no choice as our lack of planning limited us to non reserved campgrounds, and the incredibly steep and perilous 6 mile Usal road assured us that we would get a spot.
It took us most of the day on Fri. to get to Usal, about 260 miles away. We needed to do a bit of shopping for us and the trailer and it was comical how long everything took us, we would be driving Usal Rd. in the dark for sure.
We hit the bottom of Usal Rd at about 6pm and it was pretty uneventful, a couple of steep slippery spots had me in 4 low at times but we hit the beach in about an hour, a tortoise like 6 mile per hour average but given the 1500' drop to the ocean in many spots, it's best not to hurry on this road.

The view from the door of the trailer
We awoke to a beautiful morning and upon looking at our chosen spot which we had found in the dark, we decided to move over to a better and drier spot with a killer view. The river was flowing for the first time in memory and it added to the beauty of the area, especially as the tide would come and go.
There were a few other souls in the campground but the spots are pretty spread out and by Sun. morn we had the entire place to ourselves save for a few brave folks who would come in for the day.
The road leading into the campground with birch taking over, typical for a former mill site which this place was till 1950.

We had the huge beach pretty much to ourselves for the entire 5 days.
A group of four Roosevelt Elk were companions for our stay.
We spent most of our time relaxing, hiking a bit and riding a bit, nothing too strenuous, although we are at sea level and every road goes straight up around there so it's all relative.
We saw a bit of wildlife, we had some male elks in camp and at night we were serenaded by bugles and some playful rutting and mock fighting. We also found some fresh bear prints on the beach one morning, not sure why a bear would go down to the beach but apparently this one is a beachcomber!
Cool driftwood
The view up the canyon towards our camp.
Sasha enjoying a day at the beach, one of the few still moments.
A few winter flowers hanging on.
We had a couple of nice hikes, one up to a never before visited part of the park called the "Enchanted Forest". Some pretty amazing trees were found here, it's incredible what life will do to survive, or in the case of tress, find the sun!
We also took a ride up Hotel Gulch Rd. to the Sally Bell Grove, home of the last remaining old growth redwoods on the actual coast, it's mind blowing to think this entire area was covered with these beasts, right down to the beach in some cases.
Enchanted Forest Redwood!
Mary grinding up Hotel Gulch Rd, 1500' in 2.5 miles!

Nice waterfall on Hotel Gulch
Pretty good view from up here!
Mary with one of the Giants
We needed to be back to work on Wed. so we made an effort to get an early start out of Usal on Tues. morn. After a nice breakfast and a roaring morning fire we pulled up stakes and hit the road home. All in all a perfect Thanksgiving and one to remember.
A family portrait, well the best one can expect after 6 days of camping!