Moving on up the coast from Arcata (but not before I bought some gorgeous ceramic beads from Talisman in Eureka) we stayed at a basic but comfortable motel at the edge of Crescent City before heading East through Smith River National Recreation Area and on up into Oregon.
While in Crescent City we explored some of Redwood National Park including the stunningly beautiful Fern Canyon, part of the Praire Redwoods section of the greater park area. Passing through Grants Pass we then headed South a little before turning East again and travelling to fascinating and remote Lava Beds National Monument. On the way we spent one night at Shakespere mad Ashland (I kid you not!) in a gorgeous old hotel on the main street where I had the opportunity to pick up some great buttons and beautiful undyed mohair locks at a handspinners, weavers and knitters delight called The Web.sters. I have never felted with pure mohair before so am really looking forward to seeing how it felts when I get home, it feels beautiful and silky to the touch and is in gorgeous natural shades of grey, silver and off white. We also spent some time chatting (or visiting as you folks say over here) with Alfred Hanan at his brilliant shop ‘Hemporium’, a fantastic place to pick up some stylish, comfortable and natural clothing or accessories and then met Dale Muir in her studio at the Ashland Art Centre. Dale works with recycled materials creating wonderful funky assemblages which just had to make me smile. The Art Centre is very interesting, one of many different co-operative type businesses we have encountered along the way and giving me lots to think about for future possibilities back home in Ireland. We stopped in Ashland for one night before moving on the Tulelake, our base for visiting both Lava Beds and the Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuges. Thanks to our Californian Lonely Planet we checked in to Fe’s B&B on 660 Main St., a great choice as Fe and her husband Bob were great hosts and Fe’s delicious hot breakfasts with fresh fruit were healthy, tasty and large setting us up nicely for a day exploring the fascinating scenery and wildlife in the area. Another nice aspect about the B&B was the fact that guests from the 4 bedrooms joined up together at breakfast and shared tables. We got to spend some time with an interesting young couple Lizzie and Lawrence from England and had a meal together the second night at Captain Jack’s Stronghold, a surprisingly good restaurant at the side of Hwy 139 a few miles south of Tulelake. One thing that it is hard to convey to friends at home is how BIG this country is and when you are in more remote regions it could be hundreds of miles between gas stations or anywhere to eat, decent or not!
Both Lava Beds National Monument and Klamath Wildlife Refuges were brilliant stops on our trip. The volcanic activity over the years has created a fascinating landscape, we did some great walks through the lava beds and and into the caves and were lucky enough to see a young mountain lion on our way back to the B&B on our second night. The refuges provide habitats for a mind boggling array of birds migrating along the Pacific Flyway and on the second morning we saw a bald eagle from a distance of about 8 feet while driving around one of the auto routes, the best way of viewing the birds as they seem to be less afraid of cars than of us humans! We intended staying one or two nights at Fe’s but ended up there for three, if ever you are in the area call in and say hi, you won’t be disappointed with the welcome and the brilliant tasty breakfasts!!