07 February 2017

Humboldt Bay South Jetty

Bureau of Land Management

I headed to the south end of Humboldt Bay, stopping briefly at a patch of land at King Salmon on the way. Today should be dry, but the thin drops blown into my face by a swift wind seemed to disagree. It was drier by the time I found my way over Table Bluff and to the jetty at the north of the spit after one more stop along the way at the middle.

sand spit and Table Bluff
Among the grasses and lupines on the sandy dunes. Table Bluff is the central rise of land to the south.

muddy waves and grass
Northerly from the same spot shows the waves that seem to be a little muddy at the moment. The far buildings are on the north spit.

This spit is much narrower than the northern one and the development on it seems to be toilets at either end, the jetty at the north, the road down the middle, and a few navigational beacons. The road becomes more and more of a challenge as I go because it is full of potholes to the point that they are impossible to avoid and today they are filled with water and there is no way to tell how deep they are. The car made it unharmed and once stopped at the picnic ground at the end, I go for the obvious walk down the jetty.

jetty surface
Starting out on the jetty. The surface is quite uneven.

Warnings abound.

waves over the end
Waves splashing over the end of the jetty make it unattractive to continue too far.

The missing boards require attention paid for each step, but so do the boards that remain. The moist wood is slick and my feet never quite stay where I place them unless on the cement.

gulls on the jetty
There is a fair bit of jetty.

sandy and birdy
The beach, the spit, and the table at the back.

Movement catches my eye on the rocks on the low side of the jetty. Little crabs are scrambling all over them, mostly away from me. Besides the crabs, they are covered in barnacles, anemones, and starfish. The boulders are also almost as slick as the wood, so climbing down closer to the sea creatures is out of the question.

sea life attached to the rocks
Kelp and barnacles and everything else on the rocks.

side walkers
The crabs do not seem to find the rocks particularly slick.

starfish and sea anemone
A few of the starfish and anemones.

Back at the lot, I am ready to head off again, but a sudden whim hits to continue down along the built wall of the jetty which extends quite a way further along the spit toward the largest of the rare nearby trees. There is a sandy section next to it, so walking is slow work but simple. The area is somewhat a mess from off road use even though the only off road use allowed is along the waveslope (that is, the beach) below the most recent high tide line. One such user even passes me by as I go. This improves as I pass the end of a spur road with cables blocking further travel to the southeast. From there, I follow on an old, grassy road toward the point and the tree.

tree across the end of a road
A patch of gravel marks the end of a spur road and across it, the area's largest tree. Beyond that, bay and mainland.

The tree edges on a swampy area, at least in this season. The plants within the lakes suggest these will get around to draining eventually. They are not the sort to live permanently underwater. I head out to a hill near the point too look about. The bay is so narrow at the point that I am closer to my stop at King Salmon on the way here than I am to the road on the spit.

dune grass and swamp
Among the dune grass and lupines and winter pools by the tree. There is another tree far in the distance.

it is very swampy at the moment
The swamp seems a little extensive like it might cause a problem getting back to the road, if I chose to go that way.

deconstructed jetty
At the point looking across to King Salmon where a couple more jetties protect the beach. Signs over there explain the erosion project that protects the town.

Vast dark sandy flats exposed by low tide extend off to my right from the point. A few ducks and a heron are hanging out on it. This is a prime spot to find duck hunters during the season. Today seems quiet. I head out over the sand for a bit. There are trickles of water draining from the pools in the grass above. The footing is generally quite solid as I cross as long as I do not get too far out into the thin layer of bay water over the sand.

eel grass and thin water
Eel grass and large stretches of sand left by the low tide.

sand in ripples
Lots of lovely texture out here.

lines of stab holes in the sand
Lines of holes from hunting sandpipers.

glistening land
Looking back across the sand flats to the point.

Getting impatient for a route out toward the road, I just strike out on my own route. My plan is to cross over to the beach and follow that back, but I am blocked by a series of signs marking an area closed to the public. It is an area set aside for snowy plover conservation. There is a faint trail along the outside edge of the area, so I follow that north instead.

southerly over the grasses
Looking southerly over the grasses holding onto small dunes.

big logs in the grasses
There were once a few more trees out here. Or they came in on a big wave.

deer in the grass
Deer live on the south spit. This is actually my second sighting of the creatures out here.

jetty and beach
Up on one of the low dunes, I can spot the end of the jetty out in the ocean.

grass and pools
Taking a high point of about 40 feet to look around, across the sand spit.

Since I did not get to go all the way to the beach, I stop at one of the parking spots on the way back down the spit for a better look and take yet another stop at the end of the spit.

sand flats with birds
Those flats continue on the bay side of the spit.

beach side
A few have taken the opportunity to drive on the waveslope today.

dirty waves
The waves are dirty from the last storm.

below Table Bluff
Down at the end of the spit and the base of Table Bluff.

road in grasses
Sandy road continues into Table Bluff County Park toward the Eel River estuary.

©2017 Valerie Norton
Posted 9 February 2017

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