Life at the Running Y

Life at the Running Y
Life at the Running Y

Monday, March 23, 2015

Lighthouses in the Rain

Current Location: Crescent City, CA 43 degrees F and overcast with more rain coming

The nice thing about planning at least two nights at any spot is the free full day to explore the area.  I am not sure if good weather would make exploring Crescent City a bit more alluring, but in pouring rain, one day was just enough, with time left over for kicking back in the MoHo listening to the drumming rain on the roof.

Crescent City Lighthouse (6 of 15)As often happens, however, the weather gods were with us when we left mid morning to check off the list of “21 things to do in Crescent City”.  The rain let up, and the heavy skies were magnificently interesting as we drove across the highway and down the road a piece to the Crescent City Harbor. 

Marina and Battery Point (5 of 10)On Sunday, all was fairly quiet, and I am sure the inclement weather may have had something to do with that as well.  It didn’t stop the surfers on Crescent Beach, however.  One “thing to do” checked off: visit Crescent Beach. The surfers were determined, in spite of the rain.  Mo and I wondered why they wear wet suits that make them look like seals instead of something hot fuchsia or fluorescent lime.  At least a shark might not mistake them as easily for food.

Marina and Battery Point (6 of 10)We explored the Marina area, including the somewhat dicey looking Harbor RV Park.  Crescent City is still an active fishery and there were many interesting boats in the harbor.  There are informative signs and photos of the tsunami generated by the Japan earthquake in 2011.  The high water mark was haunting as we looked back trying to imagine how far inland the surge extended.  There were several surges with huge damages to the harbor. There were also images of the Alaskan earthquake of 1964 and the devastating effects that tsunami had on the town of Crescent City.

The Visitor Center was closed.  Sunday is not necessarily a good day to visit a small town in the winter season.  By the time we reached the end of the road, the rain had mostly stopped.  The Battery Point Lighthouse view parking lot had signs for “event parking”.  Our timing was impeccable.  The tide was out and people were trekking across the rocks and up the hill to visit the beautiful little lighthouse perched on a rock, only accessible on foot when the tide is out.

Crescent City Lighthouse (3 of 15)We could see folks in the light area, but the main door was closed.  I assumed it was a tour scheduled for the opportune moment of lowest tides. The residence for the lightkeeper is actually in the lower part of the lighthouse, and there are signs indicating that it is a private residence and the occupants shouldn’t be bothered.  I am not sure how one would actually sign up for the tour, maybe the Visitor Center?

Crescent City Lighthouse (15 of 15)By the time we returned to the parking lot, the tide was already coming back up and I was glad for walking sticks and shoes that could handle the water. The rain started up in earnest.  An hour later we would have missed both the low tide moment and the break in the heavy rain that poured most of the day after that magic little moment.

Marina and Battery Point (10 of 10)We drove out the Pebble Beach Road to the end of St George Point, where several signs noted that there was a huge fine for disturbing and archaeological site, but with no information as to why it was considered such.  Searching the internet, I found a few scholarly papers discussing the Tolowa people who once lived in that area.  I would imagine that if the Visitor Center had been open, we may have found more information available.

Marina and Battery Point (9 of 10)The Museum was also closed, and would have provided fascinating stuff, including the lens that once occupied the infamous Point St George Lighthouse, the one we see in the middle of the ocean from Harris Beach in Brookings. 

At lunch, I saw a painting of the lighthouse, with a boat being lifted by a crane to the boat landing above the sea.  An internet search yielded fascinating photos and the amazing story of the wild lighthouse set on a lonely rock with ocean on all sides.  A scary place to be assigned in the days of lighthouse keeping. 

Wiki tells the story a bit, but I would imagine there would have been much more at the museum or the visitor center. According to the internet, the light was decommissioned in 1975, but later relit.  There have been helicopter tours that were available until some kind of regulation problem, but they are in the process of being reinstated. This is an interesting read~stgeorge_rw

We drove south along 101 in seriously heavy rain on the narrow road that led to the Crescent Beach Overlook and Enderts Beach, where we found a wonderful section of the coastal trail leading south along bluffs that rivaled those at Big Sur.  Even in the rain it was gorgeous.  We saw several hardy souls in rain gear hiking, even some young families. The rain was so intense I couldn’t even get out the camera and decided to skip viewing the overlook.  Would love to go back to this spot and hike this trail in better weather.Crescent City Lighthouse (9 of 15)

Before returning home, we ended our explorations with a great late lunch at the Chart Room, off Anchor Road on the Marina.  The restaurant was filled to capacity with people who all seemed to know each other, with many “hi’s” and “how are you’s” echoing around the big room with a harbor view.  The fish and chips were stellar, enough for a full lunch and enough to take home for another full meal for the next  day. For dessert, I finally found a blackberry cobbler that was runny and juicy and not too sweet or too sour, with the perfect cobbler crust.  I was thinking after two misses back in Florence, that the only way I wasn’t going to get a gluey piece of gummy cobbler was to make it myself back home!Marina and Battery Point (7 of 10)

I would have liked to visit both the Visitor Center and the Museum and after our single day of rainy explorations, I think we have seen enough to entice us to return.