After decades in California, visiting the abundantly beautiful coastal redwoods, Smith River, Lost Coast, Oregon Coast and Columbia River finally happened. Picturesque natural beauty awaited; however, the trail of Bigfoot also laid ahead.
Bigfoot, aka Sasquatch, is a large and hairy human-like mythical creature inhabiting the forests of the Pacific Northwest.
Sightings predominantly occur in Washington, Oregon, Northern California, and British Columbia.
Images, replicas, and references appeared in campgrounds, store fronts and roadside attractions. Bigfoot enthusiasts abound.
When not squatching (searching for Bigfoot), we marveled at the plethora, size and beauty of redwoods in Hendy Woods, Humboldt Redwoods, Sue-Meg, Del Norte and Jedidiah Smith parks.
In between the coast redwoods in Mendocino County lies the “secret’ Anderson Valley wine country. Specializing in Pinot Noir and cheeses, wine and food tastings at Penny Royal Farm, Maggy Hawk, Goldeneye, Disco Ranch and Boonville Hotel delighted the palate.
The delightful Apple Farm Stand, less than a mile from our campground, resulted in filling our cupboards with jam, ciders and chutney. What a treat. Sally Schmitt, the co-founder of the French Laundry and pioneer of the farm to table movement, lived and operated the Apple Farm and Farm Stand in Philo.
Every mile of coastal northern California and Oregon deliver stunning beaches and vistas. The rugged terrain of the Lost Coast leaves the area mostly secluded unless you brave the small mountain roads. Dune landscape gets more and more impressive as you head north into Oregon with some dunes topping out at 500 feet.
Lucky for us, friends joined us on the Oregon Coast for camping and adventure.
Riding the Oregon Dunes and oceanfront with the Spinreel Follow Me Tour tops the list of fabulous adrenaline-rush experiences. After the safety briefing, we felt like the liability lawyers were going to lead the tour. Nope. If you are near the Oregon Dunes, do this.
Leaving the coastal redwoods marks the geographical shift to huge forests and big rivers.
In the northwest corner of California, the stunning Smith River which is California’s number one destination for salmon and Steelhead. Crossing into Oregon, the Rogue River runs 200 miles from Crater Lake to its mouth at the Pacific near Gold Beach.
The massive 1243 mile Columbia River forms the border between Washington and Oregon. The remnants of the Lewis and Clark expedition are memorialized all along the Columbia.
With the vast ocean and bountiful rivers, fishing happens everywhere. The number of boats, fishing gear and bait shops left us hopeful for procuring and eating tons of seafood. Fried and smoked fish filled restaurant menus. Where is all the fresh salmon, dungeness crab and steelhead? Apparently everyone catches fish resulting in the restaurants leaving it off the menu.
The Columbia River’s Bonneville hydroelectric dam construction started in 1934 as part of President Roosevelt’s New Deal construction projects. A second powerhouse added in 1974. The dam produces an enormous amount of hydroelectric power – more than 1,180 megawatts between the two powerhouses.
Self-guided tours through the powerhouse and fish ladders are fascinating.
Shockingly, a human counts and identifies the fish coming through the ladder. If you are looking for a job fish counting, this video will motivate you to apply.
The entrance to the Columbia River is known as the graveyard of the pacific with an estimated 2,000 vessels sunk since 1792. Given the danger, the Coast Guard stations in Astoria and Cape Disappointment are known for operating in some of the roughest conditions in the world.
Rather than the challenge of sea and river kayaking, we opted for calm lakes near Tillamook and Mount Hood. The serenity of kayaking on calm lakes is the opposite end of riding RZRs on the Oregon Dunes.
What a great trip even though we never spotted Bigfoot!