Point Arena Lighthouse

Day 4 of our Road Trip started off wet, gray and cloudy, it rained hard all night. We left Burlington Campground in Humboldt Redwoods State Park and headed for Westport on the California coast. Highway 1 from Leggett to Westport reminds me of the old McKenzie Highway here in Oregon. It has enough curves for a road that is much longer, one hour to travel 28 miles (ca. 45 km) was curvy enough.

The rain changed to intermittent showers by the time we got to the coast. The wind was still blowing hard, and was blowing the tops off the ocean waves. We stopped at a couple of beaches along the way, and stopped for a walk on Sea Side Beach. This home has a wonderful beach view.

Seaside Beach on the Mendocino Coast

North of Sea Side Beach Highway 1 runs through a tunnel of Cypress Trees

Highway 1 through the Cypress Trees

We let the 4-year-old run off some energy on the beach and then got back in and drove south to MacKerricher State Park. MacKerricher State Park is about 9 miles (14.48 km) long. We walked the trail to Laguna Point along the board walk through the cypress trees to the next viewpoint.

The Boardwalk at MacKerricher State Park through the Cypress Trees

There was Ice Plant blooming along the trail. It was likely introduced to help stem erosion, but it is an invasive species.

Ice Plant, or Sea Fig at MacKerricher State Park

Glass Beach

At the south end of MacKerricher State Park, at Fort Bragg, is Glass Beach. Many years ago there was a town dump at the beach, the dumping began in 1906 when a large part of the town was destroyed during the San Francisco earthquake. They pushed all the garbage over the cliff into the ocean, only stopping the practice in 1967. Most of the recyclable materials were removed, but the ocean waves broke and ground down the discarded glass bottles.

Collecting is discouraged on Glass Beach within and adjacent to the state park. Tourists visit Fort Bragg’s glass beaches each day in the summer. Most collect some glass. Because of this and also because of natural factors (wave action is constantly grinding down the glass), the glass is slowly diminishing.

Clear and colored glass litter Glass Beach in Mendocino County

Clear glass, green glass, brown and red glass.

Clear and green colored glass on Glass Beach in Mendocino County

Multiple colored glass fragments on Glass Beach in Mendocino County

Our grandson gathered up colorful pieces of glass, and stacked them up. Then he scattered them out again and started over. We left all the glass at the beach, not exactly how we found it, but it was still there when we left.

Multiple colored glass fragments mixed with rock on Glass Beach in Mendocino County

The waves were pounding the beach, and you could hear the glass tinkling, and the rocks rattling as the waves moved back and forth.

The surf is up at Glass Beach in Mendocino County

The California Poppies were also starting to bloom near Glass Beach.

California Poppy

We stopped just south of Mendocino and took in the view across Mendocino Bay. I hand held the camera for this 9 image panorama.

The town of Mendocino, photograph taken from across Mendocino Bay

Point Arena Photographs

Traveling further south we came to Point Arena. The weather was dry and breezy and changed from cloudy to partly cloudy. The ocean swells were rolling in from the southwest and breaking along the point.Point Arena is the last landfall for the San Andreas fault, as it turns out toward the ocean.

A hole opened in the clouds and the sun poked through for a few moments. There were harbor seals resting on rocks to my left, ones that the waves were not breaking over.

Point Arena Lighthouse

For the next photograph I put a 6 stop neutral density filter on the lens to get a longer exposure. This exposure was 10 seconds long, and I like the misty water look over the rocks.

Long Exposure image of Point Arena and the Point Arena Lighthouse

The last photograph of Point Arena has more of a “painterly look” to it.

Painterly look photograph of Point Arena and the Lighthouse

It was getting to be late afternoon, so we continued south to Salt Point to spend the night at a campground there. Every park we stayed in so far, had no cell service. I made certain to check the weather report when we went through Gualala, before we went out of cell coverage again.


Next up Sonoma County, California Coast.