24 January 2017

Rim Trail and Ceremonial Rock

Patricks Point State Park

According to Yelp, Patricks Point State Park has some of the best tide pools in the county. It is not a good day for it since the lowest tide is after sunset when the park closes, but I am out to check it out anyway. There is an entry fee for the park, or one can sneak in with the surfers. I grabbed some parking along the edge of the road and start down the surfer trail. It is easy to find by the guy with a board practically sprinting down it. It does have a couple extra trails to get a little lost down, but they are short, on the way to a proper trail. It takes me a couple tries to get on the right one, but soon I am on the Agate Beach Trail and may as well wander all the way down to the beach.

trees with ocean between
Most of the park is trees on high cliffs above a roaring ocean.

hitting the sand
There is a bit of beach out here.

The trail is nice until shortly above the beach where storm waves have taken it partly out. It is built with wired pieces of wood so it will not wash away, but the dirt beneath still goes. Agate Beach has a course sand on top, but fine sand beneath. It goes on for miles to my right, but finishes in a few hundred feet to my left. Most the footsteps on the beach go off to the left and disappear. The waves are a constant roar with many crashing at once as they come in behind the last. It is a while before I even notice the four surfers out in the bay. They are small black dots on a big ocean.

waves along the cliffs
Nowhere to go this way at this hour.

surfer surfing and another swimming out
They are easy to miss at first, but there are a few figures out there surfing. They are easier to notice when in action.

There might be some tide pools along the edge to the left in some hours, but certainly not now. Since I did not come to watch surfers, I head back up the cliff to the top.

gravel trail on the way up
About to exit the tsunami zone while climbing the gravel path.

through the trees, there is a bay
Up top and looking out through the trees again. The distant coastal range has snow on it.

The path stays close to the edge and dumps into some parking. There are some more surfers at the top teasing their buddies below. One tells me they are usually in the harbor, which means nothing to me. I take every opportunity to see the view out from the top of the cliffs. There are a couple along the way. After the trail ends, I just keep right along the road to get to the Rim Trail.

more trail lined with ferns
Plenty of green but some of the trees are bare.

long humps in the water
The waves break close by, but the rest of the crest is visible for quite a distance into the bay.

One trail off to the side does not go just to a view point. A sign marks Muscle Rock and I follow it down. It drops to a bench with no view, then continues across a bridge to another set of wood steps in the dirt the beach. There is not much beach currently nor much left of the steps. The ocean churns here and the waves splash against big rocks.

steps at the top
Down the steps to a bench halfway down to the beach.

lots of foam and splash
The sea comes in with power.

waves rolling in
And more waves roll in.

water flying into the sky
And it crashes and splashes.

After enough splashing, I need to climb again, back out of the tsunami zone. The Rim Trail continues around and quickly comes to another trail down to the beach again.

huge fallen tree with roots in the air
A large fallen tree, but it is no problem. Just walk underneath the broken base.

I see no reason to miss it just because I have just been down one. The sign marking Wedding Rock is illegible as I go down the trail. This drops to a land bridge across to the rock and another trail drops off the side back the way I came to the beach. It might even connect at lower tide. An artist is bundled up on the land bridge and has a pretty nice watercolor going.

trail to beach
Out on the land bridge with a look to the north and a restricted view of what is getting painted.

I continue across to the bridge to the rock. There are a number of terraces built onto it. I feel the need to climb all the way to the top. The high point is near the churning ocean and it is a long way down.

rocks and sea to the south
More rocks that cause a few splashes in the waves to the south. Someone is out on the next lookout point.

After a short time, I head down to explore the truncated trails that drop closer to the water and spend a lot more time watching the waves from the low rock down there.

wave crashing over a rock
And the waves continue to crash over the rocks.

Wedding Rock
Wedding Rock from below.

As I get back up to the land bridge, the painter says he has included me in it indicating a figure on the rock I stood upon. He is quite pleasant to talk to. He was down at Trinidad State Beach yesterday enjoying some painting when one of those waves decided to rain salt water down on everything including him, so has decided to sit somewhere a little safer today. That was a difficulty down on the rock below. I kept feeling very suspicious of the ever moving water. It does not help that I was once taking wave splash pictures when one wave seen through the viewfinder made me worry. I stood quickly and it washed over the rock I was on right up to my knees. I had a soda beside me and it as wedged tightly into the rocks behind me when the wave receded. Up until then, all the waves had left me dry. Here, there are warnings everywhere to never turn your back on the ocean. Rogue waves are all too common. The previous rather minor experience leaves me unable to relax as I get closer to the water.

I continue up, then pop out onto the next lookout point. There is a trail crew working on it, although not right at this moment. I do not stay long before continuing further along the Rim Trail.

mushroom on a log
Elegant fungus can be found in the wet.

Another trail crew is doing some rather extensive work on the Rim Trail just past a junction, so I make a turn inland instead of continuing on. The forest here is not full of redwoods, but of fir and spruce and other pines. The trail leads on to Ceremonial Rock, which I had rather wanted to stop by. It turns out, not only can I stop by it, but there is a well developed trail right up to the top of it. It is a good spot for a bit of lunch and sketching, so I indulge in both although the sketching is so cooperative that the eating gets forgotten a bit.

stairs to the top
Steps and handrails all the way up. Although some of the steps are a bit small and difficult for coming down.

ocean view with the lagoon behind it
The view at the top is spectacular. Nearby is a meadow and further afield is the big ocean and Big Lagoon behind the sand bar.

Continuing on from the rock, the trail runs around to Semêg Village, which is a collection of buildings and a few other artifacts built by the native Yurok people in the way their ancestors would have. They are a little muddy at the moment, but very interesting to see.

typical family houses
Two typical family houses. These are sunk halfway into the ground. The entrance is just big enough to crawl through. The roof structure includes an opening for smoke to go out but not weather to come in.

Inside the house.

After the village is a native plants garden with posts with pictures for all of the represented plants. The ferns seem to have died back. It is not exactly the best season for looking through such a thing. Past that is the main road and my car is only a short way away along it.

©2017 Valerie Norton
Posted 26 January 2017

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