Tsunami World: A Day With The Waves Of Crescent City CA
Are you visiting the Redwoods National & State Parks and just need a fun little break to do something else? This is what making the most of your National Park Senior Pass is all about, where National Park meets local color. From big trees to big waves: today’s a day for a tsunami adventure. Crescent City CA.
Locate Crescent City CA on the map
You’ve figured out already that it’s pretty much the tsunami capital of the world, right? It’s also a fairly distressed nook in this part of the universe, but hang tight, there are a number of surprises.
Begin south of town. Along Hwy 101, you’ll notice a pullout with a view north over the entire length of the crescent-shaped beach towards the “city”. Spend a few moments reading the information plaques and picture giant waves engulfing the shore in front of you.
Armed with an overview
Hop into your car to get a day-long feel for the lively ocean, rocky shores, and periodically battered harbor.
To the art of living in a tsunami-pounded area by noticing the warning signs and instructions. Register the fact that gigantic waves in this town are not exactly rare. Although the tsunami in 1964 is legendary, there are periodic tsunamis owing to the structure of the reefs offshore. Be prepared to flee to the hills if the siren sounds.
Drive along the ocean shoreline
Headed north along Pebble Beach Drive, with the Crescent City airport on your right. See what Muddy Boots means? We’re on the way to spectacular.
Drive and drive until you can’t go any further. You’ll find yourself on a headland. St George’s, to be precise. There’s an obviously historic building, where the keepers of St George offshore lighthouse and their families once lived. Scan the horizon for the eponymous lighthouse, one of the most dangerous in the world owing to water and weather over the reef lurking below. An impressive construction feat as well.
Just beyond the parking lot, there’s a trail through the hummocks and vegetation bordering the beach. Take a deep breath of salt-sprayed air, and set out for a refreshing stroll. Perfect for doggie, too.
Not up to a stroll? No problem.
Plenty of vigor ahead. Dawdle back the way you came, cleaving to the shoreline. Aha! Pullouts, walkways, and observation platforms. A cute lighthouse, perky fishing boats, rocks and spray. Look to your heart’s content.
If you have a chance (and the tide complies) retrieve your binoculars from the glove compartment and watch the pelicans dive for dinner. Clever critters. FYI they’ve given their name to nearby Pelican Bay State Prison, now closed, but once the home of Charles Manson.
And, if you’re wondering what pelicans do during tsunamis, great question.
Find a local-color seafood lunch
Near the tsunami-smacked Crescent City harbor. Check out the high water line, courtesy of the Harbor Office. If you’re lucky, overhear old salts telling old-timer tsunami stories. Ideas? The Crab Shack or the Chart Room Restaurant.
On To the afternoon
If the tide is low, consider walking out to the Battery Point lighthouse (photo at top) at the entrance to the harbor. Otherwise, scan it with your binoculars and have another round of watching pelicans.
Now that you’re happily immersed in tsunami ways and means, head on over to the local-color Del Norte County Museum to expand your tsunami story repertoire and reprise your day’s adventure.
Photo credits: Featured image, Battery Point lighthouse: CC BY-SA 2.0 by Frank Schulenburg via Flickr. Beach Overlook: CC BY-SA 2.0 by Chris Yunker via Flickr. Panel…left, Harbor sign: CC BY 2.0 by Richard Wood via Flickr; right, Tsunami damage: CC BY 2.0 by NOAA via Flickr. St George reef lighthouse: CC BY 2.0 by Anita Ritenour via Flickr. Brown pelican gliding above the waves: CC BY-SA 2.0 by Frank Schulenburg via Flickr.