Road Trip – Battery Point Light House and Panther Flat – May 2015

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Ocean, rocks, ice plants – photo taken at Battery Point Lighthouse

Saturday May 2: This morning, after my campfire, coffee, and journal, Jeff, our camp host extraordinaire, comes by to show us the secret path to the local Darlingtonias. Jeff is a natural when it comes to being a tour guide and he makes this outing into an adventure. Clifford, Nigel, and I follow him through the woods to find the community of California Pitcher Plants. He even points out angles where we can take the best photos to include ferns for a more dramatic setting.

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Darlingtonia, also known as California Pitcher Plant – a rare species of swamp dweller.

As I take photos of the irresistible wild iris on the way back to the campground, we learn more from Jeff, who has a wealth of knowledge of the history and geography of this area.

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Irresistible wild iris.

Clifford and I are going to the Battery Point Lighthouse today, so we head to Crescent City after our woods adventure. This lighthouse, built in 1856, served an invaluable purpose for over a hundred years, alerting ships to the rocky coast until it was decommissioned in 1965.

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Shoreline at Battery Point Lighthouse

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Battery Point Light House

Nowadays digital instruments have taken over the job of most lighthouses, which are now closed down, but Battery Point was reactivated in 1982 as a private aid to navigation and has been converted into a museum. The tour is very interesting as we learn of the early lighthouse keepers and see some of the original furnishings of this building, which was also home to the lighthouse keepers and their families.

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Landscaping at the Battery Point Lighthouse

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View from the lighthouse tower

Our tour takes us all the way to the top, where we go carefully up a narrow winding staircase to the lighthouse tower with a 360 degree view of the surroundings.

To the east is the town of Crescent City; looking out another direction we can see the harbor where ships can safely come into port, and along the coast the other direction and toward the ocean, we see the great rocks that were (and are) such a danger to ships.

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Danger to ships

On the drive home we take Howland Hill Road recommended by Jeff, since this dirt/gravel road traverses the jointly shared Redwood National Park and the Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park. The redwood trees are totally awesome, but it is too late in the day to stop for many photos.

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Forest giants

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Up and up and up

We will be seeing other redwoods before the journey’s end, so I enjoy the drive, window down, exclaiming over the size of these giants as we drive through the forest.

Sunday May 3: Today is a stay-at-camp day. I go for a walk in the woods to take more photos of the Darlingtonias and, of course, the lovely wild iris and the rhododendron (or is it azalea?) before making a campfire and a French press.

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Nigel, the young man on his spring break from college, comes by and we chat for a bit. After breakfast, while wood-gleaning I stop at the host site to say “hi” to Jeff and his wife, JoAn. Since we have power (sun on the solar panels) today, I am able to download and look at the photos I have taken over the last several days. And since my cell phone works here at Panther Flat, I call my daughter, Becka, who is moving to Georgia, and check email on the phone. We take showers and are feeling quite spiffy and civilized.

A hike down to visit the river rounds out the day for us.

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Rapids on the Smith River

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Peaceful flow of the Smith River below the rapids

Monday May 4: It is cloudy this morning, so we sleep in a bit. I skip my flower-photo walkabout and make a campfire right away so as to have some quiet time before starting breakfast.

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Warm coals on my next-to-last campfire at Panther Flat

Today is another stay-at-camp day, which is fine with me, as it gives the vata nature a chance to settle before we start on the next long leg of our journey.

Misc May G12 011I have been collecting postcards as we travel, so have a stack to write and send to family and friends.

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While I write, Clifford continues his research. How many people go camping with three tubs of technical books such microbiology and spectroscopy? Well, Clifford does and as he studies he takes notes, filling several spiral notebooks. This is all in connection to the Carnicom Institute, his health and environmental research non-profit organization.

In the afternoon, as the skies clear, I walk down to the river. It is now too sunny for much photo-taking, but I take time to sit on a boulder by the river, glad to be alive, glad to be here.

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Glad to be here; glad to be alive

Tuesday May 5: It is 40 degrees and clear this morning, a bit chilly, but so lovely. I love being here and am a bit sad that today is our last day camped here at Panther Flat. I make a campfire,  enjoy my coffee, take a few photos with the cell phone to share this place with others, and admire the trees.  At the Rocky Mountain Summer Intensive Photography School that I attended in 1995, one of the suggestions was to take a photo of what makes you happy:  that day I photographed the silhouette of tree branches against a beautiful blue sky, and I do so again today.

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What makes me happy

We are going to Crescent City today in preparation for leaving tomorrow. It is better to take care of errands today and focus on the traveling tomorrow. After getting propane, gas, groceries, and sundries, we drive out to Pebble Beach on the outskirts of town. Pebble beach is not exactly pebbles and is so windy I can’t stand still enough to take photos except by shooting through the open window of the Blazer. However, it is still mesmerizing – the waves coming in and smashing themselves against the jagged rocks, over and over and over.  It seems as though they delight in their powerful playfulness.

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The waves seem to delight in smashing against rocks

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Over and over and over – the mesmerizing action of waves

Back at camp, even though it is getting kind of late, I call my mom. Today would have been my parents’ 70th anniversary, although my dad has been gone for nearly twenty years. I am so grateful that my mom is still here and part of the lives of her children, grand and great-grandchildren.  What a blessing she is to all of us.  May I be such a blessing to all those who know me and those who come after me.

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One thought on “Road Trip – Battery Point Light House and Panther Flat – May 2015”

  1. This is such a lovely post! I have been to the Crescent city area a few times and have never been to the lighthouse there or even to the coast. Most of my time, the redwoods and the visitor center had been my focus. I have been on that road through the redwoods and on a few of the trails there. You did a beautiful job of photographing those lovely, dainty wildflowers and the captivating coastline. Great post! Thank you for sharing this wonderful experience!

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