California Road Trip 2016, Part 3

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Lost Coast, Continued

We enjoyed a quiet night at Needle Rock.  After sitting around the fire and watching falling stars we called it a night and somewhere between then and the morning a rainstorm passed.  If it needs to rain, night is the perfect time, but I did get to wondering about the steep narrow windy road on the way out.  Before departing we checked out some of the history stored in the visitors museum.  It was quite amazing to see the amount of development from over a hundred years ago in what now appears to be nearly untouched wilderness. Before too long we packed up and headed south and were able to get out of the steep section without issue.  We were told that Usal road going south was closed for the season.  As we understood it Usal Road is even more interesting than some of the other roads we had already traversed and considering the rain we didn’t even check, we just headed inland to highway 101 and south to Leggett where we took highway 1 to the south end of Usal road.  Luckily we had stopped for fuel in Leggett and the attendant described the turnoff from highway 1 to Usal.  We never did see the ‘tiny’ sign he described but the rest of his information was enough to find the road with just barely missing it on our first pass.  From there we made our way north on Usal road for the few miles the road was open to Usal campground.

Usal Overlook
Usal Overlook

This guy was the current camp host.

Usal Greeting Party
Usal Greeting Party

He provided a warm welcome and we had a look around.  Upon arrival we were the only ones there.  It seemed that the campground was a shadow of its former glory and has been let go a bit which ended up working fine for us.  Most camps no longer have a picnic table although we found a few tables there and the highest number was in the 30’s so there used to be quite a development here.  Now there are foot deep puddles that make up the ‘road’ and a few places to park.  There was a sign saying there was a charge for camping but no forms or place to deposit payment.

There were several bull elk in the campground which made us wonder a little bit how territorial they were going to be.

Usal Elk
Usal Elk

 

Rack
Rack

 

Lazy Day in the Sun
Lazy Day in the Sun

We claimed a camp and hit the beach as the tide was going out.

Usal Beach
Usal Beach

 

Usal Beach
Usal Beach

 

There seemed to be several eyes on us.

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Black Oystercatcher
Black Oystercatcher

 

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Plus lots of stuff to check out in the quickly emerging tide pools.

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As we made our way back to camp we met up with a couple that said they happened to find the beach and camp on chance travelling from British Columbia through California.  Really?  Wow, talk about willingness to wander.  Kudos to them, they were having a great time.  They also let us know that our rig was surrounded by three big bull elk milling about where we parked.  We got to a point where we could get a view and saw that they were still close but moved off a distance and we were able to get in and get back to camp.  The whole reason we drove from camp to the beach is to avoid disturbing the elk, then they go and move.  Go figure.

Yet another nice night around the fire.  We figured that there were a few more elk in camp than people, even with a few latecomers arriving after dark.  Gotta love a camp like that.  We had another rainstorm pass through overnight but woke to another sunny day.

Usal Camp
Usal Camp

 

As to be expected at a busy camp like this, it was like rush hour getting out of camp.

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Traffic was a little slow.

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Leaving Usal meant the end to the segment I would characterize at the Lost Coast.  Onward to the North Coast it was.

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One thought on “California Road Trip 2016, Part 3

  1. Looks like you had a great trip. I especially liked the shots of the starfish, the snail, and the elk, but they were all good.
    Most of those places I’d never even heard of, but they look very peaceful and beautiful. Good thing I didn’t know about
    all those bad roads before you went!

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