I could spill out some words for this post, but honestly, I don’t think words can really convey the feeling of being so small, tiny, a wandering speck in the towering almost-jungle of redwoods in this part of southern Oregon. Just a couple of steps away from the highway, into the forest, it’s as if you’re taking a step into another time zone, a world that is slightly hidden behind the one you’re in. Part of you wants to stay forever and explore till your bones are covered with moss, and the other wonders if you’re better off not disturbing the raw beauty found there.
( It’s weird to be writing this so out of order, but apparently that’s just how I awkwardly roll. I already posted about the very last part of the last day of my California roadtrip at the Marin Headlands , and the first day at Mt. Shasta so it’s only fitting that somewhere out of this mad order I should post about the beginning of the second day. I think I’ll probably do some sort of master post when i’ve got it all out, and that will hopefully be soon, considering i’m heading on on another multi-location trip next month, but for now, this is the collection of words and photos I took while heading towards Grants Pass (“It’s the Climate”)- Oregon ,from Yrka, California.)
I woke up in Yrka, California (after driving up from San Francisco the first day) to ice frosted streets and chilly bedsheets. The sun was barely rising over the mountans this town was surrounded by, but by the time I was driving on the wonderfully named Cascade Wonderland Hwy, the valleys were showing signs of life. It’s wonderfully sparse out there, towns are very far and few between, and the landscape is dominated by the gentle mountains and wide, sprawling valleys that catch the early morning sunlight in a beautiful way. You pass the Oregon/California border without any fanfare, once second you’re in the most north part of the golden state and next thing you know, Oregon is rolling on underneath your wheels, and the road you’re on is called Pacific Hwy. My first stop of the day came when I passed what looked like something out of a movie, a tiny town covered by shimmering sunlit fog, and the sight of a lake, clear and crisp, dipped in rays of light. I couldn’t tell you much about Ashland, Oregon…. but Emigrant Lake was a fantastic way to fully wake up and enjoy the beauty of the area I was surrounded by. With the temperature hitting a chillness that could ice bones, matched with a wind that would strip them, I didn’t spend as long as I could have, but it was a privilege to watch the sun finish rising over the mountains in that lovely place.
After departing from Grants Pass, Oregon ( ) back on my trip in January, I was headed towards Crescent City, California, which I had heard was fantastically beautiful (it was!) but to get there, I had to drive through Siskiyou National Forest, and it was… magnificent. An unexpected but much loved detour.
It was early in the morning when I pulled off the main road onto some random, seemingly abandoned trail/road that seemed to wind up-up-up into the mountains. Me and my little rental car where probably not the best equipped for a hike, but that didn’t stop me and after a slightly harrowing curving drive through that mountain road I ended up near a secluded section that just called to me to get out and explore a little. Little air in my lungs, improper shoes and a twinge in my side from a long drive where easy to ignore in the calm I found there. It was truely lovely, and if I hadn’t already been aiming for 2 other destinations for the day, I probably would have just stayed there exploring the rest of the mountain roads that seemed to endlessly branch out from the main highway. I’d truly love to go back one day.
Driving from Yrka, California up through the southernmost border of Oregon, to come splintering back into California through giant redwoods, I had to pass through a number of tiny towns that fly past on the highway without a second glance, the only reason for stopping being the rumble in a tummy or an interesting sideshow attraction. I stopped in Grants Pass for the first, a yearning on my lips for something more solid than just coffee and gas station donuts. Having stashed some fresh bread and 4 lovely warm apple turnovers in my car, I thought about taking a look around, to see what this small town might have hidden at it’s center. What I found was a lovely passionate calm that reminded me of the smaller towns i’ve passed through in Texas, and the beauty of being surrounded all around by mountains tall and cold, a fine fog and mist covering and uncovering the town on it’s whim. A perfect stop before heading into the dark and magnificent quiet of the Redwood Highway.