Pictures from the Lost Coast -- April 2004

by Ellin Beltz

Ferndale from the Wildcat Happy Cows

We left Ferndale headed south on a road known as "The Wildcat" past happy cows and into the hills. We were on our way to visit some friends who live near the mouth of the Mattole River. The first part of the road is the widest. Once you pass the microwave tower the road gets interesting.

Sheep on the Edge of the World The 10 mph sign to nowhere to the left of the sheep is not a joke. It leads to a series of switchbacks down a nearly vertical face.

This part of the U.S. is on an active triple junction and the landscape is rugged, sheer and severe.
Right after the switchbacks, we hit a dense bank of fog. We drove through the fog for quite a while, slowly picking our way along, hoping not to hit any tourists or be hit by someone more familiar with the road.

Finally we emerged into sunlight again.
Into the Fog

As we drove along, a large animal ran in front of us and into a redwood grove. I managed to snap a few pictures, the only one worth showing is on the left below. After we went around a corner and I stopped on a turnoff to take a photo of the animal on the right below.

What was that? By the side of the road

We knew that going to the Lost Coast was like going to a different world, but we were having trouble absorbing it all from the car. The plants and animals looked so different than the last time we were here. So we got out and took a walk along the beach.

In the bathIt was nearly low tide and the tidepools were full of life. Several rocky pools were full of more than invertebrates. The fellow on the left looked positively put out by our presence.
In the gap lunch anyone?

We almost didn't see the herbivore hiding in the rocks, then we saw why it was hiding so well. Three hungry beasts with long teeth had an armored animal cornered while a smaller and more mobile predator watched.

On the menuWe turned around and found this toothy critter watching us. We were wondering how we'd get down off our rock or how he'd get up, but after a growl or two, he followed his pack in search of easier prey.

These strong headed fellows seemed to be locked in mortal combat. They were so distracted, that we took these pictures and slipped past them and back to our car.

Pachys Pachys2
Thanks for looking at my pictures from the Lost Coast!

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All photos by Ellin Beltz,
copyright and all rights reserved 2004.
April 1, 2004; updated April 1, 2005

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