Highway 1: On to Oregon


The final stretch of Highway 1 north to the Oregon border deserves many return visits. On this journey, we see Roosevelt Elk resting and rebounding after decades of flirting with extinction. We follow my old friend and inspiration, Phyllis Cangemi, into a forest that nurtured her ravaged body. And we reached the Oregon border all too soon. In the coming weeks and

months, we’ll post other videos and notes we have on the towns of Ferndale, Arcata and Crescent City. We’ll float the free-flowing Smith River, the only major river in California to flow unencumbered from its source to the sea, and climb high into the coastal mountains to find out about the region’s mining history. This northwestern sliver of California is far removed from the nearest big metropolitan area, a good seven hours north of San Francisco. It’s sufficiently beautiful with its big rivers, ancient redwoods and long and empty beaches to attract hordes of tourists. But it’s far enough away to keep the crowds low and the landscape untrammeled. For me, that’s an almost perfect combination.

The road north to the Oregon border is little-changed since we traveled there a few years ago. Keep in mind that much of this territory is wild and subject to nature’s whims. In 2006, Crescent City was hit by a small tsunami, recalling a much larger tidal wave that devastated the town in 1964. In January, 2007 a man was attacked by a mountain lion in Prairie Creek Redwood State Park. Fortunately, he survived thanks in large part to his wife’s forceful intervention. Mountain lion attacks are extremely rare, but this is a reminder that whenever possible, it’s wise to take companions on your treks into wild lands.

See elegant elk lounging right beside the road, follow one of my heroes on small wheels deep into the big trees and reach Oregon just in time for the rain.
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