Posted by: sunnyharvy | February 8, 2015

Plans Interrupted

After a brief hike on the Bog Trail and another into Fern Canyon at VanDamme State Park we headed south again on Route 1.  We stopped for lunch at the beautiful Albion River, where we would liked to have paddled. Unfortunately, the tides were, once again, not favorable. A short ride later, we stopped to take a walk around Novarro River Beach Campground, fully intending to move on before settling in for the night. In-season this place can be a real zoo, and the campground is nothing but a row of sites and a pit toilet, but it is directly ON the beach, which is not common. After our first walk-about we decided to stay over. We took several more beach walks, enjoyed the ferocity of crashing waves, a fine sunset, and a full moon rise. Once the sun went down, we shared the place with just four other people.


Driftwood sculptures are plentiful along this coast, but someone with a great deal of architectural acumen erected this beautiful tiny house.


My favorite beach bum.





Oops! The tide came through the front door the next morning.


Off again down the long and winding road along the foggy coast, which had been unusually sunny for several days!


Stopped for coffee at terrific little market in Elk.


Lunch and extensive photo stop at Point Arena Light.


They were watching us watch them!



A few hundred yards away from the lighthouse is the entrance to Stornetta, an incredibly beautiful stretch of accessible coastal bluffs. The Point Arena-Stornetta Unit is the first mainland unit adding 1,665 acres to the California Coastal National Monument. Just last March President Obama designated this area as part of the Monument, which comprises more than 20,000 rocks, islands, exposed reefs and pinnacles along the 1,100 miles of California’s coast.



We were the only campers at the Gualala Regional Park besides Jim, the friendly and helpful camp host. Here we finally got out on the water! The Gualala River was full and had not broken through to the ocean yet, so we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to launch our kayaks right from our campsite.


Absolutely no wind and crystal clear water created perfect reflections and an easy paddle.


Our second night in Gualala (pronounced wa-LA-la) was spent at Tom and Susan’s beautiful home overlooking the Pacific. I know Tom from my days of Prindle Cat racing. Once again Facebook brought us back together online and eventually in person. Susan was the perfect host immediately offering us the use of her laundry and shower facilities plus cooking a delicious dinner. Tom provided lots of good sailing stories, advice about future travels, and a personal tour of some of his favorite spots in the area. Thank you both for enriching our visit to Gualala.


Fairy Ring of redwoods.


Hiking with Tom at Gualala Point.



Storm brewing at Gualala Beach.

A few miles south of Gualala we came upon another architectural wonder, the Sea Ranch Chapel. It was a gift of two Sea Ranch residents in 1985 who wished to offer a nondenominational sanctuary for prayer, meditation, and spiritual renewal. James Hubbell designed the chapel as well as designing and crafting the windows, doors, chandelier, and the mosaic floor designs.






The weather forecast was calling for at least four days of punishing winds and soaking rain along the coast. After serious consideration we decided to alter our plans to continue down Route 1. Instead we headed west over the hills and south on 101 to Marlene (Al’s sister) and Donald’s home in Oakland.


Decidedly different terrain appeared as we progressed inland along the somewhat harrowing Skaggs Springs Road.



The weather has been measurably milder here in Oakland so our decision proved to be a good one. We’ve been able to get caught up on some computer and business work while enjoying the pleasure of Marlene and Donald’s company and cooking. Thank you both for providing shelter from the storm!


Part of the beautiful sanctuary Donald has created in their Oakland backyard.

Our coastal tour should continue soon…stay tuned!


  1. nice post, thanks for the mention… btw you may want to change ferry ring to faerie ring.. power out for about 24 hours until saturday eve,generator running for us and cottage guests to give them hot water…. highway one closed north of here due to river over the road, and then north of Jenner tanker truck flipped this morning, highway still closed, but hey, ur fav road, scaggs springs was open…. life on the remote coast… i suspect nothing compared to the NE, but we are not as prepared around here… ocean roaring, a good thing…… cheers tom

  2. that photo of you and me i appear to have a santa belly… Dave’s leash in my pocket does wonders….

  3. Just love the chapel !!! Love our California coastline always and your great photographs……… Thanks, Diane

  4. It’s sunny and you’re walking on the beach and kayaking. How wonderful! I love the photo of your favorite beach bum ~

  5. Like the driftwood cottage………..

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