The next day we got up suuuper early to catch a low tide at ruby beach. An employe at the ranger station had told us about it’s beauty and the tide pools that could be seen there. So we got up at 5:30 and went there right away. It certainly is one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen. We were amongst the first people to arrive and saw the sund rise over the shoreline. The sun tickeled through the branches of the trees and the mist of the spray made the air glitter. Slowly the fog got lighter as the sun made everything turn from blue to gold.
After this mindopening experience we went further to get breakfast at a cafe that had been recommended and was located on our way into the heart of the Olympic National Forest. Unfortunatelly around 8:30 a sign awaited us at the cafe that told us the opening hours. Unnecessary to say the shop door was locked too. Best you read for yourself:
So we proceeded our journey and had homemade breakfast at the visitor center. We then decided to hike the Hoh-River-Trail that eventually leads to a glacer on top of Mount Olympic. On our way we met several people who were on their way back from the trip to the glacier. They told us that the glacier had shrunken a lot and was mostly covered in wet snow now. In the valley however it was hot with a high humidity. We were all covered in sweat after a few minutes. The forest prooved to be very beautiful and full of life though. We saw young deer, stag and some other hikers told us about baby bear they’d seen. I was glad though we didn’t spot them since I would’ve been a little afraid of mama bear showing up any minute. To a german or even european the size of the trees is impressive too. And they were all covered in moss and fern. I felt as if I was put into a fairytale by the brothers Grimm. If a tree falls over new trees grow on top of him untill the fallen tree is completely decomposed. That’s why a lot of trees look like they walk on stilts. One huge tree had fallen over the Hoh river and built a natural bridge to the other side. Of course we had to climb up there, though my mum was not all too happy about it. She worried we’d fall into the river.
On our way back from the most beautiful shoreline so far we stopped at Fort Stevens on the nothern top of Oregon. It had a ton of mosquitos and the campground was HUGE but not too pretty. It had amazing showers tough. The next stop was down the coast at Beverly Beach State park. On our way we passed through the windy Depoe Bay, where One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest was filmed. My dad took a lot of pictures of the bridge that had been very prominent in the movie. We also had amazing fish and chips at a small shop along the road. My parents got the cod while I got the albacore tuna. It’s meat was very firm but juicy and veeery yummie.
The day after we visited the Oregon State Aquarium which is definitely worth a visit. It has a huge tunnel that you can go through while sharks and other fishes are swimming above and underneath you. It also had the cutest seals I’ve ever seen. One came so close to the window and put his head right where my hand was, that I thought he wanted to be petted.The shoreline proceeded to be amazingly beautiful and we had our next stop at sealion cave. It is a private property that is built on a huge cave, only accessible by water. Sealions live there and can be watched through a hole in the wall that is connected with the surface by a tunnel/elevator. First we were pretty disappointed because there were no sealions in the cave, but when we went upstairs, to go to the above lookouts, we saw them chilling in the sun on the shore. They were huge, made impressive sounds and were very graceful when in the water. In the far distance we even saw the blow of whales once in a while. We spend the evening at the Umpqua Lighthouse campground. A smallish, quite campground close to a lake and with another ton of mosquitos.
Harris Beach was selected to be our next stop. On the way we passed the Dunes and some other impressive beaches. Harris beach itself was also pretty cool and had a lot of rocks to climb on. From up there I was able to see all across the beach, while the waves came rolling in underneath me.
Then we finally got back to California again and stayed in the Redwoods National Park in Elk Prairie Campground. It is a really nice, secluded and quite campground. You are surrounded by bushes, ferns and huge trees. In the afternoon and evening you can watch the elks gather at the prairie to graze. That day we did a short hike through the woods and decided to hike to fern canyon the next day. It was a 10 mile hike and we started early in the morning. First we had to crawl up the hills through the huge trees. But the trail was nice and soft and the weather was perfect. Not too hot but still with a blue sky. We heard some elk roaring and enjoyed the silence of the forest the rest of the hike. Then we got to fern canyon and I have to say that I was amazed. I can easily imagine that jurassic park was filmed there since it really looks out of time. The canyon’s walls are grown over by different kinds of fern, while a stream is running through the canyon. At the end of the canyon you can still hike further on a very tiny and not at all maintained trail. I hiked it up for about 30 minutes untill it got so bad, that I didn’t even know if I still was on a trail. So I went back and hiked to the campground.
On the same day we proceeded to a very nasty and ugly campground close to Eureka. Luckily it was only to stay for the night before we went to Gualala Point Campground. This one was a pretty cool campground since it was surrounded by redwoods and myrtlewood, as you can see above. The spaces were huge and had enough space so we could start packing our luggage. The next morning we drove to Bodega Bay and met John there. I was so happy to have seen him one last time before I had to fly back. We spend a wonderful day, eathing the best clam chowder, hiking bodega head and eating mexican leftover food int he eveining. He also owns half of my stuff now that I was not able to take home. Our last stop was San Francisco, where we handed over the RV and visited Chinatown afterwards.
Chinatown has really earned the title. I felt as if I was put in another country. The people around me spoke a language I didn’t understand, the signs and advertisements were in letters I could not read and the woman in the bakery didn’t speak a word english. We nearly would’ve bought some liver-pastry though we wanted some sweets for after lunch. Luckily a woman who spoke english and chinese helped us out and translated everything. We still ended up with one chicken-filled pastry. But it was yummie. We had lunch at a soup-house, where only old chinese looking people sat.
Afterwards we went to the SFMOMA and checked out their collection. I got a lot of good input and recognized many artists that I’d never seen work from in real life. We then went on a loooong bus trip to the west end of the town to go to a korean place that Renata had recommended to me. It is called My Tofu House and they have super authentic and yummie korean cuisine. I had a wonderful evening with good food and was not very happy to leave this beautiful country the next day. But all good things must come to an end, and so did my year abroad. I was lucky that I have met so many people that became dear friends and that might even visit me in Germany (hopefully soon)!