the wandering chick
one of many Nor-Cal jewels
After sadly leaving the stunning coast of Oregon at the end of my summer trek there, I continued on south into California to catch the Highway 199 that would take me back into Oregon to the Rogue Valley and destinations south. Crescent City was a perfect spot to spend a few days.
I found Crescent City to be filled with things to see and do...beautiful beaches lining Pebble Beach Drive and the charming Battery Point Lighthouse which drew me in like a magnet. The Jedidiah Smith State Park is one of a few nearby places to go to see the redwoods, and the wild Smith River can be enjoyed along the Smith River Scenic Byway.
There's still some evidence of the tsunami that hit this little town of 7,000 residents after the 1964 Alaska earthquake, demolishing the business district.
Pebble Beach Road is the street that parallels the coast. It's lined with homes on one side, but what's nice is that the shore side has many viewpoints with free parking for those who want to go down to the beach or just sit and watch the waves...and sunsets.
I have unofficially named this rock Crescent City's Chia. Yes??
Like all jetties, Crescent City's is a breakwater that helps deter erosion and calms the water for the entrance to the harbor. It's a popular place for a stroll with excellent views of the lighthouse, but again, like all jetties, it's not perfectly safe. Powerful waves crash into the rocks with such force and with no warning, even though the water may look calm. Signs are placed to discourage walking the jetty, but there are always those who can't resist the temptation.
Safer than the jetty, but somehow not as inviting for walking, is the B Street Fishing Pier.
Having grown up on an island, I personally have learned to respect the power and force of ocean tides and waves. My daddy taught us early in life the risks that go hand-in-hand with recreation on the water. Knowing the tide schedules is one of the safest ways of enjoying the ocean waters on the Pacific. Every town I visited handed out printed tide tables for the taking. They're widely and wisely used by fishermen, crabbers, boaters and beach-walkers.
The Battery Point Lighthouse sits majestically on its own little island that can only be reached by visitors during low tide. The picture to the right shows the walkway at low tide.
At low tide, visitors use this path to get to Battery Point Lighthouse.
At high tide, the path is swallowed, and access to the lighthouse is cut off.
To me, Battery Point Lighthouse is picturesque any time of day and from any angle. Naturally, I wanted to shoot it at sunset, as did many others. Its history began in December of 1856. Over the years, it has seen a number of light keerpers and their families. Since 1982 it has been run privately by a lightkeeper whose residence is the island. For that reason, visitors are requested to respect that privacy, though tours are available.
The lighthouse keeper evidently has a flare for fun. Most likely, these bouys and boat fenders were collected after being washed in to shore in the area.
These anemones found in a tidepool on Crescent City's Crescent Harbor beach.
We've all seen pictures of the stand-alone lighthouse surrounded by violently-crashing waves. This is the same lighthouse, but in much calmer waters. It's the St. George Reef Lighthouse, and it sits several miles off the coast of Crescent City. The lighthouse was first illuminated in 1892 after being constructed on top of one of a series of rocks named "Dragon Rocks." It was built as a result of the vessel the Brother Jonathan running into the rocks in July of 1865. Of the 215 people on board, only 19 survived the accident.
It's no wonder duty at this lighthouse is considered hazardous and lonely. Families were not allowed, so the isolation was hard to bare. Also, because of its vulnerability to the severe elements, it was considered one of the most dangerous. Over the years, five lightkeepers have lost their lives.
For several years, the lighthouse was out of service, but efforts to rehabilitate this most unique of all lighthouses have paid off. The light was turned back on in March of 2012. It shines from one hour before sunset to one hour after sunrise.
Helicopter tours once offered a fly-over, but at the time of this writing, they aren't being offered. So,until the tours resume, the closest one can get is St. George's Point, a piece of land with its own history, at the north end of Crescent City. From that point, the lighthouse is six miles out to sea.
I doubt this ol' 'knothead' is as gruff as he looks.
I took a drive through the Jedidiah Smith Redwoods State Park just outside Crescent City for views of some of the enormous and stately trees that reside in this section of the U.S.
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