Crescent City Harbor and Damnation Creek

It has been awhile since our last post but we’ve been away on vacation piling up a backlog of hikes. This vacation was our last hurrah of our hiking season and also an early celebration of our 20th anniversary. We kicked things off on Saturday by driving down to Crescent City, CA where we planned on staying two nights. After checking into our hotel we decided to walk along the harbor out to Whaler Island, which is a Del Norte island that was permanently attached to the mainland by a quarry operation.

As we walked along the harbor we were entertained by a number of different animals.
IMG_1533//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

IMG_1522//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

IMG_1526//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

IMG_1523//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

IMG_1536//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

IMG_1527//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

IMG_1555//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

At the far end of the Harbor we followed a path up to the top of rocky Whaler Island for some nice views of the surrounding area as well as a few small tide pools.
IMG_1549//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Battery Point Lighthouse
IMG_1535//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

IMG_1550//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

IMG_1548//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

IMG_1541//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

IMG_1544//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

IMG_1540//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

IMG_1543//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

There were also a few wildflowers still blooming on amid the rocks.
IMG_1538//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

IMG_1546//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

After returning to the hotel we hopped in our car and headed 10 miles south on Highway 101 to the Damnation Creek Trailhead in the Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park. Our plan was to hike 2.2 miles down to the rocky beach for the sunset, but things began to unravel a bit as soon as we arrived at the trailhead.
IMG_1557//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

We weren’t sure what exactly was meant by bridge failure but we decided to go ahead and hike as far as we could. We would still get to hike through some redwoods and we thought we still might be able to get down to the beach with a little extra effort. I hadn’t been in the redwoods since I was a child and this was Heather’s first visit so we were excited to get our first up close views of the giant trees.
IMG_1560//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

IMG_1565//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

IMG_1569//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

IMG_1562//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Our next hiccup came when we reached an unsigned trail junction that neither of us clearly recalled from the map (which we left in the car). We initially turned left which wound up being the wrong way and wound up on the Coastal Trail. We realized our mistake after about a quarter mile and turned around returning to the unsigned junction. In the meantime we had spotted some very colorful mushrooms.
IMG_1593//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

IMG_1595//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Back at the junction we went the other way and quickly arrived at another junction complete with signs.
IMG_1597//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

IMG_1598//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

We took note of the second bridge failure sign and sallied forth. The trail began descending more rapidly and we entered the Tsunami Hazard Zone.
IMG_1603//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

We knew there were two bridges along the trail so we were curious about which one had failed. When we arrived at the first bridge we found it to be in good shape.
IMG_1605//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Now we knew it was the second bridge that had the issue so the only question was whether we could find away to continue on the trail beyond it. When we spotted the second bridge we were surprised to find the only issue was there were no railings.
IMG_1607//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

We crossed the bridge and continued on leaving the forest behind and entering a meadow above the ocean.
IMG_1614//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

IMG_1616//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Our guide book had said there was a path down to the creek and rocky beach located in the north end of the meadow which we easily found.
IMG_1617//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

The path brought us to the edge of Damnation Creek.
IMG_1619//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

IMG_1620//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

IMG_1622//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

IMG_1623//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

It was just past low tide when we arrived on the beach which allowed us to explore the tide pools.
IMG_1634//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

IMG_1644//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

IMG_1645//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

IMG_1647//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

IMG_1650//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

IMG_1653//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

IMG_1654//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

IMG_1658//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

IMG_1660//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

The tide pools weren’t the only source of wildlife viewing as numerous seabirds were flying about and sitting on the many rocks visible out in the ocean.
IMG_1629//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

IMG_1698//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

IMG_1687//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

IMG_1638//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

IMG_1677//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

IMG_1688//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Our final mistake was actually our first mistake in that we hadn’t brought our headlamps with us so we didn’t feel comfortable staying for the full sunset not wanting to hike back uphill in the dark. We reluctently headed back toward the trailhead watching the beautiful sunset over our shoulders.
IMG_1705//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

IMG_1707//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

IMG_1711//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

IMG_1715//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

It hadn’t been a perfectly executed start to our vacation, but it had been a great day and we were excited to see what the rest of the week had to offer. Happy Trails!

Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/9319235@N02/albums/72157660179257590

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Crescent City Harbor and Damnation Creek”

  1. Thank you so much for this detailed report! I have been planning a trip to Del Norte. County for my birthday in a few weeks, and VERY much wanted to hike the Damnation Creek Trail. I had read about the bridge closure, and was trying to find an alternate route to the beach. You solved my problem. Also, thanks for reminding me about the headlamp. The sunset on the beach is a sight to behold!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s