Monday, October 24, 2016

A Few Days in Ukiah, CA

It was a curvy 130 mile drive from Fortuna, CA to Ukiah, CA...sorry Rosie...poor cat has a hard time with winding roads. We spent four nights at the Redwood Empire Fair RV Park, a no frills park with gravel roads and sites and a fair amount of road noise, no real redeeming factors, just a convenient place to stay when in Ukiah.

The RV park is on the fairgrounds and happened to have stock car races during our stay so rather than just endure the noise we went to the races on Saturday night. We also enjoyed a couple of dinners with an old friend from San Diego, Titi and her mother Amanda, who happen to live nearby.

We've had a dramatic change of scenery now that we've moved south of the redwoods. Ukiah sits at the north end of the Northern California wine growing region and any land that isn't covered in grapes is now rolling hills of golden grasses dotted with giant old oaks and madrone forests.

Mendocino Lake sits just north of Ukiah and has disc golf courses at both ends of the lake as well as several miles of hiking trails. We played the South Mendocino Lake disc golf course and found it to be a very challenging course. Lots of steep hills and a few drop offs where it was easy to lose a disc...and the trees! There were a LOT of trees!

Lots and lots of trees on this disc golf course!

Nice views from this hillside basket.
 
After disc golf we took a nice four mile hike along Mendocino Lake. The Shakota Trail wanders up and down along the contours of the lake through mixed forest with occasional views of the lake.

Great views of Mendocino Lake from the Shakota Trail.

Montgomery Woods State Natural Reserve lies about 15 steep, curvy miles west of Ukiah...thank goodness we did not bring Rosie on this drive! In fact, you would not want to drive any kind of RV on this road.

The Reserve protects five groves of redwoods that have never been logged and is far from any major roads or development so is a very peaceful setting. It is just down the road from Orr Hot Springs Resort so it is pretty popular despite it's distance from any towns. There are only a couple of miles of trails but we were able to extend our walk further into the canyon for a total of about four miles.

It is so hard to photograph these magnificent trees,
but I think the base of this one gives a pretty good idea of the grand scale of this giant!
 


We happened upon a group of about half a dozen rough-skinned newts!

Don't touch! The orange underbelly is a warning of the toxin they secrete.
 


Gorgeous views from the road to Montgomery Woods.

On our last day we hiked a few miles in nearby Low Gap Park, where we saw a large flock of turkeys sauntering up the mountainside.

Turkey on the trail in Low Gap Park.

With more rain in our future, today we've moved on down to Calistoga for a few nights...another curvy drive that was hard on our girl. Rosie will be really happy when we finally get out of Northern California...

18 comments:

  1. What a beautiful forest! That redwood trunk is just huge. Glad you were there for perspective. Everything is so green and lush. The newts are so cute:) Too bad they are also poisonous:( Looks like a great stop, well, expect for poor Rosie:)

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    1. I think this may be our last redwood forest, I'm so glad I got to visit a few this year!

      Fortunately once Rosie empties her stomach she is fine; can keep driving for a while and is fully recovered once we stop. I think we're just about done with these curvy roads...

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    2. The curve roads are little much for all of us, not just Rosie:) Glad she is all right once she empties her stomach!

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  2. That is one gigantic tree! Speaking of curvy roads, last fall I drove the dreadful Hwy 299 between Redding and Eureka. I've driven winding roads before but this one was awful. Have fun in wine country. :)

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    1. Fortunately I am ok with windy roads, Hans is not so it is a good thing he's okay driving them!

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  3. That is so beautiful. I love, love the giant redwoods. They are just so magical to me.

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    1. Aren't they amazing! Big trees are spellbinding!

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  4. We were in Willits, just north of Ukiah, last week. We didn't bring the trailer because we had just one night there. Now we have a reason to visit the area again, bring the trailer, and stay for a few days-I would like to see those huge trees for myself. I read on another blog or maybe FB of someone who had a 'thunder jacket' for their cat. You may want to see if it would help Rosie.

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    1. Willits looked like a cute town when we drove through, very rustic hippie. I'd like to browse through there some time.

      Interesting, never thought of the thunder jacket for an upset tummy due to curvy roads!

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  5. Those humongous redwoods are amazing...I love trees! The colors in the forest are beautiful. I can imagine the smells were wonderful too!

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    1. A redwood forest is surprisingly scentless, compared to other types of conifers or trees.

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  6. I do believe strolling among the redwoods is high on my list of favorite things I've done and would like to do more of;) Great sighting and pics of the newts Lisa!!

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    1. I agree, the redwoods are truly awesome! Newts are pretty darn cool too!

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  7. That picture of Lisa and the redwood is just magnificent. Being among them is like being in a cathedral. How wonderful! Love Hans and the newt too. Had no idea it might be toxic to pick it up.

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    1. They really are extraordinary! I hope you get to visit them some day.

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  8. You stayed in the same place we did - with the same description of it :-) When we were there the little strips of grass were solid burrs and we had to carry Tessa to and from the rig. You found wonderful trails in the trees! I love the giant felled tree root system - great pic. That little newt is a cutie.

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    1. Thank goodness the "grass" did not seem to be full of burrs at this time of year...Rosie had no problem. Definitely not a destination park!

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  9. Those roads along the coast (and heading inland!) are definitely curvy! If I was riding anywhere but in the front seat I'd be sick just like poor Rosie. Montgomery Woods looks magical.

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